The Center for Latin American
Studies at U.C. Berkeley hosted a historic conference entitled "Alternatives
for the Americas: A Dialogue," bringing together leading figures
from the United States, Mexico, Central and South America for a
public forum on December 4, 1998 and a series of working meetings
on December 5, 1998.
In recent years, economic
integration and globalization have swept the Americas, emerging
as key forces shaping social relations and defining powerful new
challenges. Democratic reforms and new economic strategies have
fueled increased economic interdependence, producing ambitious growth
rates and rising productivity. Yet, the current global economic
turmoil underscores how fragile some of these gains may be. Moreover,
issues of income polarization and poverty, seemingly intractable
in good economic times, are even more of a problem in battered economies.
While current attention is
riveted on the global economic crisis, intense debates continue
throughout Latin America concerning strategies to spur economic
growth while addressing widening gaps in the distribution of wealth.
In the United States, globalization has sparked debates over trade,
labor rights, and the environment.
In an era of ever-increasing
interdependence, it is impossible to seriously define either Latin
American or U.S. alternatives without considering the growing linkages
throughout the region. This conference offers an important forum
for that exploration.
The participants represent
a range of political affiliations and policy perspectives. All,
however, share a commitment to the exploration of alternatives,
and a conviction that measures to ensure economic fairness are ultimately
indispensable to economic expansion.
The Center plans to make
"Alternatives for the Americas: A Dialogue" an annual event.
Article in the San Francisco
Sovereignty and Justice"
Article in the Berkeleyan:
"Improving Relations with Latin America: Politicians and Scholars
from Both Hemispheres Discuss Economic, Social Issues"