The kids left behind by the Boom

This article starts from the tale of an indigenous child pointing “straight to the moon“. He has the highest grades and the possibility to migrate to the city where schools and sanitary conditions are better. But, according to statistics, being smart and lucky is not enough in Peru.

This story is the pretext to describe the huge contradictions characterizing today’s Peru.  Peru is considered as one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a 9.8% GDP growth in 2008 and a 6.3% last year. It has been recently classified by the World Bank as an “upper-middle-income economy.”

But those stunning averages hide a society divided by a huge gap between “haves and have not” which has the shapes of a racial and minorities gap.  The right to health, unpolluted environment and education is not guaranteed equally to everyone and the consequences, beside the moral side, are mainly economical.

This article reveals not only how far GDP  is from being a measure of well being, but also that GDP is not even a reliable proxy for the long-term development of a country. Equality in the access to education, health and environment are the prerequisites to enter in a good development path and to avoid a poverty trap, but GDP does not account for any of them.

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One Response to The kids left behind by the Boom

  1. Nicky Tynan says:

    This is a sad article and does highlight the huge gaps within Peruvian society. There is certainly a need to improve institutions to make sure that all members of Peruvian society benefit from the increasing wealth. I am not convinced that this article itself undermines the use of GDP as a reliable proxy for long-term economic growth. The time period covered in the article is quite short. The Human Development Index (HDI) is generally considered a better measure of development within a country and the HDI for Peru has risen substantially in recent years ( The article does highlight the challenges for any measure of development at a national level when minority groups do not share the improvements in standard of living (or access to education and healthcare) being enjoyed by the majority within a country.

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