More than fifty economists signed onto an open letter, written by professors Ha-Joon Chang of the University of Cambridge and James K. Galbraith of the University of Texas at Austin, ahead of this year’s presidential elections in Ecuador. The letter noted:
Over the past ten years, Ecuador has achieved major economic and social advances. We are concerned that many of these important gains in poverty reduction, wage growth, reduced inequality, and greater social inclusion could be eroded by a return to of the policies of austerity and neoliberalism that prevailed in Ecuador from the 1980s to the early 2000s. A return to such policies threatens to put Ecuador back on a path that leads not only to a more unequal society, but to more political instability as well. It is important to recall that from 1996 to 2006, Ecuador went through eight presidents.
The authors and signatories emphasized that “our goal is not to tell Ecuadorians whom to vote for, or to interfere in Ecuador’s political processes,” but instead to counter misinformation in mass media and “correct the record.”
Carlos Uribe-Teran and Pablo Vega-Garcia, both professors of economics at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito, responded in kind with a critique of the open letter. In their concluding remarks, the authors generously offered up an opportunity to address their analysis, as well as to re-publish any exchange on their blog. We hope they will post this response there.