It would seem to us that due to a curse, the Latin American countries are incapable of getting out of underdevelopment.
Some, at different times, were one step closer to achieve development status. But, at that point, the reactionary forces rushed forward, dragging the nation in the opposite direction.
The cases of Uruguay and Argentina, which during the last half of the nineteenth century were flourishing, attracted waves of immigrants and their real per capita GDP was similar to that of the richer countries of that time. The same is happening now with Chile, that when it seemed that it would be the first one to break the curse, it retreated with leaps and bounds.
What could be the reason for this unhappy situation?
The causes are multiple and complex. However, the common substrate is cultural in nature. Underdevelopment is a consequence of deep-seated misconceptions. It is the primacy of magical thinking over rational logic. It is believing in the "God State". That is, it is benevolent, almighty, extremely good and whose resources "fall from the sky." Or, it is better that utilities are in the hands of the "State" because it does not seek "profit" nor pursues particular interests but the common good.
The magical thought becomes clear, when finding that much of the population is refractory to the empirical evidence. Linguists point out that the differences between different languages are not just sounds, but each language shapes a specific form of thought. That is, the way in which the inhabitants see, define and give meaning to what surrounds them. That is why it could be said that people who speak in different languages live in different worlds.
From this perspective, it is illustrative that in English the term "State" is designated the government. Ergo, flesh-and-blood people with their own interests, who are generally not those who promote the "common good". As a result, the way in which English speakers consider the "State" is completely different from that of Spanish speakers. Nor is it by chance that the nations of Anglo-Saxon culture are more prosperous than the Hispanic ones.
Frederich Hayek stresses that logical rational thought flows in those places where people know that their greater or lesser fortune in life will depend primarily on themselves. Not of privileges or crumbs that the rulers throw at them. That is why, neither in the aristocracy nor in socialism (in any of its variants) or statism, it has been able to flourish. This type of thinking is what characterizes the bourgeoisie, the creators, the entrepreneurs and the inventors.
In Latin America the groups mentioned are scarce. This is a consequence of the dominant ideas and institutions. It is not due to any lack of personal nature.
The proof is that in order to excel in some of the aforementioned items, Latin Americans emigrate to those nations where ideas and institutions are diametrically opposed to those of this continent.