Rural Industrial Policy and Strengthening Value Chains

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This book underscores the need for a rural industrial policy that promotes a structural change based on innovation, greater value added and better employment and living conditions, all in harmony with the environment. The proposal builds on the experience of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in strengthening rural value chains and offers a novel approach to industrial policy and rural development, issues that have traditionally been addressed separately. The book also sets out the value chain methodology developed by ECLAC and presents a comparative analysis of processes to strengthen rural value chains around commodities, agribusiness products and rural tourism.

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Rural industrial policy

The debate about whether industrial policy is advisable or necessary can be traced back at least to the discussion between mercantilists and liberals in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The mercantilists advocated government intervention to regulate and promote international trade and the development of production, whereas the liberals believed that markets should be allowed to operate freely. This debate is not new to Latin America either. The acceptance and implementation of industrial policy as a tool of economic development has gone through a number of different stages. In the last 70 years, the region has witnessed a transition from import substitution industrialization (ISI), in which the State played a central role in promoting productive development, to economic openness and liberalization, a stage in which industrial policy was abandoned and even demonized, and then, more recently, to a resurgence of the role of the State in the wake of the 2008-2009 economic and financial crisis.

English Spanish

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