Food lines that stretch across multiple city blocks. Spiraling unemployment. Out-of-control inflation. Unsustainable debt. These issues, which traumatized many economies across Latin American in the 1980s, continue to reverberate today and, given current economic conditions, you could be forgiven for fearing that history is about to repeat itself.
The debt crises of the 1970s and 1980s were searing experiences that find an echo in today’s troubles. Then, as now, Latin American countries had large debt loads. Then, as now, the global economy experienced unique macroeconomic shocks that sent inflation soaring (the Arab oil embargo then; the pandemic and Ukraine war now). And then, as now, central banks around the world – especially the US Federal Reserve – were raising rates to fight inflation.