Why are capital markets dysfunctional in an era of excessive liquidity, low interest rates and modest inflation? Why has the Chilean economic model, an inspiration to many other nations over many years, come under vicious attack? What is driving the turn to socialism among younger generations?
These topics were tackled at the 27th iteration of the annual Alamos Alliance, which addressed “Disruption and Discontent in the Global Economy: Addressing the New Challenges.” The meeting was held from February 13-16, 2020, in the colonial town of Álamos in the Mexican state of Sonora. Often referred to as “Davos Del Desierto,” Alamos Alliance attracts top economists, policymakers, business innovators and thought leaders who work together to sharpen understanding of key issues and strategize over pragmatic ways to build prosperity and freedom.
Originally established by Clay LaForce and Professor Arnold “Alito” Harberger, the conference brings together a number of Alito’s former students at the University of Chicago, who in the early stages formed the core group of attendees. Alamos Alliance remains an intimate gathering while consistently bringing new voices into its conversations. Keynote talks were given by Professor Douglas Irwin of Dartmouth College on his new book, Clashes over Commerce, and Ricardo Hausmann, the Director of Harvard University’s Growth Lab at the Center for International Development, on “Uncertainty and Complexity in Latin America,” in the context of work on The Atlas of Economic Complexity. Speakers included Anne Krueger, Deirdre McCloskey, Luis de la Calle and Kevin Murphy, among others.
Roberto Salinas Leon, director of Atlas Network’s Center for Latin America, has served as president of Alamos Alliance for the last ten years. He commented, “It is a privilege to convene meetings like this with such intellectual firepower, and to know that prestigious attendees invariably come back because they know at Alamos they will encounter new ideas and have their perspectives deepened through our discussions."
To capitalize on the presence of star international scholars visiting for Alamos Alliance, additional public forums were organized in the preceding days. Most notably, Cumbre Sonora is the largest annual business and policy roundtable in the state of Sonora. This year's conference featured a discussion moderated by Roberto Salinas and starring Axel Kaiser of Fundación para el Progreso in Chile and Ricardo López Murphy, former minister of finance in Argentina. López Murphy added a tone of cautious optimism amid an otherwise skeptical audience, saying, “Mexico is the only country in Latin America that was able to transition from a commodity-based economy (oil) to one based on manufacturing and services, thanks to its commitment to open foreign trade.”