In 1990, Carmelo Mesa-Lago, the foremost authority on social security in Latin America, concluded that all of the region's programs were imperiled, especially those in the most advanced nations. His study of twenty countries, originally sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, critically reviews major financial problems, low and uneven population coverage, erosion in benefits, increasing costs, and the impact of social security on development.
In words that eerily echo current U.S. debates, Mesa-Lago analyzes virtually all social insurance programs: old age, disability and survivors' pensions; health care; occupational hazards; family allowances; and unemployment. For social security specialists, this impressive study will serve as a comprehensive regional handbook on the legal, administrative, and financial features of Latin America's programs. Students of comparative policy and applied economics will find Mesa-Lago's methodology, analytical framework, and policy recommendations invaluable.
"Ascent to Bankruptcy will become an essential source of information and an indispensable tool for future research on the topic."
The book makes a very important contribution to the understanding of social security systems in Latin America. It gives a description of the evolution of such systems and elements of each system. These systems are influenced heavily by government structure and pressure groups. A very strong point of the book is that it shows the important of such systems to the economic development of a country.