Nancy Birdsall (CGD): A Note on the Middle Class in Latin America. Nora Lustig (Tulane), Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva (Colegio de Mexico), and Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez (UNDP): Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Esteban Perez Caldentey, Daniel A. Titelman, and Pablo Carvallo (ECLAC): Weak Expansions: A Distinctive Feature of the Business Cycle in Latin America and the Caribbean. The magic number: South America's experience suggests a tantalizing possibility — that reaching $8,500 in income is the secret to sustainable growth. Think there's no alternative? Latin America has a few. Why is Mexico concerned about Latin America's economic spotlight shifting to Brazil? Colombian elites are celebrating economic and security gains, but not everyone is benefiting — just ask the Afro-Colombian minority.