Population growth and human productivity


Material Information

Population growth and human productivity
Physical Description:
xi, 294 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Carvajal, Manuel J., 1946-
University of Florida -- Center for Latin American Studies
Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
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Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Human capital -- Congresses -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Ressources humaines -- Congrès -- Amérique latine   ( rvm )
Bevölkerungswachstum   ( swd )
Population -- Congresses -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Population policy -- Congresses -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Population -- Congrès -- Amérique latine   ( rvm )
Politique démographique -- Congrès -- Amérique latine   ( rvm )
Lateinamerika   ( swd )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
conference publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility:
Manuel J. Carvajal, editor.
General Note:
English or Spanish.
General Note:
Papers from a symposium sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, held at the University of Florida, Feb. 17-20, 1974.

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 02118618
lccn - 75039576
isbn - 0813005531
lcc - HB3530.5 .P67
ddc - 301.32/9/8
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Full Text



Population Growth and Human Productivity

Crecimiento de la Poblaci6n
y Productividad Humana

Manuel I. Carvajal,










Cover Design by Margaret Tolbert

Library of Congress
Catalog Card No. 75-395-76
ISBN 0-8130-0553-1



This book reports on a symposium on population growth and human
productivity held at the University of Florida from February 17 through
February 20, 1974. The symposium was sponsored by the Center for Latin
American Studies in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Program on
Population and Health, both of the University of Florida. It was made
possible by financial support from the following organizations: ALCOA
Corporation; Development Associates, Inc., whose sponsorship of travel
and conference grants came from Title X of of the U. S. Foreign As-
sistance Act; ESSO Inter-America; IBM World Trade Corporation; and the
U. S. Office of Education of the Department of Health, Education, and

The editor wishes to express his sincere appreciation to P. Paul
Burgess, Director of the Interdisciplinary Program on Population and
Health, for his idea of bringing Latin American Cabinet Ministers to.
the University of Florida to present papers on allocation of scarce
resources in their respective countries and other valuable suggestions.
He also wishes to thank William E. Carter, Director of the Center for
Latin American Studies, for his assistance and support in planning the
symposium and editing the papers. Thanks also are extended to Raymond
Toner, Assistant Director of the Center, for his expert handling of
logistics and for his warm hospitality to our guests.

Recognition is due to the Center's secretarial staff (Vivian Nolan,
Lydia Gonzalez, Lee Baum, and Griselda Sheehy) for its diligence and
efficiency throughout the sessions. Special thanks go to Lydia Gonzflez
for typing several drafts of the manuscript. Acknowledgement also is
extended to Beatriz Alexander, Fred Diaz, Linda Grimbly, Linda Nicholls,
Lisandro PLrez, Maria Piedra, Jorge Pifi6n, Ronald Will, Sam Wolfson,
and other students and assistants who helped coordinate the symposium.
Finally, the editor wishes to thank the authors of these papers for
their original contributions and all those who gave us their time, ad-
vice, funding, and encouragement to make this a successful event.



GLORIA ABATE, Asesora Regional de Bienestar Social
Organizaci6n Panamericana de la Salud/Organizaci6n Mundial de la Salud
Bogota, Colombia

HECTOR ACURA, Director Asuntos Internacionales
Secretaria de Salud y Asistencia
Mexico, D. F., Mexico

HELIO AGUINAGA, Professor de Obstetricia e Ginecologia
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

J. OSCAR ALERS, Staff Assistant
The Population Council
New York, New York

JULIO BARATA, Ministro do Trabalho
Brasilia, Brasil

P. PAUL BURGESS, Director International Program on Population and Health
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

GUSTAVO CABRERA, Director Centro de Estudios Econ6micos y Demogrificos
El Colegio de Mexico
Mexico, D. F., Mexico

WILLIAM E. CARTER, Director Center for Latin American Studies
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

MANUEL J. CARVAJAL, Director Latin American Data Bank
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

MARIO M. DE LEMOS, Ministro da Sadde
Brasilia, Brasil

JORGE E. DOMINGUEZ, Director General de Programaci6n
Secretaria del Trabajo y Previsi6n Social
Mixico, D. F., Mgxico

WILLIAM H. DRAPER, Honorary Chairman
Population Crisis Committee
Washington, D. C.

Centro Latinoamericano de Demografia
Santiago, Chile

DAVID T. GEITHMAN, Professor of Economics
Russell Sage College
Troy, New York

H. ALBERT GREEN, Chief Socioeconomic Analysis Staff
U. S. Bureau of the Census
Washington, D. C.

HARLEY HINRICHS, Professor of Economics
U. S. Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland

ERICH HOFMANN, Project Director
Development Associates, Inc.
Washington, D. C.

Ministerio de Salud PGblica
Bogota, Colombia

TAEK I. KIM, Population and Nutrition Projects Department
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Washington, D. C.

SOLON T. KIMBALL, Professor of Anthropology
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

ALFREDO E. LATTES, Centro de Estudios Sociol6gicos
Institute Torcuato di Tella
Buenos Aires, Argentina

HARVEY LEIBENSTEIN, Professor of Economics
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Minist&rio da EducagAo e Cultura
Brasilia, Brasil

LILIAN LEON, Departamento de Investigaciones Educacionales
Ministerio de Educaci6n
Caracas, Venezuela

VALDECIR F. LOPES, Director Asistente
Centro Latinoamericano de Demograffa
Santiago, Chile

ALBERTO MARTINI, Ministro del Trabajo
Caracas, Venezuela

J. J. MAYZ LYON, Ministro de Sanidad y Asistencia Social
Caracas, Venezuela

WILLIAM P. McGREEVEY, Staff Social Scientist I.C.P.
The Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D. C.

JACOB MINCER, Professor of Economics
Columbia University and National Bureau of Economic Research
New York, New York

Ministerio da Safde
Brasilia, Brasil

AROLDO MOREIRA, Secretario Assistente
Ministerio do Trabalho
Brasilia, Brasil

JUAN J. MUNOZ, Ministro de Educaci6n Nacional
Bogota, Colombia

Centro de Estudios Sociales
Caracas, Venezuela

JARBAS G. PASSARINHO, Ministro da Educagio e Cultura
Brasilia, Brasil

Escuela Superior de Administraci6n Pfblica
Bogota, Colombia

RAMON PIRANGO, Jefe Departamento de Investigaciones Educacionales
Ministerio de Educaci6n
Caracas, Venezuela

ANTONIO RAMIREZ, Director de Previsi6n Social
Ministerio del Trabajo
Caracas, Venezuela

Escola de Enfermagem Ana Neri
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Centro Paraguayo de Estudios Sociol6gicos
Asunci6n, Paraguay

JOSE M. SALAZAR, Ministro de Salud Pfblica
Bogota, Colombia

DOMINGO SANCHEZ, Profesor de Sociologia
Universidad de Florida y Universidad de Chile
Gainesville, Florida y Santiago, Chile

JOHN V. D. SAUNDERS, Professor and Chairman of Sociology and
Mississippi State University
Starkville, Mississippi

T. PAUL SCHULTZ, Professor of Economics
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

SHELDON J. SEGAL, Vice-President
The Rockefeller University
New York, New York

M. C. SHELESNYAK, Director Interdisciplinary Communications Program
The Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D. C.

Centro Latinoamericano de Demograffa
Santiago, Chile

WILLIAM N. SPELLACY, Professor and Chairman of Obstetrics and Gyne-
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

JOSEPH J. SPENGLER, Professor of Economics
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina

WILLIAM F. SPENGLER, Population Matters
U. S. Department of State
Washington, D. C.

JORGE VILLARREAL, Jefe Programas de Docencia e Investigaci6n en
Federaci6n Panamericana de Asociaciones de Facultades de Medicina
Bogota, Colombia

WILLIAM VISSER, Projects Officer
United Nations Fund for Population Activities
New York, New York

SUSAN VOGELER, Departamento de Investigaciones Educacionales
Ministerio de Educaci6n
Caracas, Venezuela



Preface . .

Symposium Participants .

Table of Contents .





Manuel J. Carvajal .


Julio Barata . .

ANALYSIS, Jacob Mincer . .

ANALYSIS, Joseph J. Spengler . .


Jorge E. Dominguez . .

ANALISIS, Gustavo Cabrera . .

ANALYSIS, David T. Geithman . .













Alberto Martini . ... 66

ANALYSIS, William P. McGreevey . ... 82

ANALISIS, Alberto Ocando . ... 93


Jarbas G. Passarinho . .. 110

ANALISIS, Domingo Rivarola . ... 122

ANALISIS, Domingo Sanchez . ... 127


Juan J. Muiioz . ... 129

ANALISIS, Herngn Pefialoza . ... 133

ANALYSIS, T. Paul Schultz . 151


Lilian Le6n, Ram6n Pifango y Susan Vogeler 158

ANALYSIS, Harvey Leibenstein . .. 195

ANALYSIS, John V. D. Saunders . ... 202


Mario Machado de Lemos . .. 206

ANALYSIS, Sheldon J. Segal . ... 215


Jose Maria Salazar . 229

ANALISIS, Jorge Villarreal . ... 243


Hector Acufia . .... .248

ANALISIS, Jorge L. Somoza . .. 262


J. J. Mayz Lyon ............... 274

ANALISIS, Alfredo Lattes . ... 291



Manuel J. Carvajal
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

Few members of our increasingly interdependent modern civilization
would dispute either the existence of a world-wide population explosion
or that it constitutes perhaps the ultimate crisis of our time. This
unprecedented expansion of the number of people living on our planet is
the result of a high rate of population growth, which itself refers to
a gap between the number of births and deaths of a population over a
period of time. Thus, population increases stem from an increase in
fertility, a decrease in mortality, or a combination of both.

Historically, the death rate of mankind has been quite high. Life
expectancy for Paleolithic man, for example, was less than 20 years.
Based on a pooled sample of Neanderthal, Upper Paleolithic, and Meso-
lithic human fossil remains, it is estimated that probably not 3 out of
10 lived beyond 30 years of age.2 Several milennia later, during the
Middle Ages, the situation had changed little if at all. The life ex-
pectancy of the sons of English dukes born in the 14th and 15th centu-
ries, one scholar believes, was 31 years, even when violent deaths are

A short life expectancy, of course, hardly means that everybody
died young in ancient times. Fetal, infant, and child deaths accounted
for a large proportion of all deaths. But in general, the rate of
adult mortality was considerably higher than today, for two main
reasons: starvation and disease. Starvation was partly due to eco-
nomically inefficient means of production, while disease was largely
the consequence of ignorance in medicine and of an unsanitary environ-
ment. Hence devastatingly cruel phenomena such as the European famine
of 1315-1317 and the Black Death epidemic of 1348 were not uncommon in
the pre-industrial world.4

In the face of this prevailing high level of mortality, a high
human fertility level was not only reasonable but probably essential
to the survival of the race. It is not surprising, then, that ever
since the earliest times fertility has been culturally glorified as in-
surance against the specter of a vanishing mankind. But the advent of
the Industrial Revolution drastically changed circumstances. Mass
production and new technologies arose that contained at least the

potential to eliminate famine by increasing long-term availability of
food along with greatly expanded production of other consumer goods
such as soap, cheaper clothing, temperature and humidity control, and
more sanitary dwellings, all of which contributed to a substantial
improvement in human health conditions. Along with these changes came
a marked increment in medical knowledge that began depressing death
rates. Pasteur's germ theory displaced evil spirits as the alleged
cause of all illness; immunology became accepted as a pertinent science;
previously common diseases such as cholera, tetanus, typhus, diphtheria,
and hydrophobia came under control; and antibiotics were discovered as
highly efficient therapeutics.

The outgrowth of these developments during the last 200 years has
been a dramatic drop in mortality and an increase in life expectancy.
As a result, the previously high fertility rates are no longer neces-
sary for the perpetuation of the human race. But fertility does not
seem to respond smoothly and automatically to changes in mortality by
dropping commensurately. On the contrary, some evidence suggests that
an increase in fertility occurs as economic development sets in, at
least in the initial stages. Therefore, the gap between a constant or
rising fertility rate and a declining mortality rate has been widening
since the late 18th or early 19th century, and the population explosion
has been gaining momentum.

Regardless of whether conditions associated with high fertility
and low mortality rates are a net asset or liability to a country's
economic development effort, they are likely to play a crucial role in
development policy implementation. Two aspects of fertility are note-
worthy. First, although fertility fundamentally is a biological
process, it is not inevitable but rather depends on people's decisions
to have or not to have children. In this respect fertility differs
from mortality to the extent that mortality is inevitable and not
subject to human volition. Second, these fertility decisions are of
an individual and intimate nature. Fertility, unlike morbidity, cannot
be increased or reduced through a mass production process of vaccination
or application of recently discovered therapeutics. Instead, fertility
decisions are arrived at individually.by each couple and are likely to
touch the most intimate aspects of human life.

Population processes such as fertility and mortality can be
usefully analyzed within a "human-capital" framework.5 "Human capital"
refers to the stock of an individual's economic endowments and capa-
bilities. Most of these capabilities are not given at birth but can be
acquired by the individual through processes that have many character-
istics of investment to the extent that they involve decision making on
initial cost and a trade off between present and future benefits.
Labor, education, and health are the three most important areas in
which a population can invest in its human element as a response to its
perception of changing needs and economic opportunities, thus augmenting
the value of human endowments.

With population problems and considerations being important
functions in those structural changes associated with the development
process, policies could be designed to increase the flow of infor-
mation about the benefits and costs involved in human-capital

investment. The economic responses of individuals to market conditions
cannot be "rational" without awareness of such conditions. At this
point a critical issue arises: Does government have the responsibility
to see that people are fully informed about the long-term benefits from
investments in labor migration, in more education, and in better
health? In other words, why should government (i.e., all members of
society) pay for expenditures that will directly benefit only a segment
of society (i.e., those who invest in themselves)? If all benefits of
such investment accrued to the individuals undertaking such decisions,
there would be little rationale for implementation of public policy in
these areas. There exist, however, externalities in the process of
human-capital investment. In fact, as valuable as investments in labor
education, and health may be to those individuals directly involved,.
social benefits are likely to exceed private benefits in many cases.
Insufficient investment in human resources can create bottlenecks and
underutilization of physical resources that seriously hinder develop-
ment and growth.

Investments in human capital also have an important intergener-
ational value. Children of people who invest in on-the-job training,
more education, and better health are likely to benefit from their
parents' investment in the form of attaining higher productivity them-
selves. Furthermore, because of the increasing interdependence among
economic sectors of employment in developing countries, each person's
productivity is likely to influence the productivity of other members
of society. Thus, it would be in the public interest that an efficient
allocation of human resources be attained. This requires a mobile,
educated, and healthy labor force that is both willing and able to
adapt to emerging skill requirements.

To the extent that investments in labor, education, and health
play fundamental roles in effective programs of development conducive
to raising economic productivity and speeding social progress, it can
be concluded that government has a positive responsibility to promote
favorable conditions under which people can invest in themselves in
these areas. Such responsibility becomes even more important in light
of the inadequacy of private markets in financing human-capital invest-
ment. Public authorities could even directly encourage and assist a
population to respond to existing opportunities by lending "venture"
capital for investing in human resources. In addition to extending
direct public credit to help compensate for imperfections in private
capital markets, public subsidizing of investments in labor, education,
and health can be undertaken through the tax structure. Tax laws
almost universally provide much greater incentives for investment in
non-human resources than for investment in human capital, even though
human capital--like other forms of capital--depreciates and becomes
obsolete. This legislative imbalance has occurred in part because not
until recently has the concept of investing to increase productivity
through developing human resources become an issue of central interest
in socioeconomic analysis.

Finally, it must be remembered that any comprehensive and intel-
lectually satisfying approach to the study of population and human
problems within a human-capital investment framework must recognize
and deal with numerous little understood relationships among economic,

sociological, and political variables. Methodological advance must be
deliberate and reflective, with constant reference to the full reality
of a particular context as well as to the search for theoretical ele-
gance and rigor. Unfortunately, the task is hampered by a severe
shortage of reliable data of the kind required for empirical research
on the subject.

Within a human-capital and resource-allocation framework, the
theme of this book focuses on the relationship between population
growth and three basic factors determining human productivity: labor,
education, and health. In general, the attempt is to point out and
reconcile differences among theories of diverse academic disciplines
and their practical payoff. Specifically, it hopes to establish three
multidisciplinary channels of communication. The first channel con-
sists of a comparison between the approach to population problems taken
by academicians, whose view of these problems often is distorted by
unrealistic assumptions, and that taken by decision makers, who face
everyday dilemmas of assigning resource-allocation priorities in the
real world. A second channel pertains to the relatively homogeneous
decision-making organizations of four countries facing similar problems.
The expectation here is to compare and contrast policy implementation
that deals with the issue of human productivity in the fields of labor,
education, and health in light of present and projected population
growth. Finally, a third channel of communication links U. S. and
Latin American social scientists in their methodological perspectives
of analyzing and attempting to answer similar questions.

Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela have been selected as
models or case studies for two reasons: (1) they rank among the most
rapidly developing countries in Latin America during the last 30 years,
and (2) together they account for almost two-thirds of the area (61.9
percent) and of the population (in 1970, 64.0 percent) of the Latin
American republics.

Each of the following chapters begins with a paper prepared by the
Minister (or a delegate appointed by the Minister) of Labor, Education,
or Health of one of the four countries. These papers are intended to
present the Ministry's resource-allocation priorities in dealing with
population growth. Following each Minister's paper, one or two
comments are presented by analysts from various academic disciplines.
The analysts' papers deal with theoretical points that surround the
resource-allocation priorities presented by each Minister or Ministerial

Within a framework of resource-allocation for development and
growth, as the importance of human-capital investment becomes more firmly
established the question of where human-resource investment stands
relative to alternative growth-inducing investment opportunities be-
comes an important issue, particularly in light of the less-developed
countries' plight of mass poverty, To be sure, investments leading to
a more efficient labor force and a more educated and healthier popu-
lation alone do not constitute or create development. They can, how-
ever, alleviate population pressure on scarce non-human resources and
enhance the supply of labor force skills relative to labor force needs
so that these investments become a valuable complement to an effective


capital-accumulation, full-employment, growth policy. Thus, the
economic value of human-resource investment lies in its contribution
to overall productive potential.


1. W. Petersen, Population (London: The MacMillan Company, Ltd.,
1969), p. 350.

2. Henri V. Vallois, "La Dur$e de la Vie Chez 1'Homme Fossile,"
Anthropologie (Vol. 47, 1937), pp. 499-532.

3. T. H. Hollingsworth, "A Demographic Study of the British Ducal
Families," Population Studies (Vol. 11, No. 1, July, 1957), pp.

4. It is estimated that the Black Death epidemic of 1348 alone wiped
out between one-third and two-thirds of the urban population of
Europe at the time. See Robert L. Heilbroner, The Making of
Economic Society (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1972),
p. 40.

5. Manuel J. Carvajal and David T. Geithman, Family Planning and
Family Size Determination: The Evidence from Seven Latin American
Cities (Gainesville: The University of Florida Press, 1975) and
David T. Geithman and Manuel J. Carvajal, "Population and the
Economist, The New Approach to Fertility," Social Science (Vol.
50, No. 4, Autumn, 1975), pp. 204-12.



Julio Barata
Minister of Labor and Social Welfare
Brasilia, Brazil

With a surface area of 8,500,000 square kilometers, Brazil occu-
pies approximately 48 percent of South America. Its large geographic
extension accounts for wide economic and social differentials. About
20 percent of the population is concentrated in the Rio de Janeiro-
So Paulo axis, while vast areas in the Amazon remain unpopulated. In
order to alleviate interregional disequilibria, the government is
placing high priority on programs leading to the development of the
Northeast, where 30 million people live and earn, on the average, the
lowest income levels in the country. Policies leading to the consoli-
dation and settlement of the Amazon also have been assigned high

The government is attempting to replace current paternalistic
processes of social welfare by an objective program designed to pro-
mote man socially and economically, thus making him a participant in
the development process. Such a program is expected to promote a more
equitable income distribution, humanization of the economy, and more
opportunities for participation by all population strata through comple-
mentary employment policies. An annual average goal of 3.1 percent in
new jobs has been set to alleviate unemployment.

Brazil's present population is approximately 100 million people.
The annual rate of growth of the population increased consistently be-
tween 1900 and 1960, diminishing slightly since then (see Table 1).
It is estimated that in 1980 the Brazilian population will reach 120
million people, 80 percent of whom will be concentrated in urban areas.
It can be observed in Table 1 that although the birth rate has dropped
steadily since 1890, the death rate has decreased more rapidly. The
importance of international migration has been nil in the last 30
years. The growth rate of the urban population exceeds rural growth
rates (see Table 2). While in 1940 69 percent of the population lived
in rural areas, this percentage declined to 44 in 1970.


Because of its rapidly growing population, the Brazilian labor
force also is experiencing a high rate of growth~. Between 1960 and
1970 the labor force increased by 6.9 million people. During this
decade, agriculture supplied 900,000 new jobs, industry provided 2.9
million, and trade and services supplied 3.7 billion. Eighty-seven
percent of the new jobs were in urban areas. \..1'1i t j/

In order to maintain a balance between labor supply and demand
while maintaining present levels of economic growth, it will be neces-
sary to give special attention to sectors that absorb large quantities
of manpower, such as the construction sector. Whether or not the con-
struction sector will be able to continue creating jobs depends on
the availability of financing facilities for new houses. Broadening
large-scale services and public works also will expand sources of new

Based on 1970 Population and Housing Census data, and assuming an
average annual population growth rate of 2.7 percent, projections for
1978 indicate a rather moderate expansion of the labor force in the
agricultural sector and an accelerated expansion in the service sector
(see Table 3). The 40 million Brazilians employed in 1978 will
probably earn real-wage levels almost twice as high as present levels,
which will require implementation of an aggressive manpower training
policy. The implementation of such a policy, essentially pragmatic,
will constitute a challenge to professionals and technicians alike.

An analysis of Table 4 reveals that in the period 1940-1950 the
labor force grew mostly in the manufacturing sector and very little in
agriculture. This phenomenon can be attributed to rural-to-urban
migration motivated by income differentials. Between 1950 and 1960,
however, growth in the agricultural labor force remained approximately
the same while declining considerably in manufacturing. Evidently, the
remaining rural-to-urban migrants were absorbed by the service sector,
where the growth rate increased by almost 50 percent relative to 1940-
1950. Such behavior is indicative of/the crisis that Brazil underwent
in the 1950's, i.e., political and social instability, galoping infla-
tion, and a high degree of uncertainty.

The 1960's present a totally different picture. Manufacturing
industry, once it attained a solid operational base, experienced an
annual average employment growth rate of 5.9 percent, while the service
sector also continued growing. Agriculture absorbed only a small
fraction of manpower in relation to the other sectors. This can be
partially explained by the higher productivity of agricultural workers.

Brazil has a very young population. Approximately 43 percent are
under 15 years of age and, consequently, economically inactive. The
situation is especially acute in the poorer regions, as can be ob-
served in Table 5. Understandably, the government is assigning to
these regions high priority in public planning and programs. The
Trans-Amazonian Highway perhaps is the best example of such policy.


The main characteristics of Brazilian national policy goals can
be summarized as follows: (1) political and social stability as a
condition for sustained economic growth; (2) geographic integration,
sectoral diversification, and competition in international markets;
and (3) more equitable income distribution and mobility of factors of
production. Since 1964 Brazil has experienced a sharp increase in
national income. In 1969 the annual growth rate of national income
was 8.3 percent, and in 1973 annual per capital income exceeded US$500.

National Integration

Approximately 28 billion cruzeiros have been allocated to the
implementation of integration programs. These programs attempt to
transform subsistence agriculture in the Northeast through a change in
its fundamentally agrarian structure; open certain portions of the
Trans-Amazonian Highway, especially the Cuiabg-Santarem and the Northern
Perimeter Highways; utilize fiscal incentives for the industrialization
of the Northeast and agro-industrial development of the Amazon; and the
consolidation of the Manaus duty-free area for developing trade, agri-
culture, and industry in the Western Amazon.

Special attention is being devoted to creating economic poles
throughout the Trans-Amazonian Highway, attempting to develop truly
productive activities rather than activities involving mere subsistence.
Major crops in the area include soybeans, coffee, sugar, and rubber,
and the first harvests have demonstrated their commercial potential.
It is important, of course, to preserve the ecological balance of the
region. Resources have been allocated to the Humid Tropics Research
Program (Programa de Pesquisa do Tropico Umido) to control soil
exploitation and to survey both soil and subsoil in an area of 3.5
million square kilometers.

Wage Policy

The first formal wage policies in Brazil were established in 1965
to maintain a balance between the cost of living and annual adjustments
in wages and salaries. Wage policy also is designed to promote par-
ticipation of wage earners in aggregate wealth growth, thus leading to
a better income distribution. Inflation has been brought under control
since 1963; in that year the inflation rate reached almost 70 percent.
In 1972 the inflation rate decreased to 17 percent (see Figure 1). As
can be observed in Figure 2, since 1968 wage and salary adjustment
measures have permitted average wage increases to exceed increases in
the cost of living.

High-Priority Programs

The National Development Plan is designed to coordinate available
resources and to reform the country's social structure. High priority
has been assigned to the following programs:

1. Social Integration Program (Programa de Integrapio Social PIS).
This program attempts to integrate the wage earner into the

development of his respective firm by means of participation in a
fund, proportionate to the firm's size, set up jointly by the
government and the private sector. This fund is more beneficial
to the wage earner than is profit sharing.

2. Social Security Fund of Public Sector Employees (Programa de
FormaSgo de Patrimonio do Servidor Publico PASEP). This program
is designed to provide both civilian and military public servants
with revenue sharing from public agencies, proportionate to their
salary and length of time of employment.

3. National Integration Program (Programa de Integraqio Nacional -
PIN). This program promotes construction of highways in isolated
regions in an attempt to integrate the population of these regions
into the national economy. Two of these highways are the Trans-
Amazonian and the Cuiabi-Santarnm. This program anticipates a
system of colonization, irrigation, and manpower absorption.

4. Rural Labor Assistance Program (Programa de Assistencia ao
Trabalhador Rural PRORURAL). This program provides assistance
and social welfare to the rural worker, and is administered
throughout the country by the Ministry of Labor.

5. Land Redistribution and Promotion of Agro-Industry (Programa de
Redistribuglo de Terras a Estimulo a Agro-IndGstria PROTERRA).
This program attempts to eliminate distortions in regional develop-
ment and to create jobs to decrease unemployment in both urban and
rural areas. It provides loans to small- and medium-size rural
landowners for purchasing modern means of production and for con-
ducting research.

6. PRODOESTE and PROVALE. These projects are designed to develop the
West of the country and the Sio Francisco Valley by means of modern
road networks, silos, warehouses, cold storage plants, and facto-
ries which, it is hoped, will promote colonization and settlement
in these fertile areas.

7. Compensation for Time of Service Fund (Fundo de Garantia por Tempo
de Servigo FGTS). This program consists of compulsory contri-
butions by each firm (8 percent of the firm's payroll) to provide
the worker with some income if he is dismissed arbitrarily or if
he is retired. The fund also is used for house financing, with
preferential treatment for lower-income workers. It subsidized
the building of approximately 783,000 dwellings in 1973, and a
total of 6 million are projected for 1980.


The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare is in charge of training
the unemployed in order to increase their productivity, to promote a
more efficient resource allocation, and to attain a balance for urban
manpower market needs in light of rural-to-urban migration. The
Ministry also is in charge of studying the labor market throughout the
country, examining labor supply and demand, and opening new sources of

employment to cope with problems of population growth, labor placement,
professional training, and internal migration. Along these lines the
Manpower Consultation Council (Conselho Consultivo de Mao-de-Obra),
which is an interministerial agency, has been created to recommend
employment policies and policies for professional training, to provide
better training opportunities for all workers, and to coordinate the
activities of all professional training agencies in Brazil.

The need for implementing policies which increase the quality of
human resources has led to the creation of a technical agency special-
izing in labor market needs research, in the study of employment
structure, and in research on means of increasing productivity through
workers' integration into modern systems of production. This agency
is the National Manpower Department (Departamento Nacional de MEo-de-
Obra). In 1968, an intensive professional training program was es-
tablished and, by 1972, 234,934 workers had been trained under this
program; almost 43 percent were located in the Northeast, which is the
least developed region in the country. The accomplishments of this
plan can be analyzed in Figures 3 and 4.

In order to increase human-resource productivity, implementation
of employment policy seeks not only to absorb new labor force entrants--
considering population growth, increasing participation of women, and
increasing individual and entrepreneurial activity--but also to reduce
both unemployment and underemployment and to increase the population's
rate of economic activity. It is estimated that to attain this goal
new employment opportunities will have to grow from 850,000 in 1970 to
920,000 in 1974, at an average rate of 2.9 percent per annum.

As a basis for promoting manpower absorption and more equitable
distribution of national income, priority has been assigned to the
following general policies:

1. Accelerate economic growth so that new sources of employment are

2. Develop fundamental sectors such as civil construction, transpor-
tation, manufacturing, and energy.

3. Make more efficient and intensive use of regions with abundant
natural resources, especially the North and the Northeast.

4. Reorganize public services so as to increase productivity in the
public sector through more coordination of all government agencies;
better definition of priorities; and more adequate planning,
budgeting, and financial and statistical programs.


The major shortcomings encountered in implementing manpower
policy in Brazil are found in its deficient public administration
system. Several measures have been taken to correct this deficiency
through more adequate salary and wage levels and the establishment of
new plans for classification of duties and salaries. Structural

shortcomings stemming from low personnel qualification, however, have
hampered the development of an efficient decision-making system.

The following accomplishments by the Ministry of Labor and Social
Welfare can be reported with regard to manpower policy:

1. Standardization of available statistics.

2. Comparative studies of manpower qualification by sector of employ-
ment, location, and time.

3. Analysis of female and child labor force characteristics.

4. Studies of productivity and wage-and-salary differentials.

5. Studies of income distribution.

National Program of Worker Valorization (Programa Nacional de Valori-
zaglo do Trabalhador)

The National Program of Worker Valorization was created for the
professional advancement of adult Brazilians and for the incorporation
of all workers into the labor force, thus qualifying individuals for
better pay and social status by means of productivity increases. It
is a program of priority goals for manpower qualification designed to
reduce unemployment and underemployment. Its main purpose is to train
workers intensively, especially unskilled and semi-skilled labor, with
preferential treatment to less-developed regions. The National Program
of Worker Valorization includes the following projects:

1. Intensive Training of Workers (Treinamento Intensivo de Trabalha-
dores TIT). Provides intensive professional training to person-
nel with low qualifications.

2. Training of Draftees (Treinamento de Conscritos CAXIAS). Trains
draftees in military training centers and professional training
groups to qualify them for skilled civilian occupations.

3. On-the-Job Training (Treinamento na Pr6pia Empresa EMPRESA).
Trains workers in small- and medium-size firms.

4. Training in Civil Construction (Treinamento para a Construgco Civil
CONSTRUgAO). Provides training in the construction industry.

5. Training in the Tourism Sector (Treinamento para o Setor de Turismo
PROJETUR). Qualifies personnel in the tourism industry, es-
pecially in hotel management.

6. Training in the Area Covered by the Trans-Amazonian Highway (Treina-
mento na Area da Transamaz8nica PROJETRANS). Trains unskilled
labor in occupations needed for the development of the Trans-
Amazonian region.

7. Training in the Fishing Industry (Treinamento para Pesca PISCES).
Trains unskilled labor in occupations related to the fishing indus-

8. Training for Labor Union Members (Aperfeigoamento Profissional nos
Sindicatos). Attempts to improve skills of unionized labor.

9. Diagnosis of the Labor Market (Diagn6stico de Mercado do Trabalho -
DMT). Studies labor supply and demand by economic sector through-
out the country in order to maintain a balance between manpower
availability and needs.

In general, the National Program of Worker Valorization attempts
to coordinate the worker's growing integration into the development
process by training labor so as to increase its productivity, to moti-
vate the worker into seeking professional training; to prevent techni-
cal obsolesence; and to coordinate the efforts of labor unions,
business, and government in providing professional training. Inter-
national experience has been very useful in this respect. Technicians
specializing abroad or working closely with foreign advisers have
learned to adapt foreign models to Brazil's reality.


Brazil is currently facing serious problems stemming from its
population explosion of almost 3 percent per year. A large population,
however, is not viewed as a hampering factor to development but as a
positive factor leading to progress. It is recognized that population
growth requires coordination of efforts in order to maintain sustained
economic development. Successful attempts have been made to maintain
the rate of growth of GNP at above 9 percent per year; these efforts
have placed Brazil among the world's top 10 countries in indices of
economic development.

Labor policy in Brazil today is directed toward the social and
economic improvement of each individual and his complete integration
into the national system both as producer and consumer, eliminating
the paternalistic tradition and introducing a dynamic redistribution
of resources to increase productivity. Manpower policy decision
makers are aware of the fact that increases in production often are
accompanied by increases in unemployment. This is why programs are
implemented in such a way that, without preventing the entry of modern
technology, new employment opportunities may arise, thus compensating
for a possible surplus in the labor market. New employment opportuni-
ties are most evident in the Brazilian frontier, an area that presents
the complementary advantages of peripherical structures for both
employment and consumption.



Annual Rate
Period Birth Death Immigration Population Growth

1872-1890 4.65 3.02 0.38 2.01

1890-1900 4.60 2.78 0.70 2.52

1900-1920 4.50 2.64 0.22 2.08

1920-1940 4.40 2.53 0.18 2.05

1940-1950 4.35 2.01 0.04 2.38

1950-1960 4.33 1.34 0.00 2.99

1960-1970 3.77 0.94 0.00 2.83

Source: Instituto Brasileiro de Estatistica, "I-VIII Recenseamento
Geral, 1872-1970," (Rio de Janeiro).



Annual Rate
Cities with more than
Region Urban Rural 10,000 Inhabitants
1940-1950 1950-1960 1940-1950 1950-1960 1940-1960 1950-1960

North 3.7 5.3 1.8 2.5 3.9 6.6

Northeast 3.5 4.8 1.8 1.0 3.9 6.4

Southeast 4.1 5.1 0.5 1.0 4.9 6.0

South 3.9 6.7 2.8 4.0 4.6 7.7

Center-West 4.7 9.4 2.9 4.0 6.7 14.0

Brazil 3.7 5.4 1.6 1.6 4.8 6.4

Source: Instituto Brasileiro de Estatistica, "V-VII Recenseamento Geral, 1940-1960,"
(Rio de Janeiro).



Economic Sector
Year Commerce and
Agriculture Manufacturing Services Total

1971 13,091,000 5,565,000 11,872,000 30,528,000

1972 13,183,000 5,483,000 12,584,000 31,250,000

1973 13,275,000 6,135,000 13,339,000 32,749,000

1974 13,378,000 6,442,000 14,140,000 33,960,000

1975 13,461,000 6,764,000 14,988,000 35,213,000

1976 13,556,000 7,103,000 15,887,000 36,546,000

1977 13,651,000 7,458,000 16,841,000 37,950,000

1978 13,746,000 7,831,000 17,852,000 39,429,000

Source: Ministgrio do Trabalho e Previdencia Social, unpublished data.



BRAZIL, 1940-1970

Annual Rate
Economic Sector 1940-1950 1950-1960 1960-1970

Agriculture 1.4 1.7 0.7

Manufacturing 5.2 2.3 5.9

Commerce and services 2.2 3.2 4.1

Total 2.1 2.8 2.7

Source: Instituto Brasileiro de Estatistica, "V-VIII Recenseamento
Geral, 1940-1970," (Rio de Janeiro).




Region 1940 1950 1960 1970
Active Not Active Active Not Active Active Not Active Active Not Active

North 51.9 48.1 45.5 54.5 42.1 57.9

Northeast 51.0 49.0 45.2 54.8 43.8 56.2

Southeast 48.9 51.1 46.2 53.8 42.4 57.6

South 50.8 49.2 47.1 52.9 46.9 53.1

Center-West 49.4 50.6 44.0 56.0 44.9 55.1

Brazil 50.8 49.2 46.8 53.1 46.5 53.5 44.8 55.2

Source: Instituto Brasileiro de Estatistica, "V-VIII Recenseamento Geral, 1940-1970," (Rio de



66 67 68 69 70 71 72




\ ----- Variation in the cost of living

\ -- Variation in salary rates
S \

S20- \


1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971
1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971






3 160


o 120










1 North
S/ Northeast
f Southeast

l South

i Center-West


Jacob Mincer
Columbia University and National Bureau of Economic Research
New York, New York


While poverty is still the basic debilitating condition of mankind
and economic progress an as yet imattained hope of poor societies,, eco-
nomic growth, once started, creates massive problems ot its own, pro-
blems of dislocations and imbalances, of more optimistically, problems
of transition and adjustment. The realization that the problems are a
part of the promise is comforting, but does not make the need for
dealing with them intelligently less urgent. Awareness of these pro-
blems and some of the strategy for dealing with them have been elo-
quently communicated in Professor Barata's statement of the develop-
ments, aspirations,,and concerns for the changing conditions of labor
in Brazil.

The current Brazilian take-off into rapid growth is particularly
exciting. ,At least in one basic respect it differs from themodels of
German and Japanese growth with which it is beginning to be compared.
Germany and Japan were urbanized, industrialized nations long before
they embarked on rapid growth. Capital replacement and accumulation
embodying the latest technologies in an economy with an already ex-
isting broad base of skilled industrial labor as the complementary
factor is an important part of the success story,in Germany and Japan,
although not a sufficient explanation of it,--In contrast, Brazil
constitutes a much more interesting case for the poor countries of the
world. Starting from a very low income level, with a preponderantly
agricultural population and a small industrial base, Brazil has de-
veloped a spectacular economic growth rate despite its very modest avail-
abilities of a modern, skilled, highly educated labor forceg.The con-
clusion that human capital is a precondition for expansion, which may
be drawn from the other examples, does not seem to hold here. Indeed,
the central problem of growth in Brazil, as in most other Latin American
countries, is the transformation of large masses of marginally pro-
ductive labor into a modern, productive .abor force.

Theorists of economic growth are only beginning to pay attention
to labor as a factor affecting, and being affected, by economic develop-
ment. On the other hand, labor economists do not suffer from a myopic

emphasis on physical capital accumulation, and they are certainly
immune to the simplifying assumption of homogeneous labor. My analy-
sis should, therefore, be free of these blinders, an advantage which
may compensate somewhat for my otherwise rough understanding of de-
velopment processes. I shall consider the implications of economic
growth for the supply of labor in its quantitative and qualitative
dimensions, for its sectoral mobility and allocation, and for the dis-
tribution of wage gains.


The quantity of labor supplied to the economy is a function of
the size and age distribution of the population, of the labor force
participation rate, -and of hours of work per unit of time. Health,
education, and skill are measures of quality of the labor force, as
they affect the productivity of a given quantity of labor measured in
numbers or in man-hours. The effective supply of labor is, therefore,
a function of both quantity and quality, and the two components are
both interdependent and interactive. Clearly, the subject of health
and educational conditions of the population, although discussed in
other sections of this book, cannot be avoided in the analysis of

Population is the ultimate determinant of labor supply. Its
growth depends on the balance between birth rates and death rates.
The high birth and death rates which characterize pre-industrial socie-
ties tend to decline as a consequence of economic growth: mortality
declines as income and consumption rise. Even without much income
growth, the spread of medical knowledge and public sanitation can re-
duce death rates substantially. If birth rates do not follow suit,
the "demographic transition" acquires a Malthusian character.

If economic growth nevertheless gets started, there is a pre-
sumption in economic theory that a decline in birth rates will follow.
This conclusion emerges from recent theoretical analyses of time allo-
cation and from empirical studies of fertility behavior. The growth
of market wages and education attracts people from non-market activi-
ties such as the household and subsistence sectors into the labor
market. Rising wages represent a rising cost of time in raising
children, so that the incentives of women to limit family size and
enter the labor market grow simultaneously. More education appears
to exert additional effects in the same direction as it influences
attitudes and information about family planning. An additional factor
in the expected decline of the birth rate is migration. Generally,
economic growth intensifies migration processes, particularly rural-to-
urban migration and migration from smaller to larger urban centers.
Since child raising is more costly in the city than on the farm, in-
centives of migrants to limit family size are strong./Thus, with
economic growth and urbanization, growth of the female labor force and
declining birth rates are likely to occur jointly.

All these developments are observable in Brazil: an unprecedented
urban shift from 45 to 56 percent of the population; a 20 percent growth
in the labor force participation rate of adult women (ages 20-50); and

a significant drop in the birth rate, from 4.33 percent to 3.77 per-
cent, all in the span of a single decade./-To the extent that mortality
has declined steadily since 1940, overall population growth actually
accelerated before 1960, but the rate is declining somewhat thereafter.
In view of the low levels that mortality will be reaching, an extrapo-
lation of birth and death rates from Professor Barata's paper implies
a continued decline in the rate of population growth, though the rate
itself will remain quite high for some time.

The significance of these demographic events for labor supply is
two-fold: On the one hand, high birth rates imply an age distribution
of the population heavily weighted toward youth. Approximately 40
percent of the Brazilian population is less than 15 years of age.
This represents a substantial burden on the economy, since the con-
sumption and educational needs of the young population are paramount,
and their economic contribution small. Continuation of the observed
decline in birth rates will slowly change the age distribution toward
a more productive labor supply.,-In the meantime, information on family
planning could be usefully combined with information on prenatal care,
nutrition, and household management in general in some of-the more
successful adult literacy programs which Professor Barata has listed.
On the other hand, and beyond improving the quality of the labor force
via changes in age distribution, reductions in the size of large
families apparently also affect educational progress. Families with
fewer children can more readily afford educational expenditures. If
the frequency of large family size is greater among the poor, the
induced demographic changes may have positive effects on the distri-
bution of income and social mobility.


Total labor force grows with the size and varies with the age
distribution of the population. Although the overall proportion of
the economically active population need not be fixed, its variation
over time is found to be rather small in most countries. This propor-
tion is smaller in countries like Brazil, where the young dependent
population predominates and where female labor force rates are
relatively low. Apart from effects of changes in birth rates on the
age distribution, the major impact of population growth does not lie
on the overall labor force rate, but on its composition. As indicated
above, the female labor force rate is likely to increase over time,
which does not appear to affect the total rate much, because the male
labor force rate tends to decline at the same time.

The link between the two movements is not that housewives get
replaced by househusbands, but that the same forces of growing in-
comes on the one hand attract people from household to market activi-
ties, while on the other hand, they induce private and social invest-
ments in education of the young and provide the means for earlier re-
tirement. As a result,(abor force rates of the youngest and oldest
population groups decline. These declines are visible in the male
labor force, since they are offset by the growth of market activities
in the female labor force.

The Brazilian data on labor force participation by age and sex
indicate the same kinds of trends in recent years as are observed in
U.S. data for the past half century or more. Since the compositional
changes need not be precisely offsetting, and given the problems of
measurement, it is doubtful that much meaning can be ascribed to the
small drop (from 46.4 percent to 44.8 percent) in the Brazilian labor
force rate observed over the past decade. It would be difficult to
view this drop as a reflection of a decline in employment opportunities,
given the strong evidence of consequences of booming demand, such as
the educational explosion and the quickened pace of labor mobility.


The fast growth of the Brazilian economy is apparently based on
modern, capital-and-skill-intensive technology despite its rather
narrow base of educated labor with modern industrial skills. The re-
sulting pressure of demand on the educational and job training systems
must be enormous. In fact, the magnitude of response of the education-
al system is impressive: in the span of a decade, enrollment doubled
at the primary level, increased over four times at the secondary level,
and over seven times at the higher levels. In absolute numbers, en-
rollment in secondary and higher levels grew from 1.3 to 6.2 million
students in this short time. It would be surprising if the quality
of education did not suffer in such a hasty adjustment process At
any rate, the full effects on the skill composition of the labor force
will become visible when the cohorts of students become experienced
members of the labor force.

Langoni's study attests that/the pressure of demand in the labor
market is disproportionately concentrated at the upper-skill levels,
and that the educational growth represents a direct response to market
forces. It shows that between 1960 and 1970 the distribution of real
income growth rates was directly related to the worker's educational
attainment. Although inequalities in wage gains widened the overall
income inequality, all income groups, classified by deciles in
Langoni's study, received real income gains.1 If economic theory and
the experience of more developed countries are any guide, the twist in
the distribution or relative gains will be reversed as increasing
supplies of skill, produced in response to demand, become available
over time. The response of the educational and training systems will
tend to alleviate the skill bottlenecks, thereby increasing total
output, while at the same time the increased supply of skilled person-
nel will tend to equalize the disparities in wage gains. Given rates
of growth in demand for various skills in the labor market, the speed
of these processes depends on the rates, distributions, and efficien-
cies of educational and training resource flows. The assessment of
proper magnitudes and directions of such flows can be guided by calcu-
lations of levels of, and changes in, rates of return to the various
educational and training investments.

It is, of course, important to distinguish between private and
social rates of return, for they may differ, and both are relevant for
the understanding of behavior and for the formulation of public policy.
The difference between the two rates is due, for example, to the fact

that schooling is partly financed by the public sector. Moreover,
the degree of public financing differs among educational levels. In
Brazil the largest public subsidies accrue to the lowest levels of
schooling, while the smallest accrue to the secondary level. Conse-
quently,/the relatively high private student costs at the secondary
level create a barrier to the flow of students beyond elementary
levels, which only a relatively high family income can surmount. This
barrier looms even larger when secondary-level curricula are geared
mainly to university entrance rather than to market opportunities.
Removal of this barrier-that is, a redistribution of resources toward
the secondary level--ought to be a more efficient policy than increasing
subsidies to the highest levels of education. At the same time, it
would be helpful to change the emphasis in secondary education from a
mere academic bridge to higher education to a more vocational or semi-
professional preparation for the majority which is not likely to go on
to university. This would save resources while speeding up the flow of
middle-level qualified manpower to the labor market, thus further im-
proving both the productivity of the economy and the social oppor-
tunities of the poorer classes.

Educational investments and reforms take a relatively long time
to affect the supply of skilled and experienced workers in the labor
market. Such investments and reforms do not help in adapting the bulk
of the adult labor force to the pressures of demand for more skilled
labor..-The response to these immediate needs has been enumerated by
Professor Barata in the form of a variety of job-training, post-school
education, and adult literacy programs, both public and private. It
is probably not too soon to get some insights into the adequacy and
efficiency of these undertakings in terms of cost-benefit analyses.
The nature and form of adult training that will survive and prosper is
of great interest to labor everywhere.


Economic growth generates an intensified labor mobility and
migration. Labor demands and wages grow at differential rates in dif-
ferent sectors and locations, setting in motion responses to the
emerging or widened wage differentials. Theoretically, such responses
would occur even if the relative growth of wages were the same in all
markets, as long as costs of movement do not grow as rapidly as wages,
that is, as much as the wage differentials. It can be shown that in
equilibrium, after the migration flows cease when no further gains are
to be obtained from them, the relative differentials in wages will
have diminished, even though the absolute differences will have in-
creased. These are equilibrium tendencies. Meantime, as the process
goes on, the more rapid the growth rate, the more massive are the
movements of labor, rural-urban, regional, and generally among markets
and sectors.

While analysis and evidence contradict the notion that Brazil is
experiencing an increasing excess supply of labor, this does not mean
that frictional and structural problems are not real. There is a need
for statistical diagnoses of such problems. The emergence of open
unemployment is not necessarily a sign of deterioration in an

aggregative sense. Indeed, people in traditional societies cannot
afford the status of complete unemployment for even a short time,
given their inability to finance a minimal amount of consumption.
Growth and labor mobility may, in effect, be converting marginality
or underemployment into some amount of open unemployment. However
rapid the change, it is certainly true that marginality, low produc-
tivity, or underemployment remain the central problem, which is not
a matter of deficient demand nor of transitional frictions in the
labor market. Deficiencies in health, nutrition, and literacy are
probably the major problems, and they are on the supply side.

Massive internal migration, particularly from the poor farm
regions, leads to an increasingly visible poverty in the cities. But,
however poor migrants may be, they are likely to have improved their
material existence, not to mention future opportunities, by urbaniza-
tion. This is not to say that public policy should favor channeling
of investments to cities. Capital investments in, and modernization
of, agriculture make as much economic sense as the movement of labor
to cities in response to wage differentials. In agriculture, the need
for modernization applies both to technology and to the farm labor
force. Judging by studies of T. W. Schultz, F. Welch, and others, farm
productivity will not increase unless both are improved.2 According to
Langon4i. alf of the Brazilian farm labor force was illiterate in 1970,
while the proportion was nearer 10 percent in urban areas. His income
data indicate no real income gain for the illiterate labor force be-
tween 1960 and 1970, confirming the view that the most pressing poverty
problems are on the farm.3

Investments in agricultural technology and in the quality of the
rural population are urgent. One should not expect, however, that
these investments will stop migration. On the contrary, increasing
agricultural productivity probably will free resources for further
urban and industrial development. Deliberate attempts to restrict
migration flows are both uneconomic and ineffective. What is needed,
as recognized in Professor Barata's paper, is a network of employment
and labor market services which could assist migrants with information
about opportunities at destination and with some training or prepa-
ration for adjustment to city life.


Viewing the economy in terms of the agricultural or primary
sector, the manufacturing or secondary sector, and the services or
tertiary sector, the Brazilian economy exhibits the universal pattern
of growth in output. The relative share of the primary sector has
fallen, while the share of the secondary sector has grown most rapidly.
Correspondingly, the relative share of employment fell in the primary
sector and increased in the other two. The share of employment in the
industrial sector actually grew very little prior to 1960, but has in-
creased substantially with the acceleration of overall growth since
that time. When the industrial sector is divided into above- and
below-average capital-and-skill-intensive subsectors, the share of
output and of employment has grown most rapidly in the more intensive

The Brazilian experience of the last decade contrasts with its
own history and with that of other developing countries where economic
growth is not nearly as pronounced. It appears that in the more recent
years, the rate of labor absorption into the modernizing sector has
increased. This suggests either that the levels of skill in the labor
force have risen quite rapidly over this short period of time or that,
despite the basically capital-and-skill-intensive bias of the largely
imported technology,,/roduction coefficients are not fixed and em-
ployers are not entirely helpless in adjusting their production
processes to relative factor prices.

Langoni's study shows that the proportion of the labor force with
post-primary education rose from 10 percent in 1960 to 16 percent in
1970.4 The educational improvement affects, in the short run, the
young and relatively inexperienced labor force. Hence, the full impact
of the continued educational improvements on the overall labor force
is still in the future. In the meantime, the partial adjustment of
technology, known as job redesign, toward factor proportions more con-
sonant with available relative factor endowments is an important and
complementary alternative to skill training efforts. It is certainly
as much of a challenge to the ingenuity of Brazilian entrepreneurs and
engineers as are the adult training enterprises.

For reasons that make sense in the technology exporting countries,
the imported modern technology is capital and skill intensive rather
than labor intensive. The often expressed apprehension that the growth
process is not sufficiently labor absorbing is probably due to this
perception. It is not clear that such apprehension is justified, since
both the adjustment of labor to technology by means of human capital
investments, and to some extent the converse by means of job redesign,
are feasible. These adjustments are difficult and costly, particularly
on such a large scale. But is the invention, from scratch, of a full-
blown native technology less difficult? If this is the choice, modern-
ization via a perversely biased technology is probably rational. Late-
industrializing countries have the benefit of an already available
technology, which took a long time and great costs for industrial
nations to develop,- The disadvantages of factor bias must be weighed
against the advantages of being able to skip several generations of
technology in a short timeyWhile initial effects on the creation of
highly productive employment are slight, the subsequent adaptation of
human capital and modifications of technology can lead to progress-
ively wider diffusions of modernization throughout the economy. This
is the hope that the Brazilian model may hold out.


1. Carlos G. Langoni, DistribugQo da Renda e Desenvolvimento Economico
do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Expressio e Cultura, 1973),
Chapter 3.

2. For analysis and references, see T. W. Schultz, Economic Growth and
Agriculture (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968) and T. W. Schultz, In-
vestment in Human Capital (New York: The Free Press, 1971), es-
pecially Chapter 12.

3. Carlos G. Langoni (op. cit.), Chapters 3-4.

4. Carlos G. Langoni (op. cit.), Chapters 4-5.


Joseph J. Spengler
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina

Professor Barata's main concern is resource allocation in the
field of labor and productivity of human resources given the present
growth rates of the Brazilian population. It is to this concern,
therefore, that I direct my remarks. In doing so I shall deal with
the factors that, it seems to me, are most conducive to the socio-
economic welfare of the Brazilian people.

Three coordinate principles underlie my comments: (1) It is
essential to make as great as possible, compatibly with ruling time
preference and political stability, the flow of physical and human
capital complementary to Brazil's resource structure and rapidly
growing labor force. (2) It is essential to make as economical use
as possible of this flow. (3) Given policy objectives in addition to
those originating in the private sector, guidance to the transfor-
mation of inputs into such objectives needs to be compatible with a
price structure that reflects relevant current and prospective compa-
rative input scarcities. Execution of these principles is much easier
in a very large country like Brazil than in a small country.1


In recent years Brazil's population has been growing at the rate
of 2.8 percent per year, which is enough to quadruple its population
in half a century and increase its number to approximately 400 million
people, or around 120 persons per square mile, xEven if Brazil managed
to reduce its net reproduction rate to 1.0 percent 30 years from now,
its population would not become stationary until 2060 at about 292
million people, or about 90 persons per square mile. These figures
pose two questions: Can Brazil comfortably and safely support a popu-
lation of 300 or more million people? And is it desirable that its
population grow close to 3 percent per year rather than, say, 1.0 per-
cent per year? I shall consider the latter question first.

A high rate of population increase generates two types of costs.
First, it gives rise to an age structure composed of a relatively
small number of persons of working age. For example, only 52 percent

of Brazil's male population falls in the productive age group 15-64,
compared with about 58 percent in the United States. A comparison of
two hypothetical, stable male populations will illustrate my point.
Each is characterized by a life expectancy of 58 years, but one is
increasing at 2.8 percent per year while the other is increasing at
only 1.0 percent per year. While 55 percent of the former is aged
15-64 years, 62 percent of the latter falls within this age bracket;
hence, potential productivity per head in the latter population will
be 12 percent higher than in the former. If we define the population
aged 20-64 as of working age, the potential productivity of the popu-
lation growing at 1.0 percent per year would be about 17 percent '
higher. Of course, the males of working age in the population growing
at 1.0 percent per year would need to be employed for this 17-percent
advantage to be realized. It is well to keep in mind that growth of
gross national product no longer depends so largely on population
growth as in Adam Smith's days, when mortality was high, job require-
ments were simple, children could go to work at a very early age, and
a widow with six young children was an economically fine catch for a
wife-seeking bachelor with a farm.

Turning now to the second disadvantage of a high rate of popu-
lation increase, a rapidly growing population absorbs more capital,
both physical and human, than a slowly growing one. For example,
other things being equal, if a population grows at the rate of one per-
cent per year, approximately 5 to 7 percent of the national income is
needed to finance such rate of growth. The amount required, given a
2.8 percent rate of population growth, would, on the same basis, be at
least 16 percent, or more than twice as much,which is enough to de-
crease the rate of income growth per capital' y one percentage point.
If we divide capital into capital which is population-sensitive and
capital which is not, since the former keeps pace with population
growth whereas aggregate savings tend to lag, the growth of capital
not sensitive to population growth tends to lag. As a result, insofar
as capital-widening tends to be less productive per unit of capital
and per capital than is capital-deepening, the direct and indirect
contribution of capital formation to growth of average income is less
than it would be if population growth were lower and hence relatively
less if invested in capital widening.2

It should be noted that several purported advantages are asso-
ciated with a high rate of population growth. Wages tend to be held
down by a high rate of growth of the labor force, it is said, and this
accounts for higher profit rates and greater capacity to save. Over-
looked is the fact, however, that savings per capital will probably
remain lower if profit per capital remains lower, in part because
unemployment tends to be higher.. It is also said that a high and/or
accelerating rate of growth of the population and labor force is
comparable to a high and accelerating growth of capital stock, and
thus a larger fraction of each incorporates the latest progress in
technology. In other words,/relatively more knowledge of recent
vintage would be embodied in a rapidly growing population. This
argument overlooks the fact that when a population is growing rapidly,
the resources available for the education and traininyof those
entering the labor force will be less than when it is growing slowly,
and also that there are relatively more resources available for keeping

the entire labor force abreast of the requirements of technical change
and for augmenting per capital capital-deepening.

Income data suggest that Brazil's younger-age structure has con-
tributed to the country's relatively low average income. In 1970,
according to the World Bank, of the 122 countries whose GNP per head
was listed, Brazil's ranked fifty-second, and 66 of those countries
experienced a higher per capital growth rate in 1960-70 than did Brazil.
While it is true that capital formation, education, diet, and political
stability affect growth of average income, all of these are sensitive
to the rate of population growth. One may infer, therefore, that
Brazil could progress much more rapidly were its rate of population
growth lower, say around one instead of near three percent. Then, in
the area of economic development as well as in the area of defense, it
would mobilize the non-demographic forces which have played the major
role in economic development and military power in recent decades.


The population of Brazil, as Professor Barata suggests, is un-
evenly distributed in space. Population density in the West is only
one-fifteenth of that in the Northeast, partly because of physical
limits to settlement in the West. Density is about 22 times as high
in the three most populated regions as in the remaining two, where in
1960 about one-twelfth of the country's population occupied about two-
thirds of its territory. Even so Brazil was fortunate in having about
45 percent of its population urban already in 1960, with 29 percent
living in cities of 20,000 or more.3 Population concentration serves,
within limits, to make easier the assimilation, adaptation, exploi-
tation, and economic utilization of modern technology. It allows
greater scope to economies of scale, space, and agglomeration; to ex-
ploitation of complementarities; and to minimization of distance and
of many, though not all, inputs of time. While this concentration is
associated with industrialization and the improvement of transport
and communication means, it also facilitates the transformation of an
economy dependent mainly on primary activities into one dependent on
secondary and tertiary activities. While the degree of urbanization
may not have been so important prior to World War I, when external
trade was stimulating some local development but not yet a general
transformation of the economy, it did become helpful after World War
II. Export stagnation having led to a pattern of autarkic development
that lost its dynamism by 1962, the Brazilian economy eventually surged
forward after 1967 under the impact of heavy investment in the govern-
ment and consumer-durable sectors.4

The uneven distribution of Brazil's population reflects in part
the magnitude and the structure of the country, its poor transfer re-
lations and dearth of transport, the heterogeneity of its physical
terrain and environment, and the resulting regional unevenness and
capacity to support economic activities, and hence population, which
tends to settle where employment opportunities are available. Settle-
ment of Brazil thus reflects lack of access to the sea in the West and
failure up to now to surmount the barriers associated with space and

Effective use of Brazil's manpower in the future turns on im-
provement of its spatial distribution. Four lines of action are in-
dicated. First, since extension of settlement is financed by already
settled but still capital-short regions, continuity in extension
usually is more economical than leapfrogging, which also increases
the cost of overcoming distances and accentuates the transportation
burden.5 Second, the quality of local environment and terrain needs
to be taken into account, since otherwise costly overcrowding of local
environments may result. Third, the establishment of new growth
centers in less settled areas may be indicated, even though they may
temporarily be at the expense of large, well established cities in
settled regions. Fourth,.the fraction which the present agricultural
population and labor force forms out of the national population and
labor force eventually needs to be reduced from its 1970 level of
about 44 percent to a lower level, say 20 percent.

A reduction of the agricultural fraction of Brazil's population
and labor force, however, presupposes little if any outmigration from
the agricultural sector.,-For if we postulate an agriculturalist-land
ratio of one agriculturalist to 100 acres, and the existence of roughly
one billion arable acres, 10 million agriculturalists would be required
compared with the 12.6 million reported as economically active in agri-
culture. Accordingly, should outmigration approximate the equivalent
of natural increase in the rural population and should the rate of
natural increase not fall markedly, a rural population of current size
would amount to about one-fifth of the nation's population in the first
half of the next century. The agricultural prospect is good for in-
creasing yields and extending the area under active cultivation. Giver
Brazil's growing foreign exchange requirements, a growing world demand
for agricultural produce, and the fact that only one-half of the land
supposedly usable is in use, outmigration will be slowed by a rising
demand for rural labor. Furthermore, since output per agriculturalist
and yield per hectare are low, great improvement in cultivation methods
is a prerequisite to the continuing release of workers from the rural
sector.6 Yet, such improvement is likely to be slowed by the heavy
dependence of modern agriculture upon fossil fuel, destined to remain
in short supply and subject to rising cost.7 In short, the pull
factors in agricultural areas are likely to keep pace with those in
urban sectors, thus limiting rural outmigration to numbers absorbable
in non-rural sectors.8


Capital formation in general can be defined as any use of inputs
today for the purpose of enlarging output tomorrow. -Capital, while
homogeneous in the abstract, is heterogeneous in the concrete, dif-
fering inter alia in period of gestation, in pecificity of application
and in susceptibility to under- or over-use.' Increase in human capital!
is identified largely with increase in formal education, even though
the correlation between the two is not always high.9 Economic develop
ment also is associated with increase in education; it is often assume
that significant growth cannot be achieved until 8 or 10 percent of a
population is enrolled in elementary education, after which increase of
secondary education to 2 or 3 percent of the population is indicated,


and eventually an increase in university enrollment.10 However, while
economic development depends on increase in the educated fraction of
the population, development can proceed more rapidly if investment of
inputs in education is neither excessive, inadequate, nor uneconomi-
cally distributed among types of education.

Data on investment in education in Brazil indicate that far too
little investment has been made in human capital. Over two-fifths of
the population lack schooling completely and many of those who have
had some schooling have not been able to profit from it.11 Investment
in education has been carried out in ways that waste a great deal of
the resources devoted to it, through either under- or over-investment.
In 1958 the number of students who remained in school until the fourth
grade amounted to only 2.5 percent of the number enrolled in the first
grade. Twelve years later this ratio still' was very low, as was the
fraction continuing into secondary school.12, Evidently, much of this
investment in arrested schooling produces little more than functional
illiteracy. Much of the investment in secondary and higher education
is wasted because curricula do not contain enough material to be
useful or productive; many of those admitted to institutions of higher
education are unqualified to carry on productive education at higher
levels.13 It is not surprising, therefore, that in less-developed
countries investment in physical capital often is found more pro-
ductive than investment in education.14

Additional waste results from over-investment in education, even
when the quality of education is good, due to rapidly diminishing re-
turns, given the purpose education is intended to serve. Waste re-
sults from a strong tendency to overeducate individuals for various
types of employment. Such a tendency varies with the level of a
country's income, with the level of education under consideration, and
with the nature of the profession for which a person is being trained.
The practice of training a man to do a boy's job is well exemplified
in the training of doctors and their auxiliaries, lawyers, and upper-
class students in elitist-dominated societies. Sharpson, writing of
the training of medical personnel in underdeveloped countries, ob-
serves that there is "a relentless pressure for standards, salaries,
and costs comparable to those of Western medicine, even if it means
that much of the rural population receives no health care al all." He
also points to "the process of creep whereby auxiliaries get longer
and longer training till they are almost as elegantly trained as pro-
fessionals."15 These practices also are common in the United States,
where about 90 percent of medical-school graduates are trained as
specialists, even though general practitioners can handle 85 to 90
percent of all complaints for which people go to doctors.

It follows that Brazil needs to increase its overall investment
in education and reallocate it carefully so that all who are competent
can acquire enough education to fulfill their allotted functions but
not much more than is needed. A system of refresher or continuing
education may serve to bring individuals abreast of technical or other
changes in job or professional requirements; it can thus facilitate
the acquisition of a skill mix compatible with increases in the de-
veloping country's international-trade potential.16


An economy, or any one of its sectors, has a maximum capacity
under given conditions to produce a stipulated product mix. This
capacity may be subject to increase through recourse to superior
methods and increase in infrastructure, but it has upper limits and
is subject to variation over time. Accordingly, if population and/or
average demand continues to increase and press upon GNP, an economy
will eventually become overloaded. Indeed, some sectors, being less
elastic in terms of supply, will become overloaded before others and
serve as a drag on the further expansion of overall capacity, much as
did an inelastic agriculture in many countries in the past or as a too
slowly growing supply of energy is doing today. Every economy has its
sectors whose limitations it can surmount only through importation.

Every economy is subject to becoming overloaded, with the result
that it loses flexibility. The dangers inherent in economic over-
loading have been temporarily hidden in many countries by such ideolo-
gical, mass-oriented targets as full employment and economic growth.
Let me first illustrate how the advent of economic overload threatens
continuity of activity on the part of a business firm. Continuity of
its activity is contingent upon its operating at less than full capa-
city and thus remaining in possession of a margin of safety to cushion
a temporary surge of demand above normal, or emergence of a supposedly
temporary shrinkage in critical inputs. Assume a community has a
hospital of 1,000 beds, enough to meet normal or average requirements.
It will nonetheless be undersupplied with capacity if demand for beds
fluctuates, say between 950 and 1,050; a hospital of 1,050 beds is
needed to provide a safety margin of 50 beds above normal. If a
complex of 10 such hospitals with 10,000 beds could be set up, subject
to the principle of mass reserves, the margin of safety might be re-
duced from 5 percent to around 1.5 percent, or 150 beds.

Interdependence of many dissimilar firms accentuates the cost of
economic overload. Indeed, vulnerability of continuity in an economy
increases with its degree of interdependence. If 20 activities or 20
firms are interlinked, continuity depends on the presence of an ade-
quate margin of safety at each point of contact or activity, for other-
wise the absence of a margin of safety at any one point can limit acti-
vity at the other 19 points. Vulnerability may be said to increase
also with the multiplication of computer jockeys who believe they can
reduce the size of safety margins by assuming that a shortage at any
one point can be met by drawing on unexhausted margins supposedly
existing elsewhere. There is a limit in practice to the combination
of safety and aggregate reserve minima.

Acting on the assumption that abnormally low margins of safety
will suffice permits economy in the use of resources in the short run,
but at the expense of reduced use of the economic structure and the
labor force over the longer run. Moreover, as safety margins shrink,
as when the gap between actual and potential growth rates is over-
estimated, prices and costs begin to rise, impetus is given to in-
flationary monetary policies, and misuse or non-use of economic re-
sources increases. Evidence of the inadequacy of U.S. safety margins,
now accentuated by energy shortages can be found in the emerging short
age of primary processing capacity.17

Brazilian agriculture could in time become a victim of economic
overload because of the manner in which settlement and exploitation
of agricultural resources with seemingly long-run potential are
carried out. It is true, of course, that about 47 percent of Brazil's
2.1 billion acres are considered arable, about one-tenth of them irri-
gable, and that its major river basins are currently endowed with an
annual 2.7 billion acre-feet of water run-off, more than that of India
and Pakistan combined.18 It is also true that only half the arable
land is under cultivation and that changes of increasing yield per
acre are good.19 At the same time, however, much of Brazil's soil is
very poor, relatively infertile, and subject to fertility exhaustion.20
Given agricultural practices unsuited to soil conservation and to
transfer of resources from the agricultural sector to other sectors,
Brazil's agricultural economy could easily become overloaded.21 Agri-
cultural technology must be adapted to the ecology of a country or a
region, and such adaptation requires inputs from the non-agricultural
sector as well as biological and engineering research suited to over-
come complexities of new varieties. 2 Overloading tropical agroeco-
systems eventually reduces their sustained yield.23 Recourse to in-
itially highly productive grains (e.g., the green revolution) results
in the development and selective spread of strains which, despite
their high-yield capacity, are likely to prove much more vulnerable to
plant disease and pests and much less adaptable to adverse weather
conditions and water shortages. It could therefore give rise to a
replication of the Irish famine.24

Turning to economic overloading in industry, there is too much
capital loaded upon labor, but without adjustments in the labor-
capital ratio, or the product mix suited to minimize unemployment,
particularly with the population of working age growing rapidly and
absorbing resources that might otherwise be used to generate employ-
ment.25 While there is some adjustment of the product mix to the
comparative availability of inputs, such adjustment contributes little
if overcapitalization of some sectors is deliberately offset by under-
capitalization of others. Much more conducive to effective use of re-
sources is the product mix in agriculture described by Nicholls and
Paiva.26 Indeed, economic structures are much more flexible than is
usually assumed, particularly if entrepreneurs are free to take ad-
vantage of disparities between current and prospective marginal pro-
ducts of factors and the current and prospective prices of these
factors,27 especially labor, whose growth continues to depress its
marginal productivity.28


The development plans currently under way have been described by
Professor Barata in terms of Brazil's shortage of physical and human
capital, an excessive and rapidly growing labor force, an underde-
veloped agricultural sector, an excessive dependence on the state, and
an insuficiently outward looking economy not subject to the discipline
of competition, access to learning effects, and exchange-earning power.
Let us turn now to some of the plans for accelerating development.
Population growth rate, probably the major barrier, is being dealt with
only indirectly insofar as fertility decline will be facilitated by

urbanization, increase in education, entry of women into the labor
force, and provision of security for old age.

While emphasis upon medium-level and technical education is excel-
lent, especially if industry can play an important role, emphasis upon
higher education can be excessive unless it is properly oriented to
industrial and agricultural needs and restricted to individuals with
real potential. Brazil's capital-need/savings ratio is too high to
permit waste in the educational structure. Training in business ad-
ministration is essential to carrying out industrial programs.

The planned rate of geo-economic concentration seems too high and
hence too costly, especially since the capital-output ratio in such
undertakings is very high. This is particularly so, given the de-
presion of the overall capital-labor ratio by rapid population growth
and lack of sufficient attention to adverse ecological effects rising
from the Trans-Amazonian Highway, if not carefully executed and with
due attention to long-term environmental impact. The civil con-
struction program seems to absorb capital that might be put to much
more productive use in industry and agriculture, particularly if con-
struction is largely carried out by government agencies. Employment
in services also seems to be unduly increased relative to agriculture
and industry.

There does not appear to be adequate incentive and feedback built
into the National Development Program, nor sufficient attention to the
costs that will be imposed on the economy. Land redistribution does
not function well unless its beneficiaries know how to farm and have
sufficient incentive to do so. Rights similar to pension rights lose
much of their value through inflation. Training the unemployed may
not assure jobs to those receiving the training unless employers can
afford to hire them at wages commensurate with their performance.
Employers need to play a major role in employment programs, since pro-
ductive use of job-seekers turns largely on what job-makers can do;
attempts by the state to play a major role generally result in unpro-
ductive use of labor. Employers should have a better notion of the
prospective demand elasticities of various products.

Inasmuch as labor and land are in superabundant supply and job-
makers or entrepreneurs in short supply, it appears that the major
focus of plans for increasing employment must lie with the entrepre-
neurial class. Entrepreneurs, if free of constrictive governmental
controls, can modify capital-labor ratios in ways that economize on
capital and hence increase the number of jobs. An appropriate example
is the use of shifts suited to keep productive facilities in use most
of the 168 hours contained in a week. Illustrative of the degree to
which the operative capital-labor ratio can be reduced is the recent
experience of Taiwan and Korea, or even the earlier experience of

Entrepreneurs can contribute greatly to the development of human
skills by developing new demands for products and hence for labor,
which can be trained on the job so it can produce these products. One
must not overestimate, however, as do many who emphasize the importance
of human capital, the degree to which causation runs from the presence


of skills. Finally, stress should be placed on marketing needs in
order to increase demand for labor indirectly through improvement of
transportation and market enlargement.


1. Donald B. Keesing, "Small Population as a Political Handicap to
National Development," Political Science Quarterly (Vol. 84, No.
1, March, 1969), pp. 50-60; H. B. Chenery and Lance Taylor,
"Development Patterns: Among Countries and Over Time," Review of
Economics and Statistics (Vol. 50, No. 4, November, 1968), pp.
391-416; and H. B. Chenery, "Growth and Structural Change,"
Finance and Development (Vol. 8, No. 3, September, 1971), pp. 16-

2. Simon Kuznets, Capital in the American Economy (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1961), Chapter 7, especially pp. 327-

3. United Nations, Growth of the World's Urban and Rural Population,
1920-2000 (New York: 1969), pp. 99, 101, and 105.

4. N. H. Leff, "Tropical Trade and Development in the Nineteenth
Century: The Brazilian Experience," Journal of Political Economy
(Vol. 81, No. 3, May-June, 1973), pp. 678-96; Celso Furtado,
Obstacles to Development in Latin America (Garden City, New Jersey:
Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1970); N. H. Leff, "Export Stagnation
and Autarkic Development in Brazil, 1947-1962," Quarterly Journal
of Economics (Vol. 81, No. 2, May, 1967), pp. 286-301; A. 0.
Hirschman, "The Political Economy of Import-Substituting Industri-
alization in Latin America," Quarterly Journal of Economics (Vol.
82, No. 1, February, 1968), pp. 1-32; and Werner Baer, "The
Brazilian Boom 1968-72: An Explanation and Interpretation," World
Development (Vol. 1, No. 8, August, 1973), pp. 1-16. Gross
Domestic Product per capital rose 4 percent per year in 1956-1962,
1.3 percent in 1962-1967, and 6.5 percent in 1968-1972.

5. Allan Abouchar, "Inflation and Transportation Policy in Brazil,"
Economic Development and Cultural Change (Vol. 18, No. 1, Part 1,
October, 1969), pp. 92-109.

6. Howard S. Ellis (ed.), The Economy of Brazil (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1969), Chapter 4; Peter T. Knight, Brazilian
Agricultural Technology and Trade (New York: Praeger Publishers,
1971); George E. Schuh, The Agricultural Development of Brazil
(New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970); Werner Baer, Industrial-
ization and Economic Development in Brazil (Homewood, Illinois:

Irwin, 1965), Chapter 7; and W. H. Nicholls and R. M. Paiva,
Ninety-Nine Fazendas: The Structure and Productivity of Brazilian
Agriculture, 1963 (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, forth-

7. David Pimental et al., "Food Production and the Energy Crisis,"
Science (No. 182, November 2, 1973), pp. 443-9.

8. R. J. Ward, "Absorbing More Labor in LDC Agriculture," Economic
Development and Cultural Change (Vol. 17, No. 2, January, 1969),
pp. 178-88.

9. Alphonse A. Gintzburger, "Psychoanalysis of a Case of Stagnation,"
Economic Development and Cultural Change (Vol. 21, No. 2, January,
1973), pp. 227-46.

10. A. L. Peaslee, "Education's Role in Development," Economic Develop-
ment and Cultural Change (Vol. 17, No. 3, April, 1969), pp. 293-318.

11. H. S. Ellis, "How Culture Shapes Economic Growth," Arizona Review
(Vol. 20, No. 1, January, 1971), pp. 1-9; Werner Baer, Industri-
alization (op. cit.), pp. 187-90; E. G. Schuh (op. cit.), Chapters
5-6; H. S. Ellis (ed.), The Economy (op. cit.), pp. 33-4, 39-40,
and 215-6; UNESCO, Statistical Yearbook 1971 (Paris: 1972); and
United Nations, Demographic Yearbook 1971 (New York: 1972).

12. H. S. Ellis, "How Culture," (o2. cit.).

13. H. S. Ellis, "How Culture," (op. cit.).

14. A. C. Harbarger, "Investment in Men versus Investment in Machines:
The Case of India," in C. A. Anderson and M. J. Bowman (eds.),
Education and Economic Development (Chicago: Aldine Publications
Company, 1965), Chapter 2; E. E. Hagen and Oli Hawrylshyn, "Analy-
sis of World Income and Growth, 1955-1965," Economic Development
and Cultural Change (Vol. 18, No. 1, Part 2, October, 1969),
pp. 1-96; and Sherman Robinson, "Sources of Growth in Less De-
veloped Countries: A Cross-Section Study," quarterly Journal of
Economics (Vol. 85, No. 3, August, 1971), pp. 391-408.

15. H. J. Sharpston, "Health and Development," Journal of Development
Studies (Vol. 9, No. 3, April, 1973), pp. 458-9.

16. D. B. Keesing, "Different Countries' Labor Skill Coefficients and
the Skill Intensity of International Trade Flows," Journal of Inter-
national Economics (Vol. 1, No. 4, 1971), pp. 443-52).

17. Saul Nelson, "The Looming Shortage of Primary Processing Capacity,"
Challenge (Vol. 16, No. 6, January-February, 1974), pp. 45-8.

18. President's Science Advisory Committee, The World Food Problem
(Washington, D.C.: Vol. 2, 1967), p. 447.

19. P. T. Knight (o2. cit.), Chapters 4-6 and E. G. Schuh (or. cit.),
Chapters 4-5.

20. E. G. Schuh (op. cit.), pp. 124-9; Werner Baer, Industrialization
(op. cit.), pp. 150-72; H. S. Ellis (ed.), The Economy (op. cit.)
pp. 104-29; and P. T. Knight (op. cit.), Chapter 5.

21. J. W. Mellor, "Accelerated Growth in Agricultural Production and
the Intersectoral Transfer of Resources," Economic Development
and Cultural Change (Vol. 22, No. 1, October, 1973), pp. 1-16 and
W. H. Nicholls and R. M. Paiva (o2. cit.).

22. G. S. Tolley, ."Mellor on Agricultural Development," Economic De-
velopment and Cultural Change (Vol. 17, No. 2, January, 1969),
pp. 254-61 and Y. Hayami and V. W. Ruttan, Agricultural Develop-
ment: An International Perspective (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
Press, 1971).

23. Daniel H. Janzen, "Tropical Agroecosystems," Science (No. 182,
December 21, 1973), pp. 1218-9; C. W. Clark, "The Economics of
Overexploitation," Science (No. 181, August 17, 1973), pp. 630-4;
A. G6mez-Pompa et al., "The Tropical Rain Forest: A Nonrenewable
Resource," Science (No. 177, September 1, 1962), pp. 762-5; and
E. P. Odum, "The Strategy of Economic Development," Science (No.
164, April 18, 1964), pp. 262-70.

24. Tom Alexander, "Ominous Changes in the World's Weather," Fortune
(No. 2, February, 1974), pp. 90 ff. and L. A. Mayer, "We Can't
Take Food for Granted Anymore," Fortune (No. 2, February, 1974),
pp. 85 ff.

25. Celso Furtado (op. cit.), p. 135.

26. W. H. Nicholls and R. M. Paiva (op. cit.).

27. Gustav Ranis (ed.), Government and Economic Development (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1971).

28. G. C. Zaidan, "Population Growth and Economic Development,"
Finance and Development (Vol. 6, No. 1, March, 1969), pp. 2-9.

I l l


Jorge E. Domnnguez
Secretaria del Trabajo y Previsi6n Social
Mexico, D.F., Mexico

El objetivo de esta ponencia consiste en formular planteamientos
que coadyuven al anflisis de la transformaci6n que actualmente ex-
perimentan en diversos pauses en vias de desarrollo los Ministerios
del Trabajo o sus organismos hom6logos. En particular, habri de exa-
minarse las caracteristicas del cambio, bajo el enfoque de los reque-
rimientos de adaptaci6n que les plantea a estos organismos su parti-
cipaci6n en la instrumentaci6n de una nueva estrategia de desarrollo,
cuya preocupaci6n fundamental y mayor desaflo consiste en elevar la
political de empleo a la categoria de primer prioridad national.

Dada la naturaleza del tema, muchas de las formulaciones sub-
siguientes adoptan, necesariamente, el cardcter de juicios de valor
con un alto contenido politico, siendo por lo tanto susceptibles de un
tratamiento poldmico. Fundamentalmente, estos juicios configuran el
esquema de la nueva political y estrategia de desarrollo, reflejando
la opci6n por un determinado modelo en el que, a "contrario sensu" de
los preexistentes, el factor trabajo y los recursos humans consti-
tuyen los elements mis relevantes de su estructura y mecanica opera-

La reorientaci6n del process de desarrollo no constitute, sin
embargo, una decision exclusivamente political. En gran media se de-
riva de imperatives econ6micos y, sobre todo, de la emergencia de pre-
siones sociales en nuestros pauses, cuya gravedad require atenci6n
inmediata. Los factors demogrificos se encuentran fuertemente aso-
ciados a la adopci6n de la nueva estrategia. Dentro de este marco de
referencia, la political de empleo deviene en una political omnicompren-
siva que se convierte en el eje de la political national de desarrollo.
El crecimiento econ6mico alcanzado en los Gltimos lustros por muchos
pauses del Tercer Mundo se caracteriza por su desequilibrio. El mode-
lo de expansion adoptado a partir de la postguerra, si bien gener6 un
active process de industrializaci6n y de modernizacidn en las zonas
urbanas, acumul6 rezagos sociales, principalmente en material de
vivienda, educaci6n y empleo. Por otra parte, la political de susti-
tuci6n de importaciones signific6 la aceptaci6n de nuevas formas de
dependencia por la via de patrons imitativos de consume y de absor-
ci6n tecnol6gica. El crecimiento industrial se logr6 en detrimento de


inversiones en el sector primario, dirigidndose mhs hacia el incre-
mento del ahorro y de la capitalizaci6n fisica que hacia el mejora-
miento de la productividad y la absorci6n de mano de obra. Ello pro-
voc6 acusados desequilibrios estructurales entire la ciudad y el campo,
polarizandose los grupos sociales por la desigual distribuci6n del in-
greso entire sectors econ6micos y entire regions geogrificas.

El crecimiento econ6mico producido en los Gltimos aios constitute
evidencia irrefutable. No obstante, el factor human aGn se mantiene
en condiciones de una grave marginalidad social. La poblaci6n econ6-
micamente active ha disminuido en tnrminos relatives y la velocidad de
su incremento muestra un dramitico y peligroso rezago ante el creci-
miento demogrdfico. En Mixico s6lo una cuarta parte de la poblaci6n
mantiene a mis de 50 millones de habitantes. Hace 20 aios, cuando el
pals contaba con poco mas de 20 millones de habitantes, 32 de cada 100
mexicanos se encontraban incorporados a la vida econ6micamente active.
Hoy, con una poblaci6n superior al double de hace dos decadas, existe
evidencias estadisticas de que, a pesar de la innegable expansion eco-
n6mica experimentada, sSlo 27 de cada 100 se constituyen en mexicanos
econ6micamente activos. Es previsible que, de no corregirse estas ten-
dencias, hacia fin de siglo el desarrollo national gravitarg sobre
menos de la quinta parte de la poblaci6n.

El hecho mls alarmante es que la economic mexicana estg perdiendo
su capacidad de absorci6n de fuerza de trabajo. El desempleo se ha
convertido, pues, en el problema prioritario del desarrollo national.
Si de manera excesivamente sintdtica y esquematica pretendiera proyec-
tarse una imagen de los deficits sociales en Mexico, habria que men-
cionar que se require crear mis de 600,000 empleos cada aio; que el
fen6meno del desempleo y del subempleo afectan, conjuntamente, a mas
de 40 por ciento de la fuerza de trabajo; que el indice de analfabe-
tismo es aGn superior al 20 por ciento; que la poblaci6n al margen de
los beneficios de la medicine institutional es afn mayor que 40 por
ciento del total; que se estima existe un deficit en el orden de 3 mi-
llones y medio de viviendas; que la participaci6n de los trabajadores
en el consume national equivale apenas a 35 por ciento del total y que
a pesar de los esfuerzos del gobierno y los factors productivos, mis
de 40 por ciento de la poblaci6n asalariada no se encuentra protegida
por el salario minimo.

jCugles son, en suma, los factors que han determinado en los
Gltimos 30 aios el crecimiento econ6mico de M6xico? Los studios de-
sarrollados por la Comisi6n Nacional Tripartita revelan que el aumento
del product national durante los Gltimos 15 afios se logr6 parcialmente
debido al desarrollo de actividades de mis alta productividad. Dicha
productividad se obtuvo especialmente en sectors econ6micos y con t&c-
nicas productivas que ahorran empleo. La Comisi6n ha concluido que el
crecimiento de la economla national durante los Gltimos 30 aios puede
atribuirse, en terminos aproximados a 46 por ciento, al incremento del
volume del capital, en 32 por ciento a la absorci6n del trabajo y s6lo
en 22 por ciento al incremento de la productividad. Tal situaci6n con-
trasta radicalmente con la de pauses mls desarrollados, que durante
ese mismo lapso fueron deudores de su crecimiento entire 50 y 70 por
ciento al incremento general de la productividad.

Se enfrenta el pais, pues, a una disyuntiva fundamental: ISerg
el camino a seguir en la promoci6n del desarrollo exclusive o primor-
dialmente la capitalizaci6n fisica, que conducirg, quizes irreversi-
blemente, a un esquema de desarrollo "por concentraci6n del ingreso",
o nuestro modelo de desenvolvimiento consistirg en destinar la mayor
parte de la riqueza social a la retribuci6n del factor trabajo, al
bienestar y al fomento de los recursos humans?

Todos los rezagos por insuficiencia de desarrollo social se co-
nectan y se refieren al fen6meno mas alarmante de todos, es decir, el
deficit de empleo. Por consiguiente, en MExico se ha establecido
consenso de que en el campo laboral convergen los problems fundamen-
tales y las posibilidades mas importantes del desarrollo, ya que la
capacidad de generaci6n de ocupaci6n productive y adecuadamente remu-
nerada refleja el nivel y la madurez reales del crecimiento y del
bienestar social.

El criterio adecuado para las condiciones de Mexico tiene que
ser, definitivamente, el de un desarrollo tecnol6gico que propicie al
maximo el aprovechamiento de la energia y el talent humans, los
cuales constituyen los mas preciados y vastos recursos disponibles.
En principio, los process tecnol6gicos que ha disefado la inteligen-
cia del hombre pueden operar a voluntad, trabajando de hecho en funci6n
de dos alternatives u objetivos suficientemente claros. Uno de ellos
consist en la maximizaci6n de las utilidades del capital fisico; el
otro lo constitute un mayor y mgs adecuado aprovechamiento de los re-
cursos disponibles, especialmente de los recursos mas abundantes. La
primera opci6n, aun cuando tgcnicamente alcance altos niveles de so-
fisticaci6n y de perfecci6n tgcnica, nunca dejar5 de ser, en Gltima
instancia, un modelo tecnol6gico propio de economias de desperdicio.
La segunda alternative constitute un criterio para el desarrollo tec-
nol6gico que result de circunstancias y de objetivos sociales clara-
mente definidos.

Dentro del marco general de la nueva estrategia de desarrollo en
M6xico se asienta una profunda revaloraci6n de los recursos humans.
En el nuevo esquema se reconoce explfcitamente la importancia del fac-
tor human y del trabajo como agents del desarrollo, realizfndose una
mGltiple reconsideraci6n de su significado en tErminos econ6micos,
tecnol6gicos, politicos y sociales. La connotaci6n de "recurso" pre-
supone la necesidad y la posibilidad de mejorarse, desarrollarse y
transformarse que posee el factor human. Econ6micamente, tambiEn pone
en evidencia el enorme valor potential de la poblaci6n de un pais como
agent fundamental para su desarrollo.

Socialmente, el tgrmino recursos humans, dentro de la teoria y
la nueva estrategia de desarrollo, significa la aceptaci6n de reivin-
dicaciones largamente diferidas. Constituye una forma de expresar la
concepci6n del desarrollo en que confluyen las mas fundamentals aspi-
raciones del derecho social con los objetivos de la producci6n. Impli-
ca la necesidad y el imperative de asegurar a cada individuo los ele-
mentos materials, sociales y culturales indispensables para su subsis-
tencia y pleno desenvolvimiento como miembro de la comunidad. Expresa,
en fin, el reconocimiento de que el hombre, el factor human, es el
objeto Gltimo y el primer agent del progress.

Politicamente, dicho concept presupone una mayor capacidad por
parte del individuo para participar activamente en las decisions que
afectan su organizaci6n bajo un estado de derecho como hombres, ciuda-
danos, productores y consumidores. Implica la necesidad de habilitar
a la poblaci6n para tal participaci6n, desde el ambito de la informa-
ci6n hasta el de la acci6n political. Presupone un esfuerzo sistemg-
tico por hacer de la ciudadanfa no un simple accident geogrffico,
sino un acto reflejo de conciencia consecuente con una forma de vida
socialmente superior.

Tecnologicamente, la noci6n recursos humans se refiere al factor
productive que, al mismo tiempo que funge como insumo bajo la forma
de energia de transformaci6n, dirige, organize y control todo el pro-
ceso. Constituye, entonces, un reconocimiento explicito del caracter
esencial del factor trabajo para la producci6n y reconoce su existencia
y heterogeneidad, por lo menos bajo cuatro formas mGltiples: el tra-
bajo de ejecutaci6n direct, el de organizaci6n, el de direcci6n y con-
ducci6n y el trabajo de invenci6n o innovaci6n, reivindicando asi el
papel del factor human como agent creador, en Gltima instancia, de
toda la riqueza generada y revalorizando tambign el caracter eminente-
mente social del trabajo.

Constituye, en suma, el termino recursos humans una confluencia
de los diversos aportes de la economfa, la sociologia, la political, el
derecho y la tecnologia a la concepci6n modern del desarrollo, abrien-
do nuevas vias hacia su consecuci6n. Revela y justifica la raz6n de
la nueva orientaci6n del process y la estrategia del desarrollo en
Mexico, configurando las bases de una nueva political econ6mica: la
del desarrollo compartido y la del bienestar social. Aunque los in-
tentos de definici6n son siempre riesgosos, a veces contraproducentes
y en ocasiones inGtiles, en general son mas negatives las consecuen-
cias de la carencia de esquemas convencionales de referencia sobre
estos concepts a los que segin las circunstancias se les pueda argiir
contenidos diferentes.

En Mexico, as! como en otros pauses latinoamericanos, la politics
de empleo no s6lo estg avocada a la promoci6n del miximo nivel de
empleo factible, sino que, trascendiendo un enfoque excesivamente
simplista y elementalmente cuantitativo, pretend, ademas del pleno
empleo, la obtenci6n de niveles de ocupaci6n realmente productivos y
adecuadamente remunerados. Asimismo, la political de empleo procura
establecer la distribuci6n apropiada en terminos geogrificos y secto-
riales de mas oportunidades de trabajo, la correct satisfacci6n en
terminos de modalidades y niveles de calificaci6n de los requerimientos
de empleo para la expansion econ6mica y el desarrollo social, el mejo-
ramiento de la calidad del trabajo y de las condiciones en que Este se
desarrolla y el establecimiento de un equilibrio econ6mico, social y
tecnol6gico adecuado entire la oferta y la demand de ocupaci6n.

Se responsabiliza, ademas, de la adaptaci6n de la fuerza de tra-
bajo y del acervo intellectual a los cambios tecnol6gicos e institucio-
nales que conlleva el modelo de desarrollo que se ha elegido; se preo-
cupa de la seguridad y de la integridad fisica y siquica de los traba-
jadores y sus families; determine los pargmetros en que, conforme a
las normas constitucionales y legales, debe establecerse en terminos

operatives el equilibrio de los factors productivos y de la justicia
social, cuyo origen se encuentra en las relaciones laborales; tutela
y protege los derechos individuals y sociales de los trabajadores,
en tanto y cuanto estos son agents de producci6n, sujetos de un dere-
cho social, protegiendo as! la remuneraci6n al factor trabajo trasla-
dada al 5mbito del consume familiar; incluye dentro de sus mas altas
prioridades la elevaci6n de la productividad y su compatibilizaci6n
con los niveles de empleo y, finalmente, incorpora a sus preocupaciones
el fortalecimiento del desarrollo de los cuadros y recursos de los or-
ganismos a los que compete la aplicacion de esta political, particular-
mente a los propios Ministerios del Trabajo.

As! entendida la political de empleo, quizfs esbozada en un esquema
excesivamente ambicioso, constitute el marco fundamental de referencia
congruente con la gran relevancia que, dentro de la nueva estrategia de
desarrollo, debe atribuirse al fen6meno laboral. Bajo tales circuns-
tancias, la political de empleo constitute la base de sustento para
realizar una autentica planificaci6n del desarrollo de los recursos

La instrumentaci6n de una political de empleo en las condiciones en
que vive actualmente el pais como consecuencia de su dingmica internal
y de la coyuntura international, especialmente en cuanto se refiere a
la crisis inflacionaria de las economias occidentales, plantea un ver-
dadero reto a los conductores del gobierno. El problema de una consi-
derable dependencia tecnol6gica del exterior reduce sensiblemente las
posibilidades de usos opcionales de recursos productivos. Los dilemas
a que se enfrenta el desarrollo consistent en encontrar los mecanismos
para compatibilizar, en formulas operatives de conjunto, la promoci6n
del empleo, el control de la inversi6n, la elevaci6n de la producti-
vidad, el incremento de la competitividad en mercados exteriores, la
utilizaci6n de tecnologias generadoras de nuevas fuentes de trabajo,
el mantenimiento y la aceleraci6n de los process de modernizaci6n
productive y la ampliaci6n r~pida del mercado interno. Es por todo
ello que, con today certidumbre, las autoridades mexicanas consideran
que enfrentar el problema del desempleo equivale a encarar, de hecho,
el reto global del desarrollo.

Debe enfatizarse que una political de empleo exige el estableci-
miento de politicas demogrdfica, de tecnologia, de distribuci6n del
ingreso y del sistema educativo. La promoci6n del empleo no depend
de una relaci6n simplista con los niveles de inversion. Antes bien,
las posibilidades de ocupaci6n dependent, ademis, de otras condicio-
nantes y variables tales como la magnitude y velocidad del incremento
de la poblaci6n, la dotaci6n y capacidad de absorci6n de capital, el
volume y caracteristicas de los recursos humans productivos, la
amplitud y estructura del mercado interno y los pargmetros del desa-
rrollo tecnol6gico.

Frente a la situaci6n en que se ha desenvuelto el process del de-
sarrollo, icuiles ban sido las caracteristicas mns relevantes de los
Ministerios del Trabajo en America Latina? Una interesante investiga-
ci6n de la Organizaci6n Internacional del Trabajo, que actualmente
realize un conciso diagn6stico de los Ministerios del Trabajo en
Latinoamnrica, pone en evidencia sus problems principles: "No cabe

duda de que las administraciones del trabajo de America Latina difieren
considerablemente entire si. Sin embargo, es possible afirmar que, en
general, el tipo de tareas tradicionales que realizan los Ministerios
del Trabajo de la region ha impedido que estos ocupen, en la'organiza-
ci6n gubernamental, el puesto que les correspond en la promoci6n de
la political social. Estos, a causa de la situaci6n socioecon6mica gene-
ral y de la deficiencia de los sistemas nacionales de relaciones de
trabajo, as! como de los defects que resultan de una estructura y un
funcionamiento interno inadecuado, se han debido dedicar de manera ab-
sorbente a un solo aspect de la realidad social: la soluci6n de los

Se ha descuidado en muchos casos tareas importantes como la formu-
laci6n de una political national de relaciones laborales capaz de pre-
venir el surgimiento de tales conflicts; el desarrollo de su capacidad
tecnica para contribuir a la formulaci6n de la political econ6mica y so-
cial con base a un studio sistematico de los problems laborales, a la
adecuaci6n de la legislaci6n laboral, a los requerimientos de la situa-
ci6n socioecon6mica general, a la promoci6n de la negociaci6n colec-
tiva y a la instituci6n de servicios de promoci6n, de educaci6n y de
asesoramiento para las organizaciones profesionales; la formulaci6n de
una political national de salaries y el fortalecimiento de la formula-
ci6n professional y la coordinaci6n eficaz con los servicios tecnicos de
otros ministerios u organizaciones gubernamentales que juegan un papel
important en la implementaci6n de political laboral.

Otra misi6n de studio de la Organizaci6n Internacional del Tra-
bajo ha estimado que el personal existence en las administraciones del
trabajo latinoamericanas se distribuye de la siguiente forma: la alta
administraci6n, 3.3 por ciento; los servicios de mercado de empleo, de
3 a 4 por ciento; los servicios de seguridad e higiene, de 6 a 7 por
ciento y la administraci6n del trabajo en general, especialmente en lo
que concierne a la soluci6n de conflicts laborales, de 65 a 75 por
ciento. La gran proporci6n de funcionarios asignados a esta Gltima
tarea comprende tanto a los que prestan sus servicios en la inspection
del trabajo como a aqullos cuya labor especifica consiste en inter-
venir en los conflicts laborales.

La proporci6n de profesionales con grado universitario frente al
personal que ha ingresado con ensefianza secundaria o un nivel de edu-
caci6n inferior fue estimada en cerca de 50 por ciento para los puestos
a niveles superior y medio, siendo los abogados el grupo mayoritario.
Le sigue en importancia numerica el grupo de administradores con atri-
buciones generals, cuyos antecedentes educativos resultan dificiles
de apreciar. Una categoria professional bien definida, aunque consti-
tuye solamente 5 por ciento de los puestos a niveles superior y medio,
son los medicos, seguidos por unos pocos ingenieros, estadigrafos y
economists, que recign comienzan a ser captados por los Ministerios
del Trabajo. Las especialidades requeridas para el studio del mer-
cado de empleo, la orientaci6n professional y otros aspects tecnicos
de la inspecci6n del trabajo rara vez se hallan representados.

En nuestros pauses, los Ministerios del Trabajo han concentrado
su atenci6n en la bGsqueda del equilibrio de los factors productivos.
Disponen generalmente de un area de funciones tradicionales que se

refiere principalmente al encauzamiento de las relaciones obrero-
patronales y a la vigilancia del cumplimiento de las normas de tra-
bajo, de higiene y de seguridad. El circunscribir su actividad al
ejercicio de estas funciones tradicionales ha obligado a dichos minis-
terios a comportarse como meras instancias supervisors, por lo que
sus actividades han sido restringidas a la sanci6n de la legislaci6n
laboral y a la vigilancia de su observancia por las parties respectivas.
Aceptada una norma laboral, su intervenci6n no se produce sino hasta
que lo require la infracci6n de las normas del trabajo.

La gran mayoria de los recursos con que cuentan los Ministerios
del Trabajo se encuentran comprometidos en la inspecci6n laboral y en
las tareas de conciliaci6n y contratacion colectiva, no siendo siempre
suficientes para tender estas dos funciones. Los presupuestos de los
Ministerios del Trabajo de los pauses latinoamericanos son extremada-
mente reducidos. En 1970, colectivamente, no representaban ni el uno
por ciento del presupuesto total de los gobiernos.

Por otra part, a pesar de la escasez de recursos financiers con
que cuentan los Ministerios del Trabajo en Latinoamerica, la Tercera
Reunion de la Comisi6n Consultiva Interamericana de la Organizaci6n
International del Trabajo, celebrada en San Jose de Costa Rica en
octubre de 1972, recomendaba a estas instituciones promover una amplia
conciencia acerca de la importancia del progress y desarrollo sociales
como finalidad necesaria y suficiente del desarrollo econ6mico; lograr
que se admit la importancia de la political social en la planifica-
ci6n del desarrollo; conseguir que los Ministerios del Trabajo cuenten
con los servicios de informacion, documentaci6n y studios tgcnicos
que les permitan participar en el process de planificaci6n; cumplir
con la obligaci6n constant que tienen los Ministerios del Trabajo de
elevar el grado de conciencia social en las demis ramas de la admins-
traci6n; crear, capacitar y perfeccionar servicios sectoriales de pla-
nificaci6n, de estadisticas laborales, de recursos humans y de ser-
vicio de empleo y fortalecer los cuerpos de asesoramiento tecnico, uti-
lizando en su seno las modernas tecnicas de elaboraci6n de politicas,
de administraci6n de personal y de control de gesti6n. La Comision
tambign estim6 necesario intensificar los programs practices de capa-
citaci6n y reforzar la asistencia t6cnica a las estructuras ministe-
riales responsables de la ejecuci6n y coordinaci6n de las political
de empleo, de la promoci6n de recursos humans, de la formaci6n profe-
sional, de los servicios de informaci6n del mercado de empleo, de los
servicios de fijaci6n y anglisis de remuneraciones y de los servicios
encargados de studios y encuestas sobre niveles y condiciones de vida
de los trabajadores.

El sentido de modernizaci6n que de estas recomendaciones se deri-
va consiste en dotar a los Ministerios del Trabajo de suficientes re-
cursos humans, financieros y materials; actualizar su organizaci6n
y procedimientos; fortalecer sus funciones y particularmente capaci-
tarlos para tratar los problems del mundo laboral con un enfoque plu-
ridisciplinario, compatible con la complejidad de los problems que
son objeto de su preocupaci6n.

Un punto de especial interns en la reunion de Costa Rica fue la
participaci6n active de las organizaciones de empleadores y

trabajadores en la formulaci6n e implementaci6n de la political laboral
y social. La Comisi6n express unanimemente su fe en el tripartismo
como medio para identificar y definir mejor los objetivos del desa-
rrollo econ6mico y social. Result imprescindible, pues, intensificar
la participaci6n y las formas de consult entire trabajadores, emplea-
dores, organismos gubernamentales y demis instituciones. De ello se
desprende tambiEn que el fortalecimiento de.las asociaciones de tra-
bajadores y empleadores debe ir acompafado por una vigorizaci6n para-
lela de las funciones y atribuciones de los Ministerios del Trabajo
en el sector social.

Siguiendo los lineamientos de la estrategia ya descrita, la Secre-
taria del Trabajo y Previsi6n Social de Mexico ha condensado las prio-
ridades de la political laboral en la formulaci6n de un program de tra-
bajo que contiene los siguientes rubros:

1. Cumplimiento de las normas tutelares del trabajo.

2. Mejoramiento y desarrollo de la contrataci6n colectiva y de los
convenios obligatorios.

3. Atenci6n a los problems de las asociaciones profesionales.

4. Coordinaci6n con las autoridades laborales locales y descentra-
lizacion de las funciones de la Secretaria.

5. Coordinaci6n de los programs nacionales de bienestar social.

6. Coordinaci6n de la political de empleo y fortalecimiento de las
bolsas de trabajo.

7. Capacitaci6n de los recursos humans productivos e incremento de
la productividad.

8. Mejorfa de los sistemas nacionales de fijaci6n de salaries y
reparto de utilidades.

9. Protecci6n de las condiciones de vida y consume de los trabaja-

10. Protecci6n a la salud de los trabajadores y mejoramiento del
medio laboral.

11. Promoci6n de actividades culturales, sociales, deportivas y de
integraci6n familiar de los trabajadores.

12. Program de desconcentraci6n de funciones.

13. Fortalecimiento tecnico y reform administrative de la Secre-

14. Fortalecimiento del process de consultas con los factors de la
producci6n a travys de la Comisi6n Nacional Tripartita.

15. Ampliaci6n de la cooperaci6n y las relaciones internacionales.

16. Ampliacion de los sistemas de difusi6n e informaci6n.

La nueva estrategia de desarrollo, la political laboral y el pro-
grama de trabajo que de ella se deriva implican, evidentemente, la
necesidad de realizar cambios significativos. El primer cambio que
se ha manifestado consiste en la forma de conducci6n de los asuntos
pGblicos del gobierno mexicano. El present regimen inaugur6, desde
el inicio de su administraci6n, una nueva political de diglogo, parti-
cipaci6n y corresponsabilidad. El prop6sito de dicha political consiste
en instaurar paulatinamente el cambio por consenso, cambio cuya reali-
zaci6n no altere la paz social y garantice un acuerdo basico en torno
a los objetivos por alcanzar. Esta political tiene quizgs su expresi6n
mas important en el establecimiento de la Comisi6n Nacional Tripartita
creada con el fin de estudiar diversas posibilidades de soluci6n a los
problems nacionales por parte de los representantes de los factors
productivos y del gobierno.

La Comisi6n, compuesta por 10 representantes de los trabajadores,
10 de los empresarios y 5 del gobierno, funge como un cuerpo consul-
tivo de la Presidencia en la orientaci6n de la political de desarrollo
econ6mico y social. Su agenda bMsica contempla el tratamiento de im-
portantes problems nacionales, tales como inversiones para el empleo
de mano de obra, productividad, descentralizaci6n de la industrial,
desempleo, capacitaci6n de recursos humans, exportaciones, carestia
de la vida, vivienda popular y contaminaci6n ambiental.


Las modificaciones que sufren actualmente en su estructura los
Ministerios del Trabajo de los pauses del Tercer Mundo difieren bxsi-
camente de la posici6n de estas entidades en pauses mas industriali-
zados. En los pauses en vlas de desarrollo se ha manifestado recien-
temente la necesidad de que los Ministerios del Trabajo promuevan no
s6lo las politicas laborales tradicionales, sino ademfs alienten la
creaci6n y el fortalecimiento de las infraestructuras institucionales
y ticnicas que hagan possible la instrumentaci6n de dichas political.

En los pauses industrializados el desarrollo de muchas de esas
instituciones ha ocurrido paralelamente al de su expansion econ6mica,
de tal suerte que, al merger en sus respectivos ambitos, los Minis-
terios del Trabajo vigilaron desde su comienzo el adecuado funciona-
miento y la mejor adaptaci6n de la infraestructura laboral preexis-
tente. El fen6meno de ampliaci6n del empleo tambign parece haber sido
correlativo a la acelerada expansion industrial en estos pauses. Los
problems del desempleo abierto han constituido coyunturas que, si en
ocasiones han sido graves, su aparici6n no parece peri6dica ni siste-
mitica. En cambio, el problema del desempleo friccional si ha consti-
tuido una important preocupaci6n en estas economias, especialmente
por las manifestaciones politicas que tal fen6meno conlleva, manifes-
taciones que son ffcilmente comprensibles si se toma en cuenta que pro-
ceden de estratos de la poblaci6n econ6micamente active que, en condi-
clones normales, se encuentra sistemnticamente ocupada y que, por
efecto de la coyuntura, caen rfpida aunque transitoriamente en la si-
tuaciSn de cesantia.


La ausencia, o bien el raquitismo, de las instituciones economi-
cas, sociales, juridicas, tecnicas, administrativas y aun politicas
que son propias de sistemas laborales avanzados explica la fragilidad
de nuestras politicas de empleo y el escaso desarrollo de nuestros re-
cursos humans. De ahi la gran importancia que las autoridades de las
regions perifericas y los centros industriales comienzan a conceder
al fortalecimiento y a la reestructuraci6n de los Ministerios del Tra-
bajo, en tanto y cuanto result de su competencia la promoci6n del
empleo, del desarrollo de los recursos humans y del bienestar social.

En sintesis, la funci6n fundamental de los Ministerios del Tra-
bajo en pauses menos desarrollados reside en fungir como instancias
o agents de cambio, de promoci6n y de fortalecimiento de las institu-
ciones, las pollticas, las estrategias y los programs que hagan fac-
tible la aceleraci6n del desarrollo social a trav6s del fen6meno la-
boral y del empleo, para acceder, como sociedad unitaria, al estado
del bienestar. Si intentara resumirse en una sola conclusion la pro-
blemntica examinada, la mas evidence seria que el peso del desarrollo
de la naci6n gravita sobre una cuarta parte de su poblaci6n. Conducir
al pais en tales circunstancias hacia un estado superior de desenvol-
vimiento es, sin duda, el mayor reto que enfrenta el pueblo mexicano.
Por lo tanto, es imprescindible realizar cambios que revolucionen la
eficacia y que al mismo tiempo garanticen la paz social.


Gustavo Cabrera
El Colegio de MExico
Mexico, D.F., Mexico

Una de las limitaciones importantes en los enfoques te6ricos de
las relaciones entire la dinimica demografica y factors de indole
socioecon6mica y political estriba en el grado de generalidad con que
dichos enfoques se han desarrollado. A pesar del incremento notable
de multiples investigaciones en esta grea, no ha sido possible deter-
minar las bases de una teoria s6lida o evidencias empiricas signifi-
cativas que conduzcan a una total interpretaci6n de las relaciones
centre poblaci6n y desarrollo.

Las hip6tesis de los planteamientos te6ricos son parciales.
Ademns, dichas hip6tesis han sido formuladas para pauses mis desarro-
llados, cuya dinamica demografica se produjo bajo distintos moments
hist6ricos y diferentes condiciones econ6micas y sociales. Estos en-
foques no consideran la enorme variaci6n de situaciones especiales, en
cuanto a cultural, educaci6n, recursos y muy especialmente en cuanto a
modalidades de desarrollo, de modo que el tratamiento metodol6gico
descansa en relaciones a un nivel de generalidad que no toma en cuenta
las especificidades de tiempo y lugar. El crecimiento demogrifico
tiene connotaciones diferentes cuando es referido a la poblaci6n mun-
dial o regional, a los recursos mundiales o regionales o cuando se
refiere a la poblaci6n y los recursos de una sociedad especifica.

Muchos de los actuales sistemas econ6micos y sociales han demos-
trado ser incapaces de integrar la totalidad de la poblaci6n en su
double condici6n de productores y consumidores. Esta situaci6n surge
en sociedades con vol6menes de poblacion y con tasas de crecimiento
diferentes. Sin embargo, como regla general, parece dificil que
exist una capacidad razonable de incorporaci6n de la poblaci6n al
sistema cuando su tasa de crecimiento poblacional sobrepasa el 3 por
ciento annual. El costo econ6mico y social de la dependencia de la
poblaci6n joven se transform entonces en una pesada carga que s61o
una extraordinaria tasa de crecimiento econ6mico podria compensar,
ya que no s6lo se trata de solucionar este peso adicional, sino
simultfneamente mejorar las condiciones de vida de la poblaci6n

De estas observaciones no se desprende que la soluci6n consista
en estabilizar el volume y limitar el crecimiento de la poblaci6n,
sino ademfs considerar que bajo otras formas sociales y econ6micas
se puede lograr una acelerada tasa de desarrollo y de incorporaci6n
de la poblaci6n al sistema productive. Es por ello que la relaci6n
entire el incremento demografico y las condiciones de desocupacion y
subempleo deben analizarse a traves de un enfoque de integraci6n del
anglisis poblacional con el studio de las estructuras socioecon6micas
y los estilos de desarrollo.

El enfoque del desarrollo econ6mico de Mexico en pasados decenios
se centre principalmente en acentuar los process de inversion pfblica
y privada destinados a incrementar las tasas de producci6n de bienes
y servicios, sin que variables demogrificas fueran consideradas en su
interacci6n con variables econ6micas, sino como elements ex6genos al
mismo process. La polltica de desarrollo se consideraba adecuada si
la tasa de incremento del product bruto excedia a la tasa de aumento
de la poblaci6n, sin tomar en cuenta los factors que influlan en esta
Gltima, ni factors esenciales tales como la distribuci6n del ingreso,
el empleo o las migraciones internal. Durante los 6ltimos anos, en
vista de las manifestaciones actuales del crecimiento demografico en
diversos aspects de la economic del pals y el bienestar social, la
dinhmica demogrffica se ha incorporado como parte del process de de-
sarrollo socioecon6mico. La importancia del factor demogrLfico reside
en las transformaciones que hay que efectuar, en forma integrada, en
las variables demogrfficas y socioecon6micas con el objeto de incre-
mentar notablemente el bienestar de toda la poblaci6n.

Los cambios demogrificos experimentados en Mexico, especialmente
a trav6s de los Gltimos 30 anos, han sido product de las modalidades
del process de desarrollo seguido en el pals, tanto a nivel national
como regional. Factores de orden cultural, econ6mico, social y tecno-
16gico determinaron el comportamiento de la mortalidad, la fecundidad
y los movimientos migratorios, de los cuales se desprenden las trans-
formaciones en el volume de la poblaci6n, su ritmo de crecimiento, la
composici6n por edad y la distribuci6n geografica de los habitantes.

Sin embargo, diversos studios muestran que a pesar de las altas
tasas de crecimiento econ6mico de Mexico, subsisten adn condiciones
que sittan al pais en una etapa intermedia en su evoluci6n econ6mica
y social. Una de las caracterlsticas principles del desarrollo mexi-
cano consiste en la persistencia de grandes disparidades socioeco-
n6micas y culturales entire diversos sectors de la poblaci6n. Los
bajos niveles de ingreso, de alimentaci6n, de vivienda, de salud, de
educaci6n y de muchos otros indicadores de bienestar reflejan las pre-
carias condiciones en que vive gran parte de la poblaci6n del pals y
la desigual forma en que ha ocurrido el desarrollo regional.

El efecto del desarrollo econ6mico en Mexico se ha manifestado en
variables demograficas tales como disminuci6n acelerada de la morta-
lidad, principalmente en las areas urbanas, insignificantes descensos
de la fecundidad e incremento en la movilidad geografica de los habi-
tantes, especialmente de areas rurales a urbanas. A su vez, dichas
variables han producido ciertos efectos en el process demografico,
tales como increments notables en el volume y la tasa de crecimiento

de la poblaciSn total, una concentraci6n cada vez mayor de la pobla-
ci6n de edades j6venes e incrementos notables en el volume y la tasa
de crecimiento de la poblaciSn urbana del pals.

Los cambios operados en la dinimica demografica estin presionando
cada vez mas al mismo process econ6mico y social que di6 lugar a dichos
cambios. El volume de la poblaci6n, su ritmo de crecimiento, la es-
tructura por edades y su distribuci6n espacial incident significativa-
mente en diversos aspects econ6micos y sociales en los que se destacan
la educaci6n y el empleo. La insuficiencia de los sistemas educativos
ha contribuido a caracterizar el desempleo y el subempleo. La demand
de mano de obra se refleja en todos los grades de calificaci6n, desde
especialidades profesionales de alto nivel hasta el trabajo no califi-
cado. La situaci6n de rfpido cambio en diversos sectors econ8micos,
algunos con tasas de .crecimiento relativamente elevadas, ha producido
desajustes notables entire la oferta y la demand de trabajo.

La base educativa de M6xico es ain muy dbbil. En 1970 el prome-
dio national fue de 2.9 afos de escolaridad, aunque gran parte del
pais s61o alcanz6 alrededor de 1.6 afos. Result, pues, que existe
una superabundancia de participants en la fuerza de trabajo que care-
cen de la educacion minima necesaria para incorporarse a los sectors
industriales y de servicios modernos. La presiSn demogrlfica en el
medio rural y la tenencia de la tierra agricola han producido un flujo
de poblaci6n desempleada o subempleada hacia las ciudades donde, por
incapacidad de las actividades urbanas para absorber el flujo de po-
blaci6n en edad de trabajar, generalmente de minimo nivel educative
y minima calificaci6n, se integran a las grandes masas urbanas de deso-

El nivel educativo de la fuerza de trabajo guard una relaci6n
important con el nivel de empleo. En 1970 mis de la cuarta parte
de la poblaci6n econ6micamente active carecia de instrucci6n formal
y s61o la tercera parte habia cursado 3 aios de ensefanza primaria
o mas. Por lo tanto, cerca del 60 por ciento de la fuerza de trabajo
carecia de educacion funcional. Considerando los sectors econ6micos,
la situaci6n varia apreciablemente; en el sector agropecuario esta tasa
se elevaba al 80 por ciento, mientras que en el resto de los sectors
la tasa fluctuaba entire 35 y 38 por ciento. Esta situaci6n se rela-
ciona, indudablemente, con los bajos niveles de remuneraci6n y la de-
sigual distribuci6n del ingreso que imperan en el pals.

En lo relacionado al grado de empleo de la fuerza de trabajo, se
puede apreciar su nivel a trav6s de los meses trabajados durante el
aio 1969. S61o 80 por ciento de la poblaci6n econ6micamente active,
la cual ascendia a 13 millones de habitantes, declare trabajar de 10
a 12 meses, mientras que 4.5 por ciento declare trabajar menos de 3
meses en el afo. Una estimaci6n conservadora del desempleo, tomando
en cuenta el n6mero de meses trabajados y los que buscan trabajo por
primera vez, arroja una cifra de 2 millones, lo cual represent 15
por ciento de la fuerza laboral del pals. Existe otras estimaciones
en que se determine aproximadamente el desempleo equivalent en el
orden de 23 por ciento de la poblaci6n econimicamente active, lo cual
significa que a la economia en general no le es necesario 3 millones
de personas para continuar sus ritmos actuales.


Tales niveles de desempleo ocurrieron principalmente cuando la
poblaci6n crecia a una tasa de 3.4 por ciento annual y la economla a
mis de 6.5 por ciento annual. Durante este periodo, el sector indus-
trial alcanz6 una tasa de crecimiento de 9 por ciento annual. En otras
palabras, Mexico experiment una combinaci6n simultinea de altas tasas
de crecimiento demogrifico y econ6mico. Podria concluirse, en forma
simplista, que el problema recae en el fuerte crecimiento demogrifico.
Sin embargo, aun cuando el ritmo al que ha venido creciendo la pobla-
ci6n presiona en forma important al mercado de trabajo y a la educa-
ci6n, desde el punto de vista econ6mico result evidence que el tipo
de desarrollo que se adopt en el pals ha fracasado, al menos en lo
que respect al empleo masivo de la poblaci6n, especialmente en el
sector agropecuario.

Los problems que confront Mexico indican que su anglisis debe
tener una perspective de cambio demogrifico, econ6mico y social:
cambio demogrifico en cuanto a reducir las altas tasas de su creci-
miento y modificar, entire otras situaciones, la carga de dependencia,
la relaci6n recursos-poblaci6n y las condiciones de alimentaci6n y
salud; cambio econ6mico y social en cuanto a las estructuras de pro-
ducci6n, consume y distribuci6n.


David T. Geithman
Russell Sage College
Troy, New York

...Do not let us overestimate the importance of the
economic problem, or sacrifice to its supposed necessities
other matters of greater and more permanent significance.
It should be a matter for specialists--like dentistry. If
economists could manage to get themselves thought of as
humble, competent people, on a level with dentists, that
would be splendid.

J. M. Keynes
"Economic Possibilities for Our
Grandchildren" (1930)

On another occasion, and in the same spirit of entrusting to
economists the direction of only those matters that are properly the
concern of economics, Keynes observed that, in the evolutionary course
of long-run change, societies face the problem of combining three
factors: the expansion of individual freedom, the improvement of
social justice, and the enhancement of economic efficiency and produc-
tivity.1 If indeed the problem of development is multi-faceted and
not simply a puzzle in technical economics, then it cannot be enough
merely to accelerate growth in the sense of raising the real per
capital product without also referring to questions of equity and
freedom. But if the latter two concerns are effectively to count, then
one must ask a searching question about the recent real economic growth
that has been occurring in less-developed countries: Who is benefiting
from economic development?

An impressive amount of recent empirical evidence points to the
regrettable conclusion that economic development usually occurs at the
expense of the poor, and Mexico seems to be no exception to this gene-
ralization. An extensive study by I. Adelman and C. T. Morris2 con-
structs measures of various aspects of income distribution from data
on 43 non-communist, less-developed countries ranging from subsistence-
economies to others rapidly approaching the status of a developed
economy. In their study we see that during the period 1957-1968 only
five countries managed to achieve economic growth without a growing
inequality in size distribution of income. In summarizing their ex


post theoretical interpretation of the results of their overtly
empirical methodology, Adelman and Morris argue that the income
classes benefiting from economic development depend upon the beginning
level of development of the particular country. Starting with the
severely underdeveloped subsistence agricultural economies, the ex-
pansion of a narrow modern sector leads to a slow rate of GNP increase
which is depressed essentially by the absence of an internal market
for growth. The little growth that does occur is relatively capital
intensive; it relies less upon availability of labor (and less upon
developing labor skills) and relatively more upon advanced, imported
technologies and machinery which are applied in the small modern
sector. In the process, the income share of the poorest 60 percent of
the population declines significantly, while the share of the top 5
percent rises dramatically.

Adelman and Morris next identify the group of countries that
emerge (or have emerged) from the stage of sharply dualistic growth.
In these economies the modern sector is less isolated from the tra-
ditional agricultural sector. An enlarged base for economic growth
exists in the domestic market, and consequently the rate of output
growth quickens. Usually a rate of 5.5 percent or more is evident.
The process primarily benefits the middle 20 percent of income re-
ceivers, while in both relative and absolute terms the position of the
poorest 40 percent typically worsens. The evident problem in this
stage is that growth is still usually capital intensive, leading to a
deterioration in the incomes of the poor.

A model adequate to analyze the problem of a growing gap between
the earnings of a society's highest 60 percent and lowest 40 percent
of income receivers (and, as we shall see, between its labor force
endowment and its labor force utilization) requires a careful
sectoring of the economy. The usual approach in development models
formally recognizes the existence of only two sectors, the agricultural
or traditional and the industrial or modern., /ather than adhere to
this customary but oversimplified duality, it seems necessary to dis-
tinguish the existence of at least four separate, although related,
economic sub-sectors. The first two are the peasant agricultural sub-
sector and the urban trade-service-craft or small-scale industrial
sub-sector, both of which fall into the traditional sector. It is
important to note that traditional peasant farms and urban trade-
service-craft firms occupy both workers employed as cash-wage labor
and others employed by family-operated farms and firms who do not work
for market-determined wages.

The other two sub-sectors are the large-scale industrial sub-
sector, which includes modern manufacturing, transport, public utili-
ties, and mining, and the large-scale, mechanized agricultural sub-
sector. These two sub-sectors comprise the modern sector-Economic
units engaged in mechanized agriculture, sometimes called plantation
agriculture, employ relatively large amounts of capital and are charac-
terized by a high average and marginal product per worker, as are
their counterpart firms in the modern industrial sub-sector. Despite
some obvious differences, the arge-scale agricultural units share
much more in common with firm operating in the modern industrial sub-
sector than with the peasant farms characteristic of traditional agri-

Firms operating in the traditional trade-service-craft sub-sector,
like their counterpart farming units in peasant agriculture, typically
combine labor with significantly less modern equipment, capital, and
technology to create far less value-added per worker than firms oper-
ating in the modern sector. Moreover, the trade-service-craft sub-
sector, which is typically urban, al o serves as the natural entry
point to the urban economy for rural emigrants. The sub-sector's re-
lative openness, compared to urban modern-sector firms, leads to an
over-manning of its occupations.3 Such over-manning, in conjunction
with the characteristically small amounts of capital and low level of
technology involved, results in an observed low average product per
employed worker.

In the present context the term capital must be understood to
refer not only to traditional physical plant, equipment, and machinery
but also to human capital. Skilled labor and managerial talent as
factors of production should be recognized and treated as varieties of
capital (human capital, to be sure). Thus, the term "labor" per se
should be restricted to unskilled, or semi-skilled labor at best, a
relatively homogeneous factor of production in which little or no
human capital has been invested.

Although it is difficult to measure productivity levels in less-
developed countries directly due to absence of data, they can some-
times be estimated indirectly through a comparison of wage levels.
Presumably wages correlate positively with productivity to a high
degree wherever wages are market determined. Wage rates in large
firms in a given industry often are three times or more than wages in
small firms. In general, only firms employing relatively many workers
consistently pay higher than the industry average wage, while firms
employing relatively few workers consistently pay below the industry

A direct relationship not only exists between size of firm and
value-added per employee in absolute terms, but a positive association
also arises when comparing U.S. productivity levels with those of like-
sized enterprises in less-developed economies. Generally, the larger
the firm, the greater will be its value-added per worker and the
closer the firm in the less-developed country will come to approxi-
mating U.S. value-added levels. Another way of expressing the dif-
ference between modern and traditional sector economic units in less-
developed economies is that the modern sector firms and farms are
often roughly similar to typical units in the same industry in more-
developed countries. Modern sector units in Mexico and other less-
developed countries may be somewhat smaller than units in the same in-
dustry in more-developed countries, with somewhat lower value-added
per employee, less capital per worker, and lower labor quality, but
frequently they are using roughly the same kind of technology.

At the level of development characteristic of most countries that
have progressed beyond the early phase of severe underdevelopment and
extreme duality, further economic growth usually is dominated by ex-
pansion of the capital-intensive modern sector. Adelman and Morris
associate this second stage of development with a deteriorating income
position for the poorest 40 percent of the population. Real

agricultural output may be expanding at a very respectable rate, in
large part through the spread of modern and mechanized production
methods, but such capital-intensive economic expansion fails to gene-
rate sufficient employment opportunities to absorb elsewhere the labor
force released by mechanization and related structural reorganization
in agriculture. Real output also may be expanding at an impressive
rate in urban industry, but again the capital-intensive nature of
modern industry--both in adding new lines of production and in re-
placing labor-using equipment in existing plants--sharply limits in-
dustry's contribution toward creating employment opportunities.
Moreover, growth in capital-intensive modern industry can displace
artisans and cottage workers presently employed elsewhere in the
economy by squeezing out of existence small-scale, labor-intensive
craft firms which attempt to compete with modern enterprises.

In short, the modern sector in Mexico and other developing
countries often expands at the expense of the traditional sector.
Capital-intensive growth leads to either declining employment oppor-
tunities in both the cities and countryside or, if the absolute
volume of employment is growing, as it usually does, the expansion of
employment is less than proportionate to the growth of output. These
employment limitations lead directly to a declining snare of income
received by the poorest 40 percent of the population as Adelman and
Morris observe for countries at this stage of development.

The crucial importance of expanding employment opportunities in
less-developed countries for improving equality.in the income dis-
tribution and bettering the conditions of human life is sometimes
surprisingly overlooked by professionals in the area of development.
For example, a recent article by one of the leading authorities in
the field discusses poverty in light of educational reform, corruption,
land reform, population policy, and other variables, devoting a single
paragraph to the explicit question of creation of jobs for the growing
labor force.4

One disturbing but nevertheless frequently observed characteristic
of labor markets for unskilled and semi-skilled workers in the modern
sector--including both industry and large-scale mechanized agri-
culture--is a downward rigidity of wages, especially wages in the tra-
ditional sector. This downward wage rigidity is evidenced by the
failure of wages for unskilled and semi-skilled labor employed in the
modern sector to reach an equilibrium level, i.e., the wage rate where
the quantity of labor demanded by firms and the quantity supplied by
workers are equalized. Looking at modern sector labor markets in less-
developed countries, there is considerable reason to believe that they
can be best described as characterized by excess labor supply. The
going market wage is not low enough to bring labor supply and demand
into balance. In Figure 1, curves DD' and SS' represent aggregate
labor demand and supply functions, respectively, for unskilled and
semi-skilled labor in the modern sector. Under competitive conditions
in this factor market, the wage rate would settle at OWe and the
volume of labor employed would be OLe.

In contrast to competitive circumstances, however, suppose that
various forms of institutional intervention exist in the modern sector

that artificially elevate the wage rate above its supply price to, say,
OW*. Institutional intervention in modern sector labor markets may
stem from the existence of strong labor union organizations and nego-
tiated wage contracts, minimum wage legislation, termination agree-
ments, civil service classifications, formal non-union contract agree-
ments, employers' a prior notions (based on past experience) of what
they must pay laborers to attract them to the job, and employers'
desire to achieve economies in internal accounting procedures. For all
these reasons, wages may remain above the competitive equilibrium wage
rate. If wages were artificially elevated to OW*, the effective labor
supply curve would be W*AS'. At the artificial wage, the quantity of
labor services that workers are willing to supply, OLs, is greater than
the quantity firms are willing to employ, OLd. A condition of excess
labor supply exists, and it can be said that the wage rate fails to
reflect existing factor endowments. Those relatively few workers who
are employed enjoy an artificially high wage, while the remaining
workers are unemployed, at least in the modern sector. This is obvi-
ously a potentially powerful factor tending to exaggerate an income
differential between those employed in the modern sector and the un-
employed or those employed in the less-productive traditional sector.

The persistence over time of a disequilibrium wage rate in the
modern sector is a clear indication that the labor market departs from
the competitive norm. The importance of such a non-competitive wage
is that a gap exists between the wage rate actually received by labor
employed in the modern sector and labor's opportunity or social cost.
This divergence between what labor costs the firm which employs it and
labor's social cost is part of the meaning of the concept of economic
dualism. Economic dualism generally exists in factor markets when,
through one or another form of artificial restriction, factor prices
are distorted away from their market-determined levels; consequently,
a condition of either excess supply or excess demand for a factor
arises and persists.

These factor market distortions or imperfections result in a
higher labor-capital price ratio than would otherwise exist. In turn,
this price ratio would force profit-maximizing firms in the modern
sector to shift their production processes away from relatively labor-
using techniques and toward more capital-using techniques. Such shift
results in a slower rate of labor absorption into the modern sector
than is called for by existing resource endowments. In extreme cases
the labor-capital price ratio might be set and artificially maintained
above the labor-capital ratio in technical transformation (the slope
of the production isoquants). This means that it always would be most
profitable for the firm to use as little labor and as much capital as
technology allows to produce any given level of output. Such an un-
fortunate distortion of the factor mix would occur despite the fact
that capital is the relatively scarce factor in less-developed
economies. In effect, the availability of capital would become the
crucial constraint on labor absorption into the modern sector.5

The difficulties of employment generation and labor absorption in
the modern sector can be greatly aggravated if the community's tastes
and preferences indicate a market basket demand biased in favor of
goods and services produced in the modern sector.,-For example, suppose


community tastes and preferences indicate a dominant demand for modern-
sector products, whose production is capital intensive, and a relati-
vely weak demand for traditional-sector goods, whose production is re-
latively labor intensive. As the economy adapts its production
structure to satisfy this demand profile, the marginal product of
labor would decline due to growing capital scarcity. The economy's
pre-existing condition of relative capital scarcity would be heigh-
tened by the fact that predominantly capital-intensive final goods are
in strong demand. In the limiting case, the marginal product of labor
would fall to zero, which defines a condition of labor redundancy.

It is reasonable to expect on a prior grounds that consumption
tastes and preferences of lower-income groups are more disposed toward
demand for traditional-sector goods and services relative to con-
sumption tastes and preferences of higher-income groups, whose demand
may be biased in favor of modern-sector, capital-intensive goods.
Therefore, the deteriorating income situation for the poorest 40 per-
cent of income receivers, which Adelman and Morris correctly depict as
stemming from capital-intensive development, aggravates the very pro-
blems of capital scarcity and slack labor demand. The process is, to
a degree, circular and self-reinforcing: capital scarcity worsens the
distribution of income, and growing inequality of income distribution
feeds back and intensifies capital scarcity through its effects on a
society's demand profile Thus, limited technical substitutability of
factors of production, the condition of relative capital scarcity typi-
cal of industrializing economies, institutional interference with the
setting of relative factor prices in the modern sector, and the
structure of demand for final output all can combine to reduce the
labor absorption capacity of the modern sector.

Failing to secure employment in the modern sector, an abnormally
large amount of labor is forced to search for employment opportunities
in the traditional sector. Labor can be absorbed there in two ways,
either as cash-wage labor or in family-operated units. In the first
case, labor can find employment as long as the value of its marginal
product exceeds the money wage it receives. In the second case, how-
ever, much of the labor typically absorbed is disguisedly unemployed.
This type of labor absorption occurs in connection with family-operated
peasant farms and family-operated trade, service, and small-craft firms
in urban areas. The presumption here is that an institutional wage
exists in parts of the traditional sector, notably with regard to
family-operated farms and firms. The institutional wage is set above
the market money-wage level and is sustained by the weight of non-
market institutional forces.6 A market-determined money-wage rate, of
course, tends to equal the value of the worker's marginal product,
whereas an institutionally determined wage tends to equal the laborer's
average product. Workers not employable in a competitive labor market
because of low, zero, or negative marginal productivity nevertheless
can be employed in family-operated economic units provided that their
average product is still positive.

Labor characterized by zero or negative marginal productivity is
customarily termed redundant labor. It follows, therefore, that some
(but not all) of a society's disguisedly unemployed workers also

represent redundant labor. Two additional important points also can
be mentioned. First, annual money wages earned in traditional-sector
labor markets may or may not exceed labor's annual real income from
family-operated firms and farms. Whether or not labor's annual
market-based income is greater than, less than, or equal to labor's
annual real income from family-operated economic units cannot be
ascertained on a priori theoretical grounds, but ultimately will de-
pend upon the income-leisure preferences of labor. The only exception
to this generalization occurs when the worker represents redundant
labor employed within a family-operated farm or firm; in such event,
real income must exceed market-based income, for the market wage paid
to redundant labor will not exceed zero.

Second, while all employed redundant labor is necessarily dis-
guisedly unemployed, it is unreasonable to expect that all redundant
labor succeeds in finding some form of disguised unemployment as a
means of earning even a low income. Undoubtedly some quantity of
redundant labor fails to secure even disguised unemployment, and these
workers swell the ranks of the openly unemployed.

It has perhaps become customary to accept a government's ability
to promote development and usage of more labor-using, less capital-
using production technologies as given and beyond its control, but to
regard its limited successes in eliminating factor price distortions
and reducing great income inequalities that create a bias against
labor employment as merely evidence of bad policy. There seems, how-
ever, to be no useful basis for making such distinctions. In any
case, the limits to government action are set by its own diagnosis of
the problem, the likely response of the economy to innovations, and
especially the political acceptability of the results.

If the less-developed economies could, for some period of time,
move in the direction of achieving maximum output growth and employ-
ment expansion simultaneously, the task of economic and social
structural transformation would be eased immensely; the goals of
economic efficiency and social justice would be mutually reinforcing.
At this point in time, however, and in the presence of possible trade-
offs between output and employment objectivesKemployment creation and
a more equitable distribution of income perhaps should become the
dominant goals in the policy mix, in the short run overriding efficien-
cy considerations, but in the long run possibly maximizing growth.

In many countries of the less-developed world the realistic po-
litical issue is not whether over-all output growth would be enhanced
by very high labor productivity in a few capital-intensive areas ac-
companied simultaneously by large numbers of other workers completely
idle, or by relatively low labor productivity resulting from spreading
available capital more thinly among large numbers of workers. In
these countries, a maximum politically tolerable rate of labor un-
employment apparently is now a primary constraint of the government's
freedom to address itself simply to economic efficiency and economic
growth considerations.



Ld Le Ls

of Labor


1. John M. Keynes, "Liberalism and Labour," in John M. Keynes (ed.),
Essays in Persuasion (New York: W. W. Norton, 1963), pp. 339-45.

2. Irma Adelman and C. T. Morris, Economic Growth and Social Equity
in Developing Countries (Stanford: Stanford University Press,
1973), especially Chapter 4. See also Irma Adelman, "Strategies
for Equitable Growth," Challenge (Vol. 17, No. 2, May-June, 1974),
pp. 37-44.

3. Lloyd G. Reynolds, "Economic Development with Surplus Labour:
Some Complications," Oxford Economic Papers (Vol. 21, No. 1, March,
1969), pp. 89-103, especially p. 91.

4. Gunner Myrdal, "The World Poverty Problem," in Britannica Book of
the Year 1972 (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britanica, Inc., 1972),
pp. 22-34.

5. David T. Geithman and Clifford E. Landers, "Obstacles to Labor
Absorption in a Developing Economy: Colombia, a Case in Point,"
Journal of International Studies and World Affairs (Vol. 15, No.
3, August, 1973), pp. 309-33, especially p. 320.

6. Gustav Ranis and J. C. H. Fei, "A Theory of Economic Development,"
The American Economic Review (Vol. 51, No. 4, September, 1961),
pp. 533-65, especially p. 536.



Alberto Martini
Ministro del Trabajo
Caracas, Venezuela


Habrg de analizarse en esta ponencia los diferentes aspects que
definen la estructura poblacional en Venezuela y las metas fijadas por
su gobierno en el campo laboral, con miras a una adecuada distribuci6n
de recursos. La presentaci6n se enfoca desde tres puntos de vista:
(1) aspects demogrfficos, los cuales analizan el crecimiento de la
poblaci6n, su estructura y su distribuci6n geogrifica; (2) fuerza de
trabajo, donde se analiza la estructura ocupacional determinada por
las modalidades de desarrollo alcanzado por la economia venezolana en
los ltimos 20 afios y (3) metas de ocupaci6n, segdn han sido sefaladas
en el Plan de la Naci6n.

Hasta hace poco el factor trabajo habia sido tratado en los diver-
sos planes de desarrollo como un insumo productive mfs. Este enfoque
ha evolucionado a media que se ha desarrollado y aplicado nuevas t6c-
nicas de analisis donde el factor trabajo, al considergrsele como un
recurso human, no s1ol cumple la funci6n de insumo productive, sino
tambign las funciones de un element que piensa y toma decisions, pro-
duciendo y consumiendo simultineamente los bienes y servicios que ne-

Desgraciadamente, el enfoque que recientemente se ha dado al es-
tudio de mano de obra en particular, y al analisis de los recursos
humans en general, carece de metodologfa, lo cual, unido a la carestia
de especialistas en este campo, ha determinado que el advance en los es-
tudios de recursos humans haya sido lento hasta el present. Sin em-
bargo, el desenvolvimiento de la investigaci6n en este campo ha per-
mitido comprobar que la mano de obra es un component de gran valor
para la planificaci6n econ6mica, debido a la naturaleza Gnica de dicho
recurso, lo cual exige se le trate en forma diferente a los demis re-
cursos, asl como al hecho que constitute una de las principles limi-
taciones del crecimiento econ6mico.

La naturaleza de la mano de obra puede modificarse radicalmente
mediante la educaci6n y el adiestramiento, de modo que el hombre puede
cambiar de una pericia professional a otra, desarrollar nuevas

capacidades o alcanzar mIs altos niveles de idoneidad cuando sea nece-
sario, facultad de que carecen otros recursos. Por otra parte, la mano
de obra present dos restricciones fundamentals en el process de de-
sarrollo econ6mico: la primer se refiere a su magnitude cuantitativa,
limitada por el tamafio de la poblaci6n potencialmente active, mientras
que la otra limitaci6n es de carfcter cualitativo, referente a classes
de mano de obra disponible en t6rminos de capacitaci6n y ocupacion.
Dichas limitaciones de mano de obra, tanto cuantitativas como cualita-
tivas, exigen que la planificaci6n global tome en cuenta tales pecu-
liaridades para evitar los estrangulamientos que pueden ocurrir cuando
se fije metas de desarrollo.

Especial importancia tiene para Venezuela la planificaci6n de
mano de obra, ya que la carestia de recursos humans constitute un
obstfculo en el establecimiento de un acelerado y sostenido desarrollo
econ6mico. Dicha carestia de recursos humans se manifiesta fundamen-
talmente a trav6s de una alta tasa de desempleo u ocupaci6n disfrazada
en aquellos sectors que tradicionalmente ocupan un mayor nGmero de
personas; por ende, surge la necesidad de crear nuevas fuentes de tra-
bajo que permitan absorber la mano de obra que anualmente se incorpora
al mercado laboral.


Evoluci6n de la Poblaci6n

Venezuela figure entire los pauses que presentan un acelerado cre-
cimiento demografico. Su tasa de crecimiento interanual ha superado
tradicionalmente la cifra de 3 por ciento. En 1961 Venezuela contaba
con 7.5 millones de habitantes, lo que corresponde a un aumento de
49.4 por ciento con relaci6n a 1950. Segdn el Gltimo censo de pobla-
ci6n, en 1971 la poblaci6n alcanz6 la cifra de 10.7 millones de habi-
tantes, proyectindose para 1980 una poblaci6n de 15 millones de habi-
tantes. Esto implica que durante el periodo 1950-1980 la poblacion
del pais habrg de triplicarse.

Composici6n de la Poblaci6n

El anglisis de la composici6n poblacional es imprescindible en el
studio del recurso human (factor trabajo) con que cuenta el pals, ya
que sirve de base a toda political o plan de desarrollo econ6mico. Ve-
nezuela posee una poblaci6n joven. En efecto, 47 por ciento de la
misma tiene una edad inferior a 15 afios. La distribucion de la pobla-
ci6n por grupos de edad puede analizarse en el Cuadro 1. Es evidence
en este cuadro que el pals dispone de una gran reserve humana para su
desarrollo, tanto desde el punto de vista del mercado potential como
desde la perspective de suministro del equipo human.

Uno de los fen6menos mas notables en las Gltimas decadas es el
process de urbanizaci6n o concentraci6n de la poblaci6n en areas ur-
banas. Dicho process result como consecuencia de mejores y mas remu-
nerativas oportunidades de trabajo en areas urbanas que en areas rura-
les, as! como mfs altos niveles de educaci6n y atenci6n madica y sani-

La imposibilidad de los sectors industrial y de servicios de
absorber a corto plazo la mano de obra procedente de las Ireas rura-
les hace que las corrientes migratorias pasen a engrosar especial-
mente al sector servicios en forma de desempleo abierto o disfrazado.
En los Gltimos 20 aios se ha registrado en Venezuela una notable con-
centraci6n poblacional en las ciudades. Como puede observarse en el
Cuadro 2, el crecimiento demogrifico urban super al crecimiento de-
mografico rural.1 En efecto, estimaciones para 1975 muestran un des-
censo absolute de la poblaci6n rural con respect a 1950. Caracas,
representando escasamente uno por ciento de la superficie territorial
del pals, comprende 20 por ciento de la poblaci6n total. En general,
44 por ciento de la poblaci6n venezolana se concentra en centros ur-
banos con mas de 100,000 habitantes. Dicha distribucion puede ana-
lizarse en el Cuadro 3.


Desde el punto de vista cuantitativo, el crecimiento y la estruc-
tura demogrificos son factors determinantes de la disponibilidad de
mano de obra. En Venezuela, a consecuencia de la explosion demogrifica
experimentada en el transcurso de las Gltimas dos decadas y de la com-
posici6n de su poblaci6n que lo define como pais joven, cada afo entra
al mercado de trabajo un nGmero considerable de personas que requieren
la generaci6n de nuevos empleos. Segun muestra el Cuadro 4, la fuerza
de trabajo en el perlodo 1961-1971 aument6 28.02 por ciento, mientras
que la poblaci6n total se increments en 42.5 por ciento. La tasa de
actividad efectiva, o la proporci6n entire la poblaci6n econ6micamente
active y la poblaci6n total, disminuy6, lo cual refleja en terminos
relatives que un menor n6mero de personas trabajan para el sosteni-
miento de una mayor poblaci6n. No obstante, la tasa de desempleo de-
creci6 considerablemente en este period.

Ramas de Actividad

Se observa una evoluci6n dingmica en todas las ramas de la econo-
mia, habiendo adquirido las actividades de los sectors secundario y
terciario mayor importancia, tanto absolute como relative. El sector
secundario incluye industries manufacturers, construcci6n y electri-
cidad, gas, agua y servicios sanitarios, mientras que el sector ter-
ciario est9 integrado por transport, almacenaje y comunicaciones, co-
mercio e instituciones financieras y servicios pGblicos y privados.
El Cuadro 5 ilustra la evoluci6n de la ocupaci6n por rama de actividad
econ6mica en cifras absolutas e indices de referencia.

Fuerza de Trabajo por Edad

La distribuci6n o estructura por edades de la poblaci6n del pais
tiene una marcada influencia en la situaci6n de la fuerza de trabajo.
En noviembre de 1971 la fuerza de trabajo estaba compuesta por 3.015
millones de habitantes, de los cuales 30.5 por ciento se concentraba
entire los 15 y 24 aios de edad, mientras que 25 por ciento se encon-
traba entire los 25 y 34 aios. En estos mismos grupos se agrupan mas
de cuatro quintas parties de los desocupados, lo cual implica que la
generaci6n de nuevos empleos no ha sido suficiente para satisfacer la

demand que por el crecimiento de esa poblaci6n joven han tenido los
mismos. Una distribuci6n mas detallada puede observarse en el Cuadro


La tasa de desocupaci6n, o la relaci6n entire el n6mero de desem-
pleados y la poblaci6n econ6micamente active, no ha bajado en el curso
de los Gltimos 20 aios de 6 por ciento, lo cual hace pensar que, ademas
de los factors coyunturales que determinan las fluctuaciones por en-
cima de este porcentaje, factors estructurales han impedido reducir
el nivel de desempleo a menos de 6 por ciento.

La crisis econ6mica de los aiios 1960 y 1961 determine un notable
incremento en la tasa de desocupaci6n, llegando a alcanzar esta 13.1
por ciento. A partir de 1961, el nivel de desempleo ha decrecido pau-
latinamente a 8.20 por ciento en 1967, 8.05 por ciento en 1969 y 6.16
por ciento en 1971. La disminuci6n progresiva que viene sefalando
esta tasa en los Gltimos aios puede interpretarse como indicaci6n que
se ha venido cumpliendo positivamente las metas propuestas en el
6ltimo Plan de la Naci6n. Los Gltimos Planes de la Naci6n (1963-1968,
1965-1968 y 1970-1974) han seguido a grandes rasgos la misma line de
planteamientos en cuanto a objetivos y necesidad de desarrollo de los
diversos sectors se refiere. El Gltimo Plan de la Naci6n establece
cifras en forma mas concrete, constituyendo metas propiamente dichas,
a fin de dar soluci6n a los problems del desempleo y subempleo a
corto y median plazo. Es interesante observer que en el V Plan de la
Naci6n se planted una political especifica sobre recursos humans,
aspect este que nunca habia sido enfocado en forma definida debido a
la carencia de metodologia de studio en dicho campo.

Actualmente la Oficina de Coordinaci6n y Planificaci6n de la Pre-
sidencia de la RepGblica (CORDIPLAN) tiene bajo su responsabilidad la
implementaci6n de political especificas sobre recursos humans. Re-
cientemente CORDIPLAN ha concluido un proyecto de investigaci6n sobre
los recursos humans que el pals debe capacitar a fin de alcanzar las
metas de desarrollo econ6mico establecidas para el period 1971-1985,
siendo el prop6sito principal de dicho proyecto suministrar orienta-
ci6n gubernmental en dos areas de vital interns para la political
social: el funcionamiento adecuado del mercado de trabajo y el tamaio
6ptimo de los distintos niveles y ramas del sistema educativo, en
funci6n de las previsiones sobre el tamario y la estructura de la eco-
nomia venezolana en el future.

Lamentablemente, no es possible en esta oportunidad suministrar una
informaci6n detallada sobre los logros te6ricos del anilisis realizado
o de las recomendaciones que de el se desprenden. Sin embargo, cabe
sefalar brevemente que, previendose un alto crecimiento en la oferta
de trabajadores hasta 1985, una situaci6n de cuasi plena ocupaci6n en
1985 require la creaci6n de aproximadamente 1,650,000 nuevos empleos,
garantizindose as! un ritmo de expansion de la actividad econ6mica no
inferior a 6.8 por ciento annual a lo largo del period sefalado. Por
otro lado, dada la tendencia expansive en las tasas de rendimiento edu-
cativo, el proyecto plantea reorientar la matricula en algunas espe-
cialidades, sobre todo a nivel superior, y encarar el problema de la
deserci6n escolar.

Political de Empleo2

La incorporaci6n sistematica de todas las personas potencialmente
activas al process de producci6n constitute el instrument mas impor-
tante y decisive de la political social. En Venezuela este prop6sito
debe constituir, simultaneamente, el punto de partida y uno de los ob-
jetivos fundamentals del process de desarrollo.

La generaci6n sistematica y adecuadamente distribuida de nuevas
fuentes de trabajo es tambign un objetivo y un medio en la diversifi-
caci6n de la producci6n en el enfrentamiento de la urbanizaci6n acele-
rada y de los contrastes regionales adversos. Ello es asi en cuanto
propicia un desarrollo m~s arm6nico de la economia, asegura la estabi-
lidad de la poblaci6n en sus lugares de origen y limita el Exodo de
los miembros m~s dinimicos de la comunidad local. -Por-estos y otros
razonamientos, podria decirse que tal objetivo actda simultaneamente
sobre los planes econ6micos y sociales, tanto individuals como colec-
tivos, acentuandose as! la naturaleza socioecon6mica del process de

En este sentido, se concibe la political de empleo como la bus-
queda del pleno empleo de la mano de obra, incorporindola al trabajo
productive y libremente escogido, o al menos en promover la expansion
de las ocupaciones a un ritmo considerado satisfactoriamente y que
permit en un future cercano el logro del pleno empleo. Tal objetivo
implica poner 6nfasis en los programs multisectoriales de generaci6n
de empleo, a fin de facilitar la realizaci6n de una actividad produc-
tiva por las personas que lo deseen, permitiendoles as! la obtenci6n
de un ingreso que, al traducirse en capacidad adquisitiva de bienes y
servicios, contribuya al fortalecimiento de la economic.

Para ser efectiva, la political de empleo tiene que incidir sobre
las determinantes fundamentals de la demand y la oferta de mano de
obra y contemplar, a su vez, los periodos o plazos en los cuales las
medidas adoptadas pueden desenvolver su efectividad. En este sentido,
la political ocupacional a largo plazo se concibe condicionada por la
necesidad de homogeneizar la estructura global de producci6n segun el
nivel tecnol6gico estimado mns satisfactorio, lo que presupone un
double esfuerzo de reducci6n de los actuales desniveles sectoriales en
la productividad del trabajo y el logro de una efectiva elevaci6n del
nivel educativo y t6cnico de la fuerza de trabajo. Por su parte, la
political de empleo formulada para el corto y median plazo ofrece un
enfoque diferente. Su intencion fundamental es tender a los dese-
quilibrios temporales critics observables en el mercado de trabajo;
de ah! que gran parte de dichas medidas posean un caricter transitorio
Bajo este 9ngulo debe verse muchos de los esfuerzos de generaci6n de
empleos en sectors tales como construcci6n, comercio, transport y

La political de empleo a corto y median plazo se fundamental en
los siguientes principios:

Promover una Elevaci6n del Nivel de Inversiones, Procurando su Dis-
tribuci6n en Beneficio de Aquellos Sectores que Favorecen la Crea-
ci6n de Empleos Permanentes

ComGnmente se acepta que el monto global de la inversion condi-
ciona en gran parte el nivel agregado de la ocupaci6n. Esto implica
la necesidad de movilizar cuantiosas sumas de capital para alcanzar
los objetivos de empleo, sin comprometer los necesarios aumentos de
productividad de la mano de obra. La elevaci6n del nivel de inversion
no es, sin embargo, una condici6n suficiente que garantice el aumento
sostenido de la ocupaci6n. Un incremento sustancial en la inversion
puede no conducir a una soluci6n de los problems de empleo. Esto es
cierto en los sectors no directamente reproductivos, incapaces de ge-
nerar empleo permanent, y en aqugllos donde la gran concentraci6n de
los beneficios del progress tecnico acentda las deformaciones exis-
tentes en la demand global de empleo. De ah! que, procurando no en-
trabar el progress tecnol6gico, la political de inversiones debe tomar
en cuenta no sl6o el nivel absolute y la distribuci6n sectorial de las
mismas, sino tambign la estructura de los capitals invertidos, es
decir, la relaci6n empleo-inversi6n.

El conjunto de factors productivos, su dotaci6n relative y la
estructura de precious que le es inherente juegan un papel decisive en
el surgimiento y la consolidaci6n de los problems de desempleo y sub-
empleo. De ahi que se procure garantizar la necesaria fluidez en el
process de transferencia de tecnologias hacia el pais, con miras a
evitar un agravamiento en la desproporcionalidad existente y compro-
bada en los factors de producci6n.

En este sentido, el Gltimo Plan establece modificaciones en la
pauta de inversiones manufacturers, las cuales, a la vez que profun-
dizan el process sustitutivo de importaciones, elevan el nivel de la
ocupaci6n fabril. La elevaci6n de la cuantia de inversiones fijas en
las actividades de construcci6n, energia y manufactures se traducirg
en un considerable incremento de la capacidad generadora de empleo del
sector secundario de la economic venezolana. En efecto, entire 1970 y
1974 aproximadamente 40 por ciento del incremento neto ocupacional
programado se originarg en actividades secundarias.

Intensificar el Esfuerzo Educacional y de Formaci6n Profesional de la
Fuerza de Trabajo que Propenda a su Mejor Capacitaci6n T6cnica y

En virtud del critico nivel educativo prevaleciente en la fuerza
de trabajo, se estima inaplazable la necesidad de intensificar la
acci6n educational que conduzca a una sensible mejoria en el perfil
educativo de los trabajadores y, en general, a una elevaci6n del nivel
promedio de educaci6n de la poblaci6n venezolana.

Procurar que Toda la Incorporaci6n de Fuerza de Trabajo del Exterior
se Realice en el Marco de una Politica de Migraci6n Selectiva y no
Afecte las Posibilidades de Trabajo de la Poblaci6n Venezolana

Por los agudos problems que entrafia, un aspect que merece espe-
cial tratamiento en la political de empleo es la inmigraci6n fronteriza.
Bajo las condiciones socioecon6micas prevalecientes hoy en el pals,
cualquier aumento indiscriminado e incontrolado de mano de obra, en
especial de trabajadores no calificados inherentes a este tipo de inmi-
graci6n, dificulta, si no hace nulo, todo intent de solucionar el pro-
blema ocupacional existence. El aumento de este tipo de inmigraci6n
se traduce corrientemente en un desplazamiento de la mano de obra na-
cional ocupada y suele dar lugar a un important deterioro en el nivel
de salaries reales, lo que en difinitiva acentua los problems de de-
sempleo y subempleo. Por tal raz6n, trabajadores provenientes del ex-
terior podran incorporarse al mercado de trabajo del pals s61o para
cubrir--via inmigraci6n selectiva--las necesidades de personal que no
pueden satisfacerse con recursos humans nacionales.

Someter a un Proceso de Planificaci6n, Integrado a la Programaci6n
General del Desarrollo, la Formaci6n y Utilizaci6n de la Fuerza de

El process de planificaci6n de la mano de obra debe integrarse a
la programaci6n econ6mica general y a la programaci6n educativa, pues
s61o de este modo es possible lograr la necesaria compatibilidad entire
metas y recursos. Limitaciones de variada naturaleza, pero bisica-
mente de indole metodol6gica, y en especial las que se refieren a la
carencia de informaci6n confiable sobre magnitude y caracteristicas de
la demand de trabajo actual y previsible en distintas actividades
econ6micas, han obstaculizado tradicionalmente la concresi6n del ob-
jeto de programaci6n del empleo. Con la participaci6n de diversas
instituciones pGblicas y bajo la direct promoci6n de la Oficina Central
de Coordinaci6n y Planificaci6n, se realize en la actualidad un amplio
program de investigaci6n en material de recursos humans.

Reorganizar Institucionalmente el Mercado de Empleo, con Enfasis en la
Reform de los Servicios Administrativos del Trabajo

Una nueva organizaci6n del mercado de empleo, asl como la supera-
ci6n de ciertas limitaciones de naturaleza institutional, deben per-
mitir a los trabajadores un mejor conocimiento de las posibilidades
ocupacionales y a los empresarios una vision mas realist de las des-
trezas y capacidades disponibles. De este modo se contribuirg a al-
canzar una movilidad interprofesional e interregional much mas c6nsona
con los requerimientos reales de trabajo. En este punto es important
la reform de las normas laborales y de los reglamentos de trabajo re-
lativos a la actividad sindical y a la negociaci6n colectiva, as como
el logro de una mayor protecci6n de los asalariados, especialmente mu-
jeres y menores. La reform de los servicios administrativos debe ga-
rantizar un mayor control sobre las normas laborales y un funciona-
miento mns adecuado de los servicios de conciliaci6n en los conflicts


De acuerdo con las metas ocupacionales delineadas en el IV Plan
de la Naci6n, no se vislumbra cambios de significaci6n en el compor-
tamiento ni en las caracterfsticas de la poblaci6n venezolana. Supo-
niendo que la tasa de participaci6n de la poblacion econ6micamente
active se mantenga constant alrededor de 30 por ciento, es l6gico es-
perar un incremento considerable en la magnitude absolute de la fuerza
de trabajo durante la vigencia de dicho Plan. Se ha supuesto que la
oferta de trabajadores habrg de crecer casi al mismo ritmo de la po-
blaci6n total, lo cual implica un incremento promedio annual de 116,000
trabajadores. En cifras globales, el Plan prev4 la generaci6n de
597,000 nuevos empleos, cifra ligeramente superior al aumento proyec-
tado de la fuerza de trabajo (578,000 personas). Como consecuencia,
se espera un leve descenso en el volume absolute de desocupaci6n.

Se espera asimismo que la generaci6n de empleos descanse basica-
mente en los sectors industriales y de servicios, correspondiendo a
los sectors agropecuario y de hidrocarburos y mineria un papel de
menor importancia. De acuerdo con el Plan, el sector agropecuario se
mantendrfa como la rama econ6mica, individualmente considerada, que
mayor numero de trabajadores ocupa. Sin embargo, en terminos relatives,
mostrarla una disminuci6n significativa derivada de la cr6nica desace-
leraci6n en la tasa de incorporaci6n de nuevos trabajadores a este sec-
tor, ya que en los cinco afos del Plan sl6o se incorporaran al sector
agropecuario 40,000 nuevos trabajadores. Tal disminuci6n en la capa-
cidad de absorci6n ocupacional agropecuaria result de un mayor rendi-
miento productive de la mano de obra ocupada, a su vez consecuencia de
la mecanizaci6n de sus operaciones y gran advance en la organizaci6n de
los process de producci6n y distribucion agricolas.

El sector de hidrocarburos y minas darg empleo a 3,000 nuevos tra-
bajadores durante el period 1970-1974. Tal incremento result insufi-
ciente para contrarrestar el descenso experimentado entire los asos 1961
y 1969, product de la reducci6n en las actividades exploratorias de la
industrial petrolera.

Corresponde a la industrial manufacturer la creaci6n de la mitad
de los 221,000 nuevos empleos en el sector industrial. Las actividades
de construcci6n tambign se proyectan con una alta tasa de absorci6n
ocupacional, en el orden de 90,000 personas, como resultado de la crea-
ci6n de nueva infraestructura fisica y de la intensificaci6n de los
programs de vivienda. La generaci6n de empleo en las actividades de
energia sera relativamente baja, en el orden de 22,000 trabajadores,
aunque su incorporaci6n se llevarg a cabo bajo condiciones de elevada

Se espera que gran parte de las nuevas oportunidades ocupacionales
sera generada en el sector de servicios, especialmente en actividades
de distribuci6n y comercializaci6n de la producci6n intermedia y final.
Por Gltimo, el aumento del esfuerzo sociocultural del estado, a trav6s
de programs de educaci6n, sanidad y administraci6n pGblica, incide en
la creacion de fuentes de trabajo.



A manera de resume informative que podria calificarse como eva-
luaci6n a groso modo de los resultados de la political ocupacional, cabe
destacarse los siguientes logros: Entre 1969 y 1973 han sido creados
421,000 empleos, lo cual ha permitido cubrir el equivalent a las
nuevas necesidades y disminuir el nGmero de desempleados existence en
1968. Los resultados del Censo de Poblacion de 1971 revelan que en
ese aio el nGmero de personas ocupadas era de 2,824,361, mientras que
la fuerza de trabajo ascendia a 3,010,148, es decir, existia una tasa
de desempleo de 6.2 por ciento que super la meta de 6.5 por ciento
propuesta para 1974 por el IV Plan de la Naci6n. En la actualidad la
tasa de desempleo se estima en aproximadamente 5 por ciento. Por lo
tanto, cabe concluir que la disminuci6n del desempleo ocurrida en los
Gltimos afos habrg de permitir, con razonable optimism, niveles de
pleno empleo en el pr6ximo period constitutional.




Grupo de Edades (Porcentaje
(Miles) (Porcentaje) Cumulativo)

0 14 4,832 45.1 45.1

15 34 3,464 32.3 77.4

35 64 2,107 19.6 97.0

65 y mis 317 3.0 100.0

Total 10,720 100.0

Fuente: Direcci6n

General de Estadisticas y Censos Na-
"X Censo General de Poblaci6n, 1971",



Poblaci6n 1950 1961 1971 1975 1950 1961 1971 1975
(Miles) (Porcentaie)

Total 5,035 7,524 10,721 12,434 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Urbana 2,412 4,704 8,089 9,867 47.9 62.5 75.5 79.4

Rural 2,623 2,820 2,631 2,567 52.1 37.5 24.5 20.6

Fuentes: Direcci6n General de Estadistica y Censos Nacionales, "VIII Censo Ge-
neral de Poblaci6n, 1950", (Caracas: 1957); "IX Censo General de Po-
blacion, 1961", (Caracas: 1967) y "X Censo General de Poblacion,
1971", (Caracas: 1973).





Ciudades (Porcentaje
(Miles) (Porcentaje) Cumulativo)

Area Metropolitana
de Caracas





San Crist6bal

Ciudad Guayana

La Guayra Maiquetia
Macuto El Litoral

Barcelona Pto. La Cruz



Ciudad Bolivar

2,183.9 20.36



































Fuente: Direccidn General de Estadistica y Censos Nacionales,
"X Censo General de Poblaci6n, 1971", (Caracas: 1973).



Indicadores 1961 1971 Porcentual

Poblaci6n total 7,523 10,721 42.51
(miles de habitantes)

Fuerza de trabajo 2,352 3,009 27.93
(miles de habitantes)

Tasa de actividad 31.26 28.07 -10.20

Ocupados 2,043 2,823 38.18
(miles de habitantes)

Desocupados 309 186 -39.81
(miles de habitantes)

Tasa de desocupaci6n 13.14 6.18 -48.17

Fuentes: Direcci6n General de Estadistica y Censos Nacio-
nales, "IX Censo General de Poblaci6n, 1961",
(Caracas: 1967) y "X Censo General de Poblaci6n,
1971", (Caracas: 1973).




Rama de Actividad 1950 1961 1971
1950 1961 1971 (Indice:
(Miles) 1950 = 100.0)

Agriculture, ganaderia,
silvicultura, caza y pesca

Hidrocarburos y explotaci6n
de minas y canteras

Industries manufacturers


Electricidad, agua, gas y
servicios sanitarios

Comercio e instituciones

Transporte, almacenaje y

Servicios pGblicos y privados

Actividades no bien espe-

Total de la poblaci6n

Poblaci6n desocupada

Total de la fuerza de

704.7 721.2 605.0 102.3 85.9

44.5 45.6 36.4 102.5 81.8













149.7 266.2 365.5 177.8

52.3 96.5 119.6 184.5
















1,598.3 2,042.6 2,823.3 127.8 176.6











Fuentes: Direcci6n General de Estadistica y Censos Nacionales, "VIII
Censo General de Poblaci6n, 1950," (Caracas: 1957); "IX Censo
General de Poblaci6n, 1961," (Caracas: 1967) y "X Censo Gene-
ral de Poblaci6n, 1971," (Caracas: 1973).


Grupo de

15 19

20 24

25 29

30 34

35 39

40 44

45 49

50 54

55 59

60 64

65 y mis

















Fuerza de







































Tasa de













Fuentes: Direcci6n General Estadistica y Censos Nacionaes, "X Censo
General de Poblaci6n, 1971," (Caracas: 1973).


1. Poblaci6n urbana se consider a la que habitat en centros poblados
por 2,500 habitantes y mfs.

2. Enunciado textual del IV Plan de la Naci6n.


William P. McGreevey
The Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.

The Minister's paper and Dr. Ocando's analysis exhibit concern
with integrating the marginal worker into the benefits of the economic
growth which Venezuela has achieved over the past decades. Rapid in-
ternal migration into the Greater Caracas area has produced many
strains on the urban labor market and has exacerbated the problems of
providing adequate housing and public services. In an effort to de-
velop a conceptual framework to analyze broadly similar problems which
beset policymakers in PerG, Professor Richard Webb has developed a
model of labor force change which may be usefully introduced (with
modifications) in an analysis of Venezuelan labor force problems and

The critical feature of the model lies in its division of the
economy and hence the labor force into three components: (1) The
modern sector (MS), characterized by large firms in manufacturing
mining, services, and frequently agriculture; (2) an urban traditional
sector (UTS), consisting of service workers, the self-employed, arti-
sans, and other occupations requiring few skills and education, and
consequently yielding low income; and (3) the rural traditional sector
(RTS), composed of peasant minifundistas, seasonal workers, and share-
croppers, who possess the lowest levels of education and income of the
three groups.

In Figure 1 the members of each of these sectors of the labor
force are arrayed within sectors. Within each sector, income earners
at the left have a higher level of income than income earners at the
right. The specific shapes of the curves depend on wage differentials
the functional distribution of income between profits and wages, the
degree of inequality between and within sectors, and the empirical
decisions made by the analyst to define membership in each of the
three sectors.

In Professor Webb's analysis of Peruvian data between 1950 and
1971, all wage earners in establishments with five or more employees
are included in the modern sector; other non-agricultural workers are
included in the urban traditional sector. Unfortunately, none of the
data presented in Dr. Martini's paper are disaggregated so as to lead

to labor force classification into MS, UTS, and RTS, nor does Dr.
Ocando's discussion of marginality permit an empirical identification
of the quantitative dimension of the problem.

The three-sector model has the advantage of providing an ana-
lytical base from which to begin calculating the dimensions of worker
poverty. It also provides a means of identifying some of the dynamics
of low income in the urban traditional sector. The model poses the
following questions:

1. What is the size (relative as well as absolute) of each sector?
How has it changed over time?

2. What are the wage or income differentials within and among
sectors? How have these differentials behaved over time?

3. To what degree do individuals shift among sectors? What causes
may be adduced to explain intersectoral mobility?

Some of the answers to these questions are offered by Professor Webb
in his analysis of Peruvian data. A summary of these answers is worth
reproducing here in abbreviated form:

1. The UTS economy has been expanding at a rate roughly proportional
to that of the MS, but... contrary to the largely vertical growth
path of the MS, UTS growth has been the result of both employment
expansion and rising average income.

2. These two components have contributed about one-third and two-
thirds, respectively, to total UTS growth between 1950 and 1970.

3. Over the period studied the UTS has been the major recipient of
population growth, growing from one-fourth to two-thirds of the
total labor force; yet, at the same time, average income in the
sector rose at about 2 percent per annum in real terms.

4. Labor incomes have become less equal; families in the upper half
of the 1950 income distribution have by and large enjoyed faster
rates of income growth.

5. Most of the rural population... have become relatively poorer
over the period.

6. The evidence (limited as it is) suggests that stagnation could
only have been the case for a minority of the urban traditional
labor force.

There is of course no a prori way to predict whether-the evo-
lution of the Venezuelan economy has produced similar or distinctly
different patterns of sectoral change when compared with the Peruvian
experience. As Webb notes, the Peruvian economy grew very rapidly
between 1950 and 1966, and such growth may have ameliorated problems
in the UTS by creating a substantial demand for services. The perti-
nence of the three-sector model to popular concepts of marginality
does suggest that this fresh perspective on labor force change would

be useful to policymakers. An investigation designed to estimate the
parameters of the Webb model in the Venezuelan context could probably
be completed in several months by competent Venezuelan social scien-


Great attention is given to the measurement of unemployment and
policies to achieve a low percentage of unemployment in the Venezuelan
labor force. In general, full employment is in itself a laudable ob-
jective; however, the use of crude statistical indicators (the unem-
ployment rate, for example) can lead to misleading conclusions and
undesirable policies. A few of these problems are the following:

1. Although modern sector employment in large establishments makes
possible a clearly definable differentiation between employment
and unemployment, no such clear definition is possible for many
workers in agriculture and in the urban traditional sector.

2. Variations over time in the number and percentage of a population
who define themselves as economically active are at least as
great as the number who define themselves as looking for work but
unable to find it. Fluctuations in the denominator of the unem-
ployment index may thus erase the reliability of the conclusions,
due to changes in the numerator of the product of the two.

3. The "discouraged-worker" hypothesis suggests that workers drop
out of the labor force, i.e., cease to define themselves as
unemployed but looking for work, at precisely the time when
employment opportunities are shrinking.2 The result of their
withdrawal from the labor force can be misinterpreted as an
indication that measured unemployment is declining when real job
opportunities are in fact drying up. Just the opposite is true
during cyclical upturns when the economically inactive re-enter
the labor force, thus making measured unemployment appear to be
a more serious problem that it really is.

These problems with the unemployment rate place it in the same
category with the Dow Jones industrial average: Everyone watches it,
it is not an irrelevant indicator, its importance is much less than
laymen believe, and it should never be used as a guide for policy.
Thus, no meaningful conclusions about the success or failure of govern-
ment policy are warranted on the basis of changes in the unemployment
rate. It follows that little attention ought to be given to specific
goals of reducing the unemployment rate to some specific level such
as 4.5 percent.

Data in the Minister's paper suggest a problem of interpretation
of labor force participation. Table 1 presents the measured unemploy-
ment rate and the percentage of the employed labor force in activities
not well specified between 1950 and 1971. If the pitfalls in the in-
terpretation of the measured unemployment rate are great, so much more
are the efforts to understand the meaning of the striking increase in
the number and percentage of the labor force in activities not well

specified between 1961 and 1971. Such increase could be due to the
growth of unusual, new occupations which have come into existence as
the process of economic growth unfolds. Furthermore, this vague cate-
gory may disguise occupations that workers prefer not to reveal or may
unintentionally hide unemployment. One comprehensive review of Vene-
zuelan economic trends between 1950 and 1969 suggests that the fairly
rapid economic improvements up to 1957 or 1958 were followed by virtual
stagnation in per capital output from 1965 through 1969.3 In large
part such stagnation was due to the rapid rate of population growth
and the effort to expand public-sector educational services to respond
to the needs of dependent age cohorts.

In a similar analysis conducted recently in El Salvador, persons
included in unspecified activities proved to be mostly teenagers who
had not established yet a specific occupational or industrial identi-
ty.4 The rapid increase in the numbers included in this category may
be an indicator of growing delay among the young in determining their
occupations. Such "luxury employment" is more a sign of affluence
than poverty. These observations suggest the desirability of examining
the data with care.

If the unemployment rate is a poor guide to policy, what alterna-
tives exist? Other indicators discussed by Dr. Ocando are the aggre-
gate, sex-specific, and age-specific labor force participation rates.
The data presented in his paper indicate that the male participation
rate declined from 79.4 percent in 1950 to 70.1 percent in 1971. How-
ever, since virtually all change is concentrated in the 10-19 male age
cohort, such decline can be attributed to the choice of more men in
1971 to continue in the educational system than in previous years.

Among males aged 20-24 in 1950, 93.2 percent were in the labor
force. This percentage was 91.7 in 1971. The small drop contrasts
with a striking increase in female labor force participation in the
same age cohort, from 23.5 percent in 1950 to 32.3 percent in 1971.
These changes are analyzed in detail by Bamberger.5 The reduction of
male and increase in female labor force participation is consistent
with an acceptable pattern of labor force compositional change.


Dr. Ocando points out the existence of poor housing quality,
poverty, low levels of educational attainment, and underemployment as
related features of marginality in the Venezuelan labor force. These
problems cannot be approached effectively on a piecemeal basis. The
poor simply cannot afford to raise their consumption of housing
services without also raising their demand for other services. Thus,
any effort to improve housing quality without direct attention to other
services is likely to fail. Similarly, improvements in urban living
standards not matched in rural areas will hasten the pace of rural-to-
urban migration. The linkage between rural and urban labor markets
guarantees that an urban-based program alone can be merely ameliorative
until rural standards of living are raised substantially.

The rural-urban labor market link is complicated for Venezuelan
policymakers by the substantial migration of rural Colombians to
Venezuela. Because many Colombians have no official papers, they are
referred to as indocumentados. There are no reliable estimates of the
number of Colombian-born residents in Venezuela, but Norman Gall con-
tends that "the flow of Colombian indocumentados into Venezuela
appears to have become the largest human migration in South America's
history."6 The numbers, based as they are on conjecture, are by no
means reliable; however, Gall's summary of evidence and opinion is
worth citing in some detail:

The most common estimate given by Venezuelan officials is
that around 500,000 Colombians have entered Venezuela
illegally during the 1960's, and that Colombians and their
children might amount to nearly 10 percent of Venezuela's
total population.... If the United States were to have
proportionately the same problem that Venezuela has with
its Colombian indocumentados, there would be 20 million
instead of 2 million illegal aliens residing in America.7

Colombians can earn in Venezuelan wages three times higher than
they can earn in their own country. Moreover, the departure of
Venezuelan rural workers for the cities leaves open agricultural
opportunities for the Colombian peasantry who leave the overpopulated
and unproductive eastern highlands for the Orinoco plains.

If Colombians constitute approximately 10 percent of the popu-
lation on Venezuelan soil, then the self-selective tendency of
migrants from the young working-age population implies that they in
fact constitute an even higher percentage of the labor force. These
numbers are too large to be ignored and are recognized in the policy
declaration in the Minister's paper:

Procurar que toda la incorporaci6n de fuerza de trabajo del
exterior se realice en el marco de una political de migraci6n
selective y no afecte las posibilidades de trabajo de la
poblaci6n venezolana.

The passage goes on with a recognition of the special problems asso-
ciated with the migration of Colombian unskilled workers across the
border and the implications of such migration for salary levels and
job opportunities for Venezuelans.

However simply the presence of Colombian workers may be construed,
it is too complex a problem to admit of easy solutions. A labor and
employment policy in Venezuela must take into account the likely con-
tinuing immigration of Colombians until Colombia has dealt success-
fully with its unemployment problems. /Dr. Martini's estimate of 6
percent open unemployment in Venezuela in 1971 contrasts sharply with a
measured open unemployment rate of 14 percent presented in the ILO
study of unemployment problems in Colombia/ Although there are seri-
ous difficulties in interpreting measured unemployment rates, the
magnitude of the Colombian-Venezuelan unemployment rate differential,
combined with the wage differential and high rates of disguised