In her well-known 2001 book on The spirit of capitalism: nationalism and economic growth, Liah Greenfeld argues that the dominant historical factor explaining the motivation for economic growth has been nationalism. This is behind the main feature of modern capitalist economic systems, that is, their orientation to growth, as well as the concept of “economic civilization” as the dominant aspect of social life. As implied by its title, the book is informed by Max Weber’s approach to economic sociology. Even if controversial, her thesis has received wide attention (see e.g. Hall 2003; Szlajfer and Chmielewska-Szlajfer 2012, chapter 1). Greenfeld’s case studies are formed by a set of industrialized nations (Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States), with no reference to Latin America or other developing countries. The present note about the Latin American case is largely inspired by Greenfeld’s framework, albeit it is not meant to be a full application to Latin America.