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Bill Black: Why Neo-Liberals Need to Dismiss Latin Americans as “Idiots”

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By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posted from Benzinga

Alvaro Vargas Llosa (AVL) co-authored the Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot with two other journalists. He revisited the subject with an article in 2007 entitled “The Return of the Idiot.”

The “Idiot” species, we suggested, bore responsibility for Latin America’s underdevelopment. Its beliefs — revolution, economic nationalism, hatred of the United States, faith in the government as an agent of social justice, a passion for strongman rule over the rule of law — derived, in our opinion, from an inferiority complex. In the late 1990s, it seemed as if the Idiot were finally retreating. But the retreat was short lived. Today, the species is back in force in the form of populist heads of state who are reenacting the failed policies of the past, opinion leaders from around the world who are lending new credence to them, and supporters who are giving new life to ideas that seemed extinct.

The American writer P.J. O’Rourke recently echoed those themes.

Redistributionist political ideologies, in decline since the fall of the Soviet bloc, are on the rise again. Will you [President Obama] help the neo-Marxists of Latin America redistribute stupidity to their continent?

AVL derides young Latin Americans as idiots, claiming that “they suppress the notion that predation and vindictiveness are wrong.” That claim fails because stopping “predation and vindictiveness” is what drives young Latin American progressives. The authors insult young Latin Americans as “idiots” who embrace “stupidity” because of their “deficient egos.” Unsurprisingly, the Vargas-Llosa clan’s journalists choose to live outside Latin America where they can avoid the Latin Americans they loathe. They prefer to come only at the invitation of the oligarchs. The remarkable fact is that they consider Latin Americans’ overwhelming rejection of their embrace of the predatory oligarchs to be proof that their contempt for the peoples of Latin America is warranted.

AVL dismisses any consideration of the interests of the indigenous peoples of Latin America. Any American or European who disagrees with AVL’s claim that Latin Americans are “idiots” is guilty of “intellectual treason.”

AVL claims that populism inevitably fails and explains Latin America’s economic failures.

The legacy of these policies is clear: Nearly half the population of Latin America is poor, with more than 1 in 5 living on $2 or less per day. And 1 to 2 million migrants flock to the United States and Europe every year in search of a better life.”

AVL has given us the ruler by which he says we must judge the success of leaders. Changes in poverty and emigration rates are the standard.

AVL divides Latin American leaders and citizens who he opposes (the majority of Latin Americans) into “vegetarians” (Brazil, Uruguay, and Costa Rica) and “carnivores.” His hate and contempt for those he labels carnivores consumes him.

By contrast, the ‘carnivorous’ left is represented by Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, and Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. They cling to a Marxist view of society and a Cold War mentality that separates North from South, and they seek to exploit ethnic tensions, particularly in the Andean region.

AVL claims that the idiocy of most Latin Americans creates a “tension” that blocks the adoption of neo-liberal economic ideologies that are transforming the world. Recall that he was writing in mid-April 2007 – when many of the economies he was praising were already catastrophic failures – but were clueless that they were already doomed.

Despite some progress in recent years, this tension is holding back Latin America’s development in comparison to other regions of the world — such as East Asia, the Iberian Peninsula, or Central Europe — that not long ago were examples of backwardness. Latin America’s annual GDP growth has averaged 2.8 percent in the past three decades — against Southeast Asia’s 5.5 percent, or the world average of 3.6 percent.

What European countries did the neo-liberals single out for special praise? The Cato Institute, as late as 2007, was singing the praises of Iceland and Ireland. They had both switched from having heavy government involvement in the economy to extreme neo-liberal policies.

In August 2007, a Cato publication claimed:

Iceland’s economic renaissance is an impressive story. Supply-side reforms’—ie tax cuts—‘along with policies, such as privatisation and deregulation, have yielded predictable results; Incomes are rising, unemployment is almost non-existent, and the government is collecting more revenue from a larger tax base.

On March 16, 2007 – a year after the Irish property bubbles collapsed – the neo-liberal experts cited Ireland as the example of the success of their policies.

Ireland [...] boasts the fourth highest gross domestic product per capita in the world. In the mid-1980s, Ireland was a backwater with an average income level 30% below that of the European Union. Today, Irish incomes are 40% above the EU average. Was this dramatic change the luck of the Irish? Not at all. It resulted from a series of hard-headed decisions that shifted Ireland from big government stagnation to free market growth.

The Icleandic and Irish economic “miracles” of the last decade proved to be the product of large scale “accounting control frauds” that hyper-inflated bubbles and produced catastrophic crises and deep recessions despite international aid.

AVL gave special praise to the nations of central Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. What did the move of these nations to the far more extreme neo-liberal economic policies championed by AVL and his father in the last decade produce? Recall that AVL and his father should be more familiar with the Iberian economies than any other in the world.

Unemployment in Spain is 25%, with youth/young adult unemployment at 55.9%.

Portugal’s unemployment rate is 15.8%, and the unemployment rate for youth/young adult is 39.1%. Portuguese and Spanish unemployment are at record highs and have been increasing rapidly.

Spain, Portugal, and Ireland are triple-victims of neo-liberal economic dogmas. Their crises were caused by neo-liberal financial policies and then greatly compounded by the neo-liberal dogma of inflicting austerity on nations in recession and the inept neo-liberal design of the euro. Austerity in response to a recession is the economic analog to the once common medical malpractice of bleeding a patient.

Overall, Latin America’s economic performance has become far superior to the Eurozone.

Latin America’s economies are growing at a rate of more than 3 per cent, while those of Spain and Portugal are expected to shrink by 1.5 and 3 per cent, respectively, this year.

Latin America’s unemployment rate is 6.5 per cent, while Spain’s and Portugal’s have soared to 25 and 16 per cent, respectively.

Ecuador’s Performance

I described Ecuador’s economic success under President Correa in several prior columns.

The most recent figure I found for Ecuadorian unemployment in 2012 was 4.6%. The most recent figure for unemployment of those 15-24 years old is from 2009 when it was 14.1%. In 2009, the overall unemployment rate was 7.3%, so it is likely that unemployment of those 15-24 years old has fallen materially. These are remarkable results, but it is astounding that a nation that was synonymous with severe emigration attained a negative emigration balance no later than 2009 (I do not have data for when the rate first turned negative) and has maintained it for several years. That means that more people move to Ecuador than leave it. Ecuador now ranks a spectacular 137 compared to other nations in this category. [My source for migration data is the CIA World Fact book – a delicious irony given the CIA’s dim view of Correa.]

-0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137

The article shows that Ireland and Italy now have very high emigration rates (respectively, the 43rd and 22nd worst in the world). The CIA World Fact book shows that Spain and Portugal have, respectively, the 19th and 28th worst emigration rates in the world.

Conclusion

We have run what economists refer to as a “natural experiment.” At the same time that Latin Americans were overwhelmingly rejecting key neo-liberal aspects of the Washington Consensus the Eurozone and the United States moved rapidly in the opposite direction by adopting ever more extreme neo-liberal dogmas. These dogmas created what criminologists refer to as a criminogenic environment – an environment where the incentives are so perverse that they can produce epidemics of “control fraud.” These fraud epidemics directly drove the financial crises in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Iceland and indirectly triggered crises by causing global systemic shocks. AVL does not wish to discuss the predation by the world’s most elite bankers.

The loss of the young (through emigration), employment, output, income, and wealth and the growth of poverty and inequality that resulted from the most extreme neo-liberal policies are staggering. In the U.S., over 10 million Americans lost their jobs or could not obtain jobs that would have been produced by a healthy economy. Spanish unemployment is nearly 5 million. The crisis is so great that it is now common for Irish and Italian citizens to emigrate as soon as they earn their university degrees. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission reported that the loss of U.S. wealth in the household sector alone was estimated at over $12 trillion – a trillion is a thousand billion.

More recent studies have demonstrated the scope of the losses.

The average American family’s net worth dropped almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, according to a triennial study released Monday by the Federal Reserve.

The stunning drop in median net worth — from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 — indicates that the recession wiped away 18 years of savings and investment by families.

Making matters worse, income levels also fell during the tumultuous three-year period, with median pre-tax income falling 7.7% as earnings from capital gains all but disappeared.

In all of this, Ecuador under President Correa has been a beacon of hope and success. Ecuadorians are “voting with their feet” to stay in or return to Ecuador. The one thing that AVL and his famous father will never forgive Correa for is his success. It is easy to dismiss those who disagree with you when they fail, but Correa has succeeded under the standards that AVL wrote in 2007 should be used to measure economic success. It is the countries and neo-liberal policies that AVL and his father praised that blew up the world’s economy and harmed nations like Ecuador. It is Colombia and Mexico, nations that AVL and his father praise as the models for Latin America, which are experiencing significant emigration.

AVL and his father could have responded to Ecuador’s gains in economics, political stability, and migration and the enormous support that polls find for Correa among Ecuadorians by praising Correa for his achievements in the factors that AVL said should be used to judge the success of Latin American leaders. Instead, they sought to do everything they could to defeat Correa. Failing that, they denounce Latin Americans as “idiots” because they support Correa’s successful policies and reject the failed neo-liberal dogmas that blew up the global economy. It is unclear to me why Ecuadorians’ support for successful policies and rejection of disastrous policies constitutes “idiocy” or “stupidity.”

AVL’s and his father’s support for the predatory oligarchs of Latin America and their increasing willingness to ignore their murderous assaults on the people of Latin America during the dirty wars demonstrates that they have become what they denounce. They are the European intellectuals who now whitewash inconvenient facts about the oligarchs out of their polemics in order to blame the “idiocy” of the peoples of Latin America for all the ills of Latin America. Latin Americans, however, are demonstrating their wisdom by rejecting the failed dogmas of those who loathe them and their democratically elected leaders.

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38 comments

  1. timotheus

    I am reminded of father Mario VL’s long piece in Harper’s some years ago in which he patiently laid out the cultural/ psychological reasons why the Incas were overrun by Pizarro. It basically came down to: the natives were just inferior. Not surprising coming from a member of the Peruvian elite, and as you have often said, one cannot make fun of self-parody.

  2. JDM

    Using the age-old “it takes one to know one” rule, AVL sounds like the perfect person to recognize a Latin American idiot.

  3. pegnu

    Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and Greece, etc are also victims of the Euro which is another idealogical failure. Their suffering would not be as catastophic if they were outside the Euro.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Certainly the prevailing currency regime is significant. Nowhere in his lengthy rant does Bill Black even mention that Ecuador dollarized in March 2000, thus avoiding the chronic inflation that plagues currency-printing regimes such as Venezuela and Argentina.

      Of course, dollarization can be a millstone around the neck of a developing economy which lacks the productivity to make its exports competitive with dollar-based prices. Some dollarized LatAm economies have succeeded (Panama being a long-term example) while others (e.g. Argentina during the 1:1 era of the Nineties) did not.

    2. Systemic Disorder

      Very true. Countries like Greece and Spain have to achieve all their austerity internally because they don’t have their own currencies to devalue, which would do a significant part of the (imposed) job otherwise. Argentina’s path out of its early 2000s crisis was not only paying about 30 percent of its debt but releasing its peso from the dollar peg. Short-term pain when the currency loses three-fourths of its value, but in less than a year Argentina had begun to get back on its feet.

      1. Max424

        In fact, it’s such a fine frog that –Yves, are you out there?– I’d like to nominate pegnu’s frog for Antidote of the Month.

    1. Aquifer

      He hopped over from another site – methinks perhaps he WAS trying, as Max suggests, to achieve iconic antidote status – there is quite a competition out there for that, you know …

  4. notexactlyhuman

    For the same reasons we labeled American Indians dumb savages and all Arabs terrorists; they natives have things American industrialists want, preferably without having to pay for those things, thus necessitating a campaign to marginalize and dehumanize.

  5. Chris Rogers

    Bill Sir,

    The majority of Latin America’s ills can be attributed to European and US interference over the course of 5 centuries topped off by Madison’s US gauntlet to European powers in the 1820′s and associated power grabs thereafter – obviously such neo-colonialism benefited many a capitalist whilst denying the local populace any rights whatsoever.

    As we have seen with the Washington consenus inspired attacks upon Cuba, Nicuragua, venezuala and most recently, Argentina, any nation that adopts a more egalitarian form of socioeconomic governance is accused of multiple crimes against the prevailing international economic consensus – obviously large inequality being deemed positive by a capracious global ruling elite more concerned in the welfare of its bank accounts rather than the populace at large.

    Indeed, given the present ideologically driven global economic consensus, it amazes me that the leaders of this madness have not parked battle fleets off these miscre

  6. Chris Rogers

    Bill Sir,

    The majority of Latin America’s ills can be attributed to European and US interference over the course of 5 centuries topped off by Madison’s US gauntlet to European powers in the 1820′s and associated power grabs thereafter – obviously such neo-colonialism benefited many a capitalist whilst denying the local populace any rights whatsoever.

    As we have seen with the Washington consenus inspired attacks upon Cuba, Nicuragua, venezuala and most recently, Argentina, any nation that adopts a more egalitarian form of socioeconomic governance is accused of multiple crimes against the prevailing international economic consensus – obviously large inequality being deemed positive by a capracious global ruling elite more concerned in the welfare of its bank accounts rather than the populace at large.

    Indeed, given the present ideologically driven global economic consensus, it amazes me that the leaders of this madness have not parked battle fleets off these miscreant nations in an effort to force them to embrace neoliberalism and all the socials ills this produces – notwithstanding the fact of covert operations being undertaken by the CIA and its associated agencies of an imperialist USA.

    1. Max424

      “…it amazes me that the leaders of this madness have not parked battle fleets off these miscreant nations in an effort to force them to embrace neoliberalism…”

      The battle fleets really don’t need to park anymore, as they can quickly steam in just before the action starts, or sit back and strike you from 800 miles out.

      These days, it’s military bases that do the real intimidating. It’s sometimes overlooked, due to the fact that over last decade, at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, we’ve built perhaps as many as a thousand temporary/permanent military bases into the sands of the middle-East, but we have begun to weave a sophisticated and extensive base structure into the fabric of the Southern Hemisphere.

      For example, 7 brand new hyper-modern military encampments were recently rooted into the soils of the República de Colombia by the government of the United States. I wonder what those are for. OH!

      Hi Hugo! Also, don’t forget, hi Colombia! And really, say hello … any other miscreants in the vicinity.

      1. Susan the other

        Interesting about Colombia’s US bases. Drugs probably will be legalized. I wonder if it is true, as Chavez, claims that the US gave him cancer. Why didn’t they just give him polonium? David Cameron sent a ship to the Falklands. Wonder what AVL will say about the PRI returning to Mexico, now after Mexico is a failed state. The son probably won’t be as flexible as the father intellectually. I keep thinking about Mitt Romney’s campaign comment that he would “go into Latin America.” I wonder if giving a US campaign speech is as satisfying as talking to a chicken coop full of hens.

        1. Max424

          “I keep thinking about Mitt Romney’s campaign comment that he would “go into Latin America.””

          Yeah I think Mitt and the neo-cons –really everyone in Washington, including Obama– pines for the days when we could send in a single Marine battalion, march on the embassy of the take-your-pick Banana Republic, replace the foolishly insolent regime that we had previously installed, then march out again knowing everything would be safe for Chiquita –at least for a spell, or until we had to do it again.

          Nowadays, it seems, we need several divisions plus air power to get anything done.

          Note: I made this prediction several year ago: should Hugo Chavez ever be supplanted by by a leader/faction/party that occupies political space even slightly to left of him, we will invade Venezuela within three months.

          But now that the United States has made the decision to surround the country, my new prediction is: the US will attack Venezuela sometime before 2020, regardless of who is in power.

          Drilling in the Arctic and fracking are to major Western oil companies, as a thimble of broth is to a starving man. Venezuela, on the other hand, represents heaping portions of meat and potatoes, plus an almost inexhaustible supply of free seconds and sweet deserts (i.e. profits).

          This is no longer about insignificant bananas and coffee, this is about oil –not only acquiring it, but just as importantly, keeping it from the Chinese.

          In the future, if you have oil, and the US sets its eyes on you before China can establish a “full” presence, you’re doomed.

          1. different clue

            WhoEVer buys and burns that oil, we are semi-doomed regardless. Global Warming, you know.

            I believe there is an “Alberta Tar Sandload” of thick gummy tar somewhere around some part of the Orinoco River.
            I wonder how much digging and burning all that tar will Warm the Global.

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Susan, for Castro and friends is reserved that special cancer virus brew made in a blender by Judith Baker in the “home” of David Ferrie on Louisiana Avenue under the auspices of that great Anti-Communist, Alton Ochsner, M.D. (See on YouTube the very Judith Baker speaking of the love of her life, Lee Harvey Oswald, and also “Dr. Mary’s Monkey” for acute understanding of these matters.)

        1. Goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

          It was Correa. But in fact he didn’t kick them out – he just refused to renew the treaty that allowed the base to be established, forcing the US military to leave.

  7. Klassy!

    Don’t we need the Naftas to stomp out the narcos? Take it from someone who has a long history of being oh so right about the benefits of neoliberalism?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/opinion/02friedman.html
    Wish it was easier to search the archives– I remember years ago reading an article in the same paper about the grim ascetism of Sweden (represented by a teacher who was forced to pack a lunch consisting of a sandwich made with brown bread and wrapped in wax paper! with the carefree cafe lifestyle of Spain– apparently neoliberalism is responsible for a sunnier and outdoor dining friendly climate too.
    It would be bad enough if this crap were limited to the CATOs of the world, but they need their minions in the mainstream press to sell it.

  8. Capo Regime

    AVL is what is known in Mexico as a “Malinchista”. This is in effect a sell out to outsiders who also is somewhat self loathing. I

    ts interesting to chat with immigrants (legal and illegal) from South, Central America and Mexico. Perspective is of course everything. Most central americans are glad to get out of that chaos created by U.S. policies, many south americans and mexicans are actually stunned at the corruption and nastiness of life in the U.S. Increasinlgy, the old saw of wanting to become like the U.S. is somewhat laughable in many quarters. For many now in the U.S. the notion of assimilation is also unappealing–get some cash and get out of this madhouse is the attitude of many.

  9. priestcapper manque

    Alvarito’s just mad because he always thought that by now he would be a big shot, flossing dissident’s teeth with electrified copper wire. But there’s a shortage of caudillos to suck up to now.

    1. Ruben

      Thats’s true. Alvarito could never recover from the defeat of his father at the hands of Fujimori a few presidential elections back. They just couldn’t believe they lost to a lower kind of charlatan.

  10. jsmith

    Here’s an interesting blog about the neoliberal fascist scum Llosa when he won the Nobel Prize – snicker – that touches upon his “conversion” to neoliberal wad-licker.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laplaza/2010/10/mario-vargas-llosa-reaction-criticism-latin-america.html

    He just hates dicatorships of both the left and right variety!

    Why I bet his moral equivalency alone got him the NP, eh?

    Tercera via!

    For a refresher on how renowned artists can be fascist scum, here’s a nice little essay on fellow Spaniard Salvador Dali, fascist.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2003/12/06/salvador-dali-fascist/

    1. Goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

      It’s Vargas Llosa – Vargas is his paternal family name, while Llosa is his maternal one.

      The sad, almost unquestionable fact is that Mario Vargas Llosa lost his way around the 80′s. The intellectual/ideological rot was also reflected in the worsening quality of his literary output, which has mostly been limited to historical novels of dubious merit and quality. He’s at his worst when trashing Latin Americans who happen to elect people like Correa: he claims to stand against dictatorship, but literally blows his top when the people vote for the wrong guy. For MVLL and his mentally challenged son, it is democracy as long as THEIR guy wins! What’s worse, this losing fight is taking a toll on Mario’s health – just look how old and decrepit he looks. He will soon be competing with King Juan Carlos in the race to early onset senility. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the increasing amount of non-sense prevailing in his thought is a product of Alzheimers, as it was with Vidal’s “triumph of the embalmer’s art.”

  11. lawtread

    jsmith,

    Thanks for the link to the CP article on Dali. The fascists and cowards are everywhere…..

  12. BondsOfSteel

    Wow.. I had to check to see if it was April 1st.

    Sure, title is offensive. But I thought that was just some sort of Anti-PC way of getting attention. Call someone you don’t like or disagree with a name. It’s not an intelligent argument, but it gets eyeballs.

    Then, I read the content. Does it actually say that _all_ young Latin American youths are idiots?

    ‘AVL derides young Latin Americans as idiots, claiming that “they suppress the notion that predation and vindictiveness are wrong.”’

    OMG. Yes it does. It even implies this is genetic and not socialogical, refering to them as a species and indigenous peoples. WTF? How can this not be racist?

    I went to the first source, the AVL article. It clearly implies that the “idiot species” is a retorical phrase, the Idiot always capitalized and used as a sub-group within the set of all Latin Americans. Hmmm. Did the author miss that?

    Then I went to the second source. PJ O’Rourke. Haha. No one that quotes PJ O’Rourke can ever be serious. That was a good one… haha. You really had me going!

  13. Kokuanani

    ***”The loss of the young (through emigration) “***

    Where on earth do the young go?

    Is there anywhere on earth that provides needed jobs and a social safety net?

  14. Adams

    Good post. Wanders about a little and doesn’t close some of the threads it starts. Victim of fitting book length set of issues into a brief post.

    So let me pile on with my own little digressive obsession.

    No discussion of LA politics and economics is complete, IMHO, without a more explicit denunciation of US complicity in oligarchic LA rule than a mention of the Monroe Doctrine. Subverting indigenous movements, brutally suppressing actual popular democracy, extracting resources, actively supporting military coups and rule including murder, torture and “disappearances”,and very deliberately derailing internal economic development is a very incomplete list of US “support” for Latin America. But special mention on the economic front goes Milton Friedman’s Chicago Boys.

    These purveyors of their own special brand of neo-liberalism rushed to the aid of the brutal Pinochet regime before the victims of the US supported (if not inspired) overthrow of Allende were buried. They traveled to far away places for fun, profit, and resume building, ignoring the horrific suffering of that earlier class of “Idiots” who believed in democratic socialism and opposed corporate control of government and everyday life.

    The lives lost in this particular example of US exceptionalist imperial intervention should never be forgotten. And the perpetrators, rationalizers, and supporters of this horrific crime: spooks, militarists, and intellectuals, should not either be overlooked.

    1. Susan Pizzo

      True all ‘dat. But that past is not past. It was prelude and, as Naomi Klein has pointed out, the model has been continuously refined. The lily pads in Colombia bring to mind the ‘success’ of the latest iteration of the neoliberal experiment in Greece as well as the factional infighting in Africa where rumors of resource wars do seem to correlate with another crop of lily pads. What cannot be achieved internally will be assisted externally. Naked aggression is the silent (senior?) partner of naked capitalism…

    2. Stopping Chavez Illegally

      If Chavez dies, the Government of Venuzuela needs to assemble a preeminent international autopsy team. They will find out whether the US government’s hard work paid off.

  15. steve from virginia

    I like Ecuador, I have spent a fair amount of time in the country. Ecuadorians are not intensely ‘political’ the way Americans are because life is short and there are better things to do than argue about abstractions.

    Ecuador is a success b/c it exports petroleum not because of its ‘economic policy’ (it’s a member of OPEC).

    Ecuador’s establishment favors extraction enterprises: agriculture, minerals, oil production and commodity sales to China provides foreign exchange earnings. Ecuador sells petroleum to the US, it also uses the US dollar as currency. Things in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru are more complex than simply embrace or rejection of this or that economic theory.

    There are still hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians living and working in the US … sending remittances back to Ecuador. Seeing someone with a big house in a small town like Ambato or Riobamba is a sign that the family has a member working in the US.

    Peru has become a Chinese client state, it is ‘prosperous’ but China rapes the country’s resource base.

    Ecuador has a lot going for it, but its embrace of USA lifesytle and the automobile means the country will have severe adjustments to make as the world’s fuel supplies begin to contract — permanently — next year.

    Population explosion, ‘development’ in Amazonia (particularly by Brazil), global warming and poor agriculture techniques are desertifying large areas of the country, particularly the highlands.

    Best to take note of the ‘Indigenistas’ who ignore the government, don’t speak Spanish, keep to themselves … who live more or less the same way as they have for 5,000 years. They’ll endure while the Americanized citizens w/ big houses, cars, TVs and other junk will fall by the wayside.

    1. Goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

      “…will have severe adjustments to make as the world’s fuel supplies begin to contract — permanently — next year.”

      Peak oil won’t be helped by easy doomsday forecasts relying on numbers and words that can fit a bumper sticker. I remember when 2005 was the year being passed about. The world didn’t end and the supplies went on growing. *Which doesn’t mean they will keep doing so.*

      You are spot on about Ecuadorean’s very Americanized, consumerist, car-crazy culture, but oil supply constraints will also mean much higher oil prices, so the ball’s on Correa’s (and Ecuadoreans) court, to come up with and support (i.e.: higher taxes) a plan to cut oil consumption through big public mass transportation projects, specially rail with Chinese money.

  16. rotter

    PJ orourke LOL…i thought that koch whore was dead. There are koch whores and then there is pee jay. Sucked from the bottom of a bottle of segrams 7 with the coke spoon still embedded up his nose – the National lampoon days – and put to work lying, slandering and writing sell copy for his libertarian sugar daddys. A vicious right wing hack with a sense of humor that played to the frat boys. Now he dosent even have his sense of humor, hes merely vicious,dick army style, embittered, and most patheic he completely believes all the bile he cynically choked up for all those yesrs. I cant wait to read his obituary

  17. felix

    As a Latin American I couldn’t care less about being “dismissed as an idiot” by neo-liberals, by the State Department, by Wall Street, by the White House, by the CIA, the NYT, the U.S. Congress or Fox news. Quite the contrary, it is the praise from all these people, or any of them, the most dangerous thing to us, the one we have to be watchful about, as it means we are doing something terribly wrong, against our best interest. And that’s the best way to know when we are doing things right: the most angry they are at us, the best we are doing for ourselves.

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