Why I endorsed Evo Morales

by on September 2, 2014 at 1:30 am in Economics, History, Law, Political Science | Permalink

Well, “endorsed” isn’t exactly the right word, but I did say “simpatizante.”  Here are my views:

1. I disagree with most of his economic policy, for reasons you can find stated in Adam Smith and the other classical economists.

2. Governments work very hard to stay in power.

3. In a weighted average of public opinion sense, I think of Bolivia as about 60-70% “indigenous,” one way or another.

4. If a Bolivian government is not strongly connected to the country’s indigenous population, that government cannot have a strong base.  Yet it will still work hard to stay in power (#2), which will mean it will resort to oppressions and distortions, with high long-run costs.  Bolivian history has seen an especially large number of coups and attempted coups, illustrating this weakness of the power base, which you can think of as the major problem in historical Bolivian public choice.  Think of Mancur Olson on permanent vs. temporary bandits, where most of the past bandits have been temporary, and thus Bolivian governance has been of extremely low quality, even relative to its region.

5. The government of Evo Morales is quite popular and pretty stable.  It has a strong and enduring power base, partly because of its specific policies and partly for symbolic reasons, such as its strong and explicit attachment to indigenous culture and “cosmovisions,” a notion newly embedded in the nation’s constitution.

6. The stability gains from #5 — the permanency of the bandit so to speak — exceed the costs from #1.

7. A democratic Bolivia will have “an indigenous government” sooner or later, better sooner.  Let’s hope they learn some better economic policy.  Something like the Morales government was in any case a necessary step, again without denying #1.

8. Bolivia is too decentralized for the Morales government to collapse into true dictatorship and Chavismo of Venezuela.  That said, I would feel better if it were assured that the Morales government were to be limited in term.

9. See also my reasons why I am optimistic about Bolivia, including their fiscal prudence, supported by Morales I might add.

I made this argument to an audience of elite Bolivians and elite Bolivian students.  Some of them hated it, some of them really liked it.  A speaker should usually try to shake up his or her listeners in some manner.

1 libert September 2, 2014 at 1:59 am

Not PC.

2 david September 2, 2014 at 3:37 am

isn’t it? substitute “working class” for “indigenous”, referring to the swathe of the population that are not part of a relatively globalized, cosmopolitan social elite with numerous personal ties to Europe and America. The use of ‘indigenous’ here instead is an acknowledgment of a number of Bolivia-specific cultural notions, but otherwise it is a social conflict that is familiar to the West’s own history during the long 19th.

3 Brett September 2, 2014 at 2:31 am

For Morales or any future President and Bolivian government to introduce better economic policies and maintain prudence, they pretty much have to have a strong base in the overall population (sort of like Lula da Silva’s presidency down in Brazil). Otherwise necessary reforms and short-term difficult policies will just be seen as illegitimate and become the basis for being demagogued against.

In general, South America is basically having to learn their own way towards the benefits of more capitalistic, market-oriented economies with their own national “spins” on it, since so much of the past policy (and present) is tainted by the connection to prior US imperialism and the hated caricature they call “neoliberalism”.

4 Adrian Ratnapala September 2, 2014 at 3:29 am

Is it US imperialism or is just just another caricature? The Philippines, Puerto Rico and Texas have all experienced US imperialism of some kind, as have others. But can Bolivia or any other South American country honestly claim the same?

5 Moreno Klaus September 2, 2014 at 3:42 am

There are some obvious examples like Chile…

6 Adrian Ratnapala September 2, 2014 at 5:01 am

Chile is not a particularly obvious example to me. Can you explain further.

7 Axa September 2, 2014 at 7:56 am
8 eric September 2, 2014 at 8:19 am

He probably means the time Kissinger and the CIA overthrew the democratically elected President, but there’s other stuff, too.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_intervention_in_Chile

9 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 9:27 am

Whatever he means, neither Kissinger nor the CIA ‘overthrew’ the abusive Salvador Allende. The Chilean military overthrew Allende because they and every sector of political and economic life outside of Allende’s political factions were fed up with him. The Institute for Policy Studies and other agitprop centers have been trying to sell the meme for forty years that someone other than Allende and his allies were responsible for Chile’s problems. The precipitating event of the 1973 coup was not some set of machinations between business elites and foreign intelligence services. It was a trucker’s strike.

10 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 9:28 am

Some historical fraud gets into Wikipedia and that’s good enough for you.

11 Ignacio Concha September 2, 2014 at 9:31 am

There is a widespread confusion about the USA and Allende. Kissinger and the CIA tried to stop Allende from being elected, but they failed. They later provided some funding to some opposition groups, but it was not a lot and certainly not the cause of his downfall. In fact, the military takeover of the government was wholly a domestic affair, without US involvement.

And even if the US had successfully intervened in the overthrown of Allende, it is a far cry from saying that Chile was a victim of US imperialism. Allende was going to fall eventually by domestic causes (as it did). In addition, The US very quickly became unfriendly to Pinochet, for example, passing a ban of arms sales only a few years later, at a moment in which Chile faced the double threat of Argentina and Peru.

12 Adrian Ratnapala September 2, 2014 at 9:50 am

Axa, I read that Wiki page before posting my request for clarification. But even taking that page without any grain of salt, all it says is that the US engaged in underhanded foreign meddling at various points. That’s not the same as having an empire. Although it probably is enough to justify Brett’s original comment that US meddling could have given capitalism a bad name.

13 CD September 2, 2014 at 11:28 am

Yes – Art Deco you can safely ignore, but Ignacio Concha has it right. The threat of a military coup had been hanging over Chile since the 1950s. Official U.S. attitudes may have had some influence at the margin, but the coup was a Chilean event. There’s a tendency on both left and right to overstate U.S. government influence abroad when it suits their purposes.

14 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Go ahead and ignore me. He’s still bloody wrong.

15 Sam Haysom September 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Pinochet was American. Never would have guessed. Was he a first generation American?

16 mitr September 2, 2014 at 3:49 am

I would love to hear your view on Thailand and its dictators.

17 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 10:19 am

Libertarians are all in favor of sex tourism.

18 Matthew Pollock September 2, 2014 at 4:14 am

Locals tend to be irritated by outside lecturers explaining to them what they should do, because the locals know the issues only too well – they live them, and daily bump up against the constraints – and they may justifiably be irritated by the outsider thinking that in stating the obvious, he is adding something.

When the outsider believes he is “challenging” he is often covering the most obvious ground, sometimes with the added problem of not “getting” the local constraints.

I speak from a Philippine perspective, but the problem is common to third world countries receiving visiting, ahem, experts.

19 andrew' September 2, 2014 at 4:40 am

A difference here is most of Cowen’s info here is forest, not trees.

20 Millian September 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

While outsider lectures probably make domestic elites feel hurt in status terms, this ignores the power that incentives and groupthink can have in inculcating wrong opinions among elites, despite their greater closeness to domestic topics.

21 Arjun September 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Judging by my understanding of the term “elite”, Cowen was likely speaking to people who are more or less his peers in terms of class, ideology, and life experiences, and who have more in common with the global elite in general than they do with the majority of Bolivia’s population. From this perspective, Cowen is hardly an “outside lecturer”, unless we also recognize that Bolivian elites are also essentially “outsiders”.

22 Lorenzo from Oz September 2, 2014 at 5:04 am

The link to previous post is not working.

23 Anon September 2, 2014 at 8:11 am

Try it again ; it is now.

24 Andreas Moser September 2, 2014 at 6:25 am

Sometimes, there are more important aspects to a government than its economic policy.

25 Athrelon September 2, 2014 at 6:48 am

The Straussian context of this post, of course, echoes Thiel: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/education-libertarian

26 Andrew' September 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I see this differently. Since the movement was already not new when I got on board I have never expected it to be easy or to make quick progress. So, I am not disillusioned with that.

On the government side, we have espionage laws only targeted against whistleblowers, FBI terror stings only targeted against made up plots used to scare the public into support, spying on the citizens and a president who as lied to fight a rearguard action against a democracy finally becoming aware to the government undermining the knowledge required for democracy.

We have only begun to run the experiment.

27 mulp September 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm

You, of course, have been saying and getting others to agree “I would rather be killed by a terrorist than to see one terrorist denied his liberty to plots and buy guns and bombs under the 2nd amendment to commit mass murder:.

After all, the tree of liberty is watered by the blood of the patriots killed by criminals who are innocent from plotting to committing to arrest and trial and only guilty and thus lose their liberty after they are convicted by a jury of their peers.

Right?

Everyone involved in 9/11 is innocent except for the few convicted a decade later as being involved in a conspiracy.

And the right to a speedy trial means all those in gitmo need to be set free. Right? They are persons who the Bill of Rights give liberty rights to.

28 Andrew' September 2, 2014 at 2:31 pm

mulp,

Stop being a dumbass.

I just said that they are not doing that. They are using what you are talking about to justify control.

Prove me wrong. Show me real plots foiled by the FBI. Show me real espionage or NSA foild plots and not whistleblowers.

I’m not standing between you and Google. Dispute anything I say any time anywhere ever.

29 Andrew' September 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Actually, I can’t even understand what you are saying, so I’ll hold off on adding you to the list of people who owe me long, wet, sloppy ones for now.

30 James Madison and krew September 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm

The tension was not lost on us.

31 dearieme September 2, 2014 at 7:10 am

“A speaker should usually try to shake up his or her listeners in some manner.” Especially if he plans to piss off back to the comfort, security and complacency of the First World shortly thereafter.

32 Ray Lopez September 2, 2014 at 7:17 am

Do you believe that you should give the audience what they want? Tell them what they want to hear? It earns you applause and is the traditional way of speech giving. Very popular with politicians, business figureheads and religious leaders everywhere and in Asia in particular. But in the Western academic tradition TC is right not to be PC, speech-wise.

33 Ray Lopez September 2, 2014 at 7:14 am

TC says: “6. The stability gains from #5 — the permanency of the bandit so to speak — exceed the costs from #1.” – so TC puts an emphasis on stability. But, taken to the extreme, it would justify the following un-free empires: (1) the Byzantine Empire, which lasted roughly 1000 years (until 1453 AD), and had rigid wage and price controls, as well as hereditary castes for occupations, and, (2) the Mughal Empire, which lasted 300 years until the 19th century, and had a small number of elites governing the entire country, as well as a caste system (it inherited), later the British did the same thing in India for a couple of hundred years, and, arguably, (3) Cuba and North Korea.

Now you may quibble that (2) and (3) were not supported by the people, but that still leaves (1). Do you favor stability over economic growth? Then you would like to be a courier in Byzantium. I bet other examples exist maybe certain Chinese dynasties that sacrificed growth for stability (the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), which shunned globalization).

34 mpowell September 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Wait, the Byzantine Empire had democratic legitimacy? News to me. There is basically nothing to your critique once you understand the purpose of having a government with democratic legitimacy. It is about more than just stability.

35 Larry Siegel September 4, 2014 at 3:18 am

You mean a courtier? I don’t want to be a courier anywhere – too much running.

36 Axa September 2, 2014 at 8:22 am

Evo Morales started in 2006. Until 1985 Bolivia was under an army dictatorship. Between 1985 and 2006 there were 10 presidents in Bolivia along economic crises, gas & water wars, war on drugs, and hyperinflation. Is 8 years of stability after 30+ years of turmoil that bad?

Follow the ideals no matter what or a little bit of pragmatism?

37 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 9:22 am

Evo Morales started in 2006. Until 1985 Bolivia was under an army dictatorship. Between 1985 and 2006 there were 10 presidents in Bolivia along economic crises, gas & water wars, war on drugs, and hyperinflation. Is 8 years of stability after 30+ years of turmoil that bad?

No, the military departed office in 1982 and never returned. For the period running from 1978-82, there was a factional infighting in the military between constitutionalist officers (Gen. David Padilla &c) and others. There were no breaches of institutional continuity after 1982. There were five presidents from 1982 to 2001, coming and going like clockwork. One consented to a constitutional amendment to abbreviate his term by a year and one resigned a year early due to a terminal illness. The ‘instability’ you saw after 2001 was largely instigated by Morales himself.

38 Axa September 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Fine, 2001 and beyond instability was caused by Morales. What about the hyperinflation? Also Morales?

39 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Bolivia has not had a severe problem with inflation since 1986, which is to say since a point in time a dozen years before Morales was a consequential electoral politician. The annual rate of consumer price increase has been in the low single digits since 1999.

40 mulp September 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm

So, the majority of Bolivians were well served by their government?

41 Orwell September 2, 2014 at 8:33 am

Do you also endorse the following policies by that regime: The destruction of all pre-existing institutions that supported checks and balances: the judiciary, the constitution, the make-up of congress. All of which were re-designed to ensure that there is no real “choice” for bolivians in the present or future? Using the judiciary to persecute all potential political challengers or anyone that opposes them in a significant way? Constant intimidation of journalists?

42 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 9:30 am

You’re asking him to take as a point of departure actual policies of the regime, and not his stylized representation of Bolivian social and political history. No fair.

43 Ray Lopez September 2, 2014 at 9:41 am

@Orwell, you could say the same thing about the present, democratic government of the Philippines, which has been accused of all of these things: intimidating judiciary, not protecting journalists, who get murdered here higher than almost anywhere else, and tampering with the Constitution–the present elect wants to abolish term limits–as well as the make-up of congress (the Pork Barrel perks system was abolished but the president wants to reenact it, to help his party. BTW the current president here is actually considered a “Mr. Clean” candidate, compared to his opposition.

44 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 10:17 am

Accused, but is Aquino III actually guilty?

The Philippines has always been a locus of patron-client politics and federations of patron-client networks. No political party has a majority in the Philippine legislature. There has been alternation in power ever since Imelda’s shoe clerk was dispatched into exile. You’ll be rid of Morales exactly when?

Besides, you get a better First Lady in Manila. Aquino’s sisters are much easier on the eyes than Morales’ sister.

45 Chris September 2, 2014 at 8:58 am

If you’re looking for a way to signal that you’ve abandoned libertarianism for Hobbesianism, this post is a pretty emphatic way of doing so!

46 Sam September 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

The points against Evo in these comments (especially re: undermining rule of law) are all valid. But they’re also all static and idealistic. I don’t know much about Bolivia, but to get on Tyler’s level you have to a. appreciate path dependency better and b. do dispassionate CBA (not just list a bunch of obvious ‘accounting’ costs, so to speak).

47 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 9:14 am

If a Bolivian government is not strongly connected to the country’s indigenous population, that government cannot have a strong base. Yet it will still work hard to stay in power (#2), which will mean it will resort to oppressions and distortions, with high long-run costs. Bolivian history has seen an especially large number of coups and attempted coups, illustrating this weakness of the power base, which you can think of as the major problem in historical Bolivian public choice. Think of Mancur Olson on permanent vs. temporary bandits, where most of the past bandits have been temporary, and thus Bolivian governance has been of extremely low quality, even relative to its region. – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/#sthash.hgxArQsK.dpuf

Again, there was broad political participation during the period running from 1980-2002 and a full spectrum of political parties, including red/populist parties. During the MNR period (1952-64) there was a vigorous union movement run by a Trotskyist named Juan Lechin. I cannot figure this notion that only Evo Morales ever mobilized the indigenous population. Nor was the period prior to 2005 bereft of achievements in the realm of education and public health. When Morales took office, nearly 90% of the population over 15 was at least minimally literate, about 70% were adequately nourished, and there had been continuous improvement in Bolivia’s performance in these realms for a generation.

You’ve also misrepresented Bolivian political history in other respects. The country’s military was quite factionalized after 1964, in contrast to other Latin American militaries which manifested a corporate personality. So, you had a mess of coups which were an extension of these factional conflicts (1969-71, and 1978-81). The country had competitive electoral politics from 1982-2006 and no breaches of institutional continuity. From 1952-64 it was run by a political machine which had some competition encoded. From about 1884-1934, you had successive eras of party rule, wherein electoral competition did occur, but within limits set by the ruling party which maintained crucial institutions through fraud (if necessary). The country’s politics have not been seen short-term caudillo rule as the default state for 130 years, though you did have periods of it (1934-52, 1969-71, 1978-82), as well as one fairly durable autocrat (Hugo Banzer, 1971-78).

Morales is a capable demagogue with a windfall of petro-revenues.

48 mulp September 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Before the windfall of petro-revenues flowed to those outside.

49 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Show your work.

50 FC September 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Don’t forget the vests. He uses them to conceal his pan flute.

51 JasonL September 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

“The stability gains from #5 — the permanency of the bandit so to speak — exceed the costs from #1.”

Really?

“A speaker should usually try to shake up his or her listeners in some manner.”

Oh.

I liked it better when Tyronified posts were more clearly marked.

52 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 9:23 am

Just too clever by half.

53 Ed September 2, 2014 at 9:31 am

I would go further and say that if you want a strong democracy, with incumbent parties that screw up being thrown out at replaced by opposing parties, you have to allow parties that represent 50% + of the population come to power and enact much of their agenda. If you are not prepared to do that, by all means go with a Pinochet (or Xi, or Putin) style regime. You also avoid doing decolonization.

This means allowing the party representing the indiginous population to exercise power in Bolivia and Guatamala, left wing parties in much of the rest of Latin America, a left-wing black party take power in South Africa, Islamic parties to take power in the Middle East, all under the condition of course that they leave office when eventually voted out.

Not that Morales’ policies aren’t open to criticism, but he probably has put in place alot of needed reforms that weren’t happening becuase the previous elite saw them as hostile to their interests.

Though it has had respecticable GDP growth, Mexico has been hurt by the PRD being kept out of power, despite some evidence that they won two elections, with the main consequence being additional corruption.

54 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 10:05 am

but he probably has put in place alot of needed reforms that weren’t happening becuase the previous elite saw them as hostile to their interests.

Which ones?

55 mulp September 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Who got the benefit of pillage and plundering Bolivia’s resources.

56 Art Deco September 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

How do I know they were plundered or pillaged? (If you knew, you would not be asking me rhetorical questions, four flusher).

57 Alexei Sadeski September 2, 2014 at 10:51 am

One previous commenter/blogger is conspicuously absent today…

58 Alexei Sadeski September 2, 2014 at 10:51 am

*prominent

59 The Anti-Gnostic September 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Kinder, gentler national socialism.

If it works, it works.

60 Art Vandelay September 2, 2014 at 12:27 pm

It is absurd to oppose policies based on Adam Smith. Of course, Cowen doesn’t know anything more recent, and I guess Aristotle was too communitarian for him.

61 prior_approval September 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm

‘A speaker should usually try to shake up his or her listeners in some manner.’

Donors need to be treated a bit more circumspectly – the shaking has to be of the proper variety.

62 The Other Jim September 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm

>Governments work very hard to stay in power.

Must be nice to have a Government that needs to work to stay in power.

I’m in the US. You can drown a woman in your car and still get re-elected for thirty-five years.

63 frank September 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm

TC, any opinion how the not so indigenous mastermind behind Evo Morales, Álvaro García Linera, fits into the picture?

64 Handle September 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm

The theory seems to be that ethnic solidarity and racial majoritarian representation in a multi-ethnic democracy will enhance the perception of legitimacy and responsiveness and mitigate the necessity and thus motivation for oppressive, power-preserving distortions.

On the other hand, it makes sense that the motivation (or at least the temptation) for power-preservation is always at a maximum regardless of the circumstances. And furthermore, with a big block of reliable populist support in one’s vote bank, one would be much more able to disarm the competing institutions which provide checks and balances. Moreover, maintaining the loyalty of that populist vote bank might very well require 1. Making them permanent economic-redistributionist clients which implies perpetual selection of detrimental economic policies, and 2. Leveraging, agitating, inciting, and even amplifying the level of ethnic and class animosity and exploiting the disharmony to win votes and using the lingering threat to extort unjust concessions from the minority class.

So, really, Viva Morales?

65 Contemplationist September 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Cis-democracy at work, comrade!

66 Analyst September 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Good points. This sounds a bit like South Africa after apartheid. One the one hand, after decades of poor representation, how can you deny the indigenous majority to enjoy a period in which the president is one of them, and state policies are biased in their favor? On the other, this implies that the non-indigenous are losers, as well as checks and balances in a democratic system. If the new regime perpetuates itself for decades, this is unlikely to end well. If it manages to get voted out after a few years, say after commodity prices finally turn against Bolivia, then it is an open question whether the country will be better off (with a recent history of an indigenous-dominated regime) or worse off (if the new guys have to rebuild institutions and the economy from scratch). Hard to tell yet, it will depend on how Evo plays his cards in coming years. He has been a much smarter politician/president than most expected, perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

67 Steve Sailer September 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm

The indigenous are the majority in Bolivia so they deserve a shot at running things.

68 Santiago Laserna Fernández September 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Jose Luis Evia September 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm
By the way, according to the 2012 census, the proportion of bolivianos (15 years or older) that declared to be indigenous was 42%.

69 The Anti-Gnostic September 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Says the clearly Iberian economist.

70 Santiago Laserna September 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

The single fact that a president is bending the rules to run for a third term in a row says all you need to know about the Morales administration. It is an administration that puts democracy on the side and focuses on power and coercion. It is a silently growing dictatorship that shuts down NGOs that do not share their political agenda, that incarcerates or chases away any sort of worthy opposition by making up false accusations against them and locking them away with no fair trial (the judicial body is now run by the State!). An administration that increases minimum wage and doubles the mandatory Christmas bonus with little warning to the private sector, slowly eliminating SMES or any sort of private enterprise.

But, how do you explain the economic bonanza? Some say it is just the favorable export prices of our resources, which won’t last too long. Others say it is the fact that drug production is flourishing more than ever and the government is knowledgeably turning a blind eye to those who are responsible. They say it is not gas, but cocaine which is our main export. This is injecting enormous amounts of cash into the economy, with money laundering happening every day right in our faces.

Yet, for the moment, we Bolivians seem to be doing well. Until we won’t. And then it will be too late.

71 Jose Luis Evia September 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm

By the way, according to the 2012 census, the proportion of bolivianos (15 years or older) that declared to be indigenous was 42%.

72 William September 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Sorry, no fact-checking allowed on Tyler’s secret method of determining what percentage of the Bolivian population is “indigenous” in “one way or another.” Thanks for playing!

73 Steve Sailer September 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Thanks.

74 Axa September 3, 2014 at 8:26 am

2012 census says 41% but 2001 census says 61% of self-declared indigenous population. However, what most people have in mind is the 2005 United Nations CEPAL/ECLAC report where the 61% indigenous population number was published, and quoted in papers around Morales election.

What happened? a) In 2012 teenagers a greater proportion of teenagers self-acknowledge as non-indigenous, b) The indigenous are the big fraction of the emigration to Argentina, Spain and Brazil, c) Census question changed, d) Census errors.

Strictly speaking Tyler is wrong, but how the population or the statistics changed in 11 years is an interesting question. Any ideas?

75 Santiago Laserna September 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm

The single fact that a president is bending the rules to run for a third term in a row says all you need to know about the Morales administration. It is an administration that puts democracy on the side and focuses on power and coercion. It is a silently growing dictatorship that shuts down NGOs that do not share their political agenda, that incarcerates or chases away any sort of worthy opposition by making up false accusations against them and locking them away with no fair trial (the judicial body is now run by the State!). An administration that increases minimum wage and doubles the mandatory Christmas bonus with little warning to the private sector, slowly eliminating SMES or any sort of private enterprise.

But, how do you explain the economic bonanza? Some say it is just the favorable export prices of our resources, which won’t last too long. Others say it is the fact that drug production is flourishing more than ever and the government is knowledgeably turning a blind eye to those who are responsible. They say it is not gas, but cocaine which is our main export. This is injecting enormous amounts of cash into the economy, with money laundering happening every day right in our faces.

Yet, for the moment, we Bolivians seem to be doing well. Until we won’t. And then it will be too late.

76 tom September 2, 2014 at 7:52 pm

I agree that the indigenous majority needs to learn to self rule and so long as Morales doesn’t ruin their democracy the should do okay, given the oil and gas. But the jury’s still out i think on that. I hope you’re right.

77 Ejrrjs September 3, 2014 at 5:21 am

FWIW, ‘simpatizante’ is either a noun (sympathiser) or an adjective.

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