Evo Morales Accepts The Invitation

Another example of the law of unintended consequences: Evo was in Spain on Wednesday, probably partly as a result of the spoof phone invite from a right-wing radio station. This ‘invitation’ opened the door politically for Zapatero to offer a courtesy invite which might have otherwise drawn a lot more political backfire from the PP right.

In fact, as the linked article makes plain, it is Spanish interests – especially Repsol YPF, Iberdrola and Red Electrica – that are most immediately threatened by Morales nationalisation plans. This makes yet more dog-in-the-mangerism from the PP (Rajoy was too busy to meet with him) very hard to understand. One more time they seem to be putting Party before Common interest, hoping to be able to ensnare Zapatero in Morales’ web for short term political advantage without thinking too much about the actual future of Bolivia, or of Spanish interests there.

Morales was also in Brussels yesterday, where he met, of course (who else), Javier Solana.

Oh, How Are The Mighty Fallen!

I can remember a time when Jeffrey Sachs used to do some pretty innovative work in development economics (and this one). Among other parameters influencing ‘take-off’ he used to think the demographic ones important. Increasingly this seems not to be the case. This podcast interview with Bolivian blogger Miguel Centellas and Jeffrey Sachs is not only informative as to what is happening in Bolivia itself, but also on how Sachs’ thinking is evolving. The three key issues explaining the ‘Bolivian Question’ are now: the fact that it is land-locked, the fact that there is huge inequality, and the fact that there is political instability. The first is a reality which only infrastructural investment can ammeliorate, but the second two involve addressing demographic issues if you want to move forward. At least that is my view. Incidentally hat-tip to Miguel Buitrago and also see this post and comments on the Ciao blog.

Going Too Far

Last night I went to see the film Luther – which unsurprisingly enough is a biographical epic which focuses on the life and works of Martin Luther. I have always felt a strange attraction to Luther, not for his religion, but for the ‘here I am, I can do no other’ part. This post, however, has little to do with the film, except in that it is about how small changes in our ways of thinking can have big impacts.

You see all through the film I couldn’t help thinking about the recent act of ‘personation’ carried out by the Spanish radio station cadena COPE, and about just how stupid the people behind it really seem to be.
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Bo Malmberg and Evo Morales

Bo Malmberg is a demographer and he works at the Stockholm-based Institute For Future Studies. Evo Morales is the ‘flamante’ President of Bolivia. OK, this much is clear, now where’s the connection?

Well, Brad Delong says of Morales’ election, citing Pyrrhus of Epirus, Another Such Victory and We Are Lost, while the Financial Times informs us that the result of the election is likely to cause consternation in the United States.

However, rather than allowing ourselves to fall victim to too much schadenfreude, maybe we would better employ our energies trying to understand why Morales is happening, and why right now. This is where Bo Malmberg comes in handy.
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