Bolivia – another socialist president gone rogue.

Spoiler: It wasn’t a coup. Morales’s manipulation of the vote-counting in the Presidential election turned people against him. This was his last, of many, attacks on democracy in Bolivia. Since 2006, Morales has concentrated power, placed lackeys in the Constitution court, limited the independence the judiciary, attacked the media and oppressed civil society organisations. But Morales shall have credits for improving the lives of many Bolivians. Since he became president in 2006, extreme poverty has been halved, inequality has decreased and GDP per capita has on average grown by some 3.2% per year. At the same time has life expectancy increased by five years and neonatal mortality decreased by almost 50%.

The reality is not black and white even if one sometimes gets that impression from reading the news. The opponents to Morales are no angels and I would not accept an invitation from the interim president who abuses her interim presidential powers to the extent that security forces’ killings of pro-Morales demonstrators can go unpunished. The security forces’ killings and detentions of Morales supporters are of course unacceptable. If she doesn’t keep her promises of new and fair elections, sanctions should be imposed.

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Only growth and market economies can save the planet.

Spoiler: Global warming is a real problem that needs to be addressed. However, policies appeasing the cries of alarm demanding de-growth and socialism would be disastrous for our planet. Most of the growth today is intensive. That means that we consume more of less material-intensive products such as information- and telecommunication services. The production of such requires less inputs of material and energy than production of goods. Continued growth including digitalisation, more use of robots and artificial intelligence in the production processes will therefore mean even less use of resources than today while less growth or de-growth means the opposite. And the good news is that de-coupling is possible.

De-coupling can only take place in market economies. Socialism and planning economies would only make matter worse. The belief that concentration of power in the hands of a few people should solve the problem of global warming ignores the fact that there has never been any more environmental damaging system than the planning economies in Soviet Union, its satellite states, China and North Korea. Market economies are much more capable of fostering new ideas and transforming these into innovative products through technological progress than planning economies. But markets alone won’t do it. Policies that affect relative prices supporting green technology and provide incentives for innovation are necessary.

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Maybe Chile isn’t so bad after all

Spoiler. The current demonstrations and riots in Chile that started as protests against a 3.75% increase in public transportation tariffs. The focus of the demonstrations seems to have turned into demands of a fairer society. The protests may be justified. And the rage over military forces patrolling the streets, reminding people about Pinochet’s brutal regime is understandable.  But contrary to what we read and hear from the often-ill-informed media, and what Leftists want us to believe, the people of Chile are not subject to oppression and impoverishment by neo-liberal policies. In fact, if one looks at Chile over time, incomes have increased, and inequality decreased.

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Russia – a technology superpower or a shithole country?

Spoiler. Once a year or so, Putin addresses the Russian people. During these shows, he likes to boost about Russia’s super weapons. He also boosts about the technological capacity, or even superiority of Russia. But the explosion at the White Sea casts some doubt about Putin’s claims. The development of these nuclear driven missiles is a technology that the US for good reasons decided not to pursue decades ago.

The above-mentioned failure reflects the disastrous economic policy that has turned Russia into a low-productive economy with weak innovation capacity. But Putin does not care about ordinary Russians welfare. What he does care about is keeping the grip on power and protecting his oligarchs’ wealth. 

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