Latin America

From FT:

Time for the ECB to get serious about the overvalued euro – Willem Buiter Read more

The deaths of Augusto Pinochet and the failing health of Fidel Castro mark the end of an era for Latin America. We should look back at the bearded revolutionaries and military despots, ideological fervour and utopian dreams, without any regret. Despite the recrudescent populism of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia, a more sober style of democratic politics is cementing its hold across the region. This is the theme of a fascinating book by Javier Santiso, deputy director of the development centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “Since its independence,” he argues, “one of Latin America’s core dependencies has been its belief in miracles: the miracles forged by the Marxist or free-market magicians, revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries, on the basis of a few grand theories and paradigms.” There is, instead, “a dual movement of economic reforms and a transition to democracy”, a move to “the political economy of the possible”. In its broad outlines, Mr Santiso’s story is convincing. Economic reform – by which is meant a move towards greater reliance on the market – has indeed spread, in fits and starts, across the region. Huge mistakes have been made. But only President Chávez, fortified by the wealth that comes out of oil wells, feels free to ignore economic rationality altogether. The remainder of Martin Wolf’s column can be read here (FT.com subscribers only). Discussion from our guest economists is free – click ‘Comments’ below