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PearsonInstitute27 karma

Because they have extractive political institutions and these create extractive economic institutions which create poverty. But you can read more in the book ;)

PearsonInstitute22 karma

I agree that there are a lot of unresolved institutional problems in Latin America. We’ve seen this even in Chile, which one could argue had the best institutions in the sub-continent. Even there there are very high levels of inequality and social exclusion which is a big part of what has led to the protests. On the plus side for Chile, they have the institutions which can actually deal with these problems, few Latin American countries could. As for corruption, I tend to think of that as an outcome of institutional weaknesses, rather than a big source of the problems. It’s a symptom rather than a cause.

PearsonInstitute21 karma

It is an interesting moment. My view is that Bolivia has made huge strides towards the corridor in the last 15 years. You’ve seen the massive social organization and empowerment of indigenous peoples for the first time in the history of the country. Of course Morales has tried to undermine institutions as well to further his own personal powers, but his own party has fought back against this. I was in La Paz a few years ago during the Anulo tu voto (spoil your ballot) campaign against him. The optimistic read on what’s happened now is that people will not put up with him trying to consolidate his personal power. It’s unclear at the moment the extent to which the military has been independently involved. Let’s hope they can organize a legitimate election soon and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new MAS candidate win.

PearsonInstitute18 karma

I think maybe Iran or parts of the Middle East. In my experience there’s a huge respect and admiration for US culture and creativity all over that part of the world. People don’t hate the US, they’d like to come here, visit, study, enjoy what we enjoy. In Iran, for instance. We are suffering from his history of antagonism which goes back to the support of western powers of the Shah, the Revolution and a whole series of events which have created a very toxic “high politics” but which I don’t think reflects most people attitudes towards the US at all.

PearsonInstitute17 karma

Not very. Historically there have been many challenges to institutions in the USA and a lot of bad presidents. James Madison was very clear in the Federalist Papers that you don’t design institutions assuming that you will have good leaders. Think of FDR, he tried to pack the Supreme Court, he violated the term limits that Washington set and which had held for 150 years. But the institutions survived and even strengthened. The important thing is that people really support the institutions in the US and don’t put up with illegality and attempts to undermine them. That’s the big story with FDR, there was cross-party opposition to court packing for example.