Tag: South America

Insights on the Political Unrest in Latin America and the Worst Cities for Traffic

Bloomberg Businessweek – Unequal and Irate, Latin America Is Coming Apart at the Seams – Daniel Cancel 11/17/19

In Chile, it was sparked by a minor increase in the capital’s subway fare. In Ecuador, it was the end of fuel subsidies, and in Bolivia, a stolen election.

Latin America, which a decade ago harnessed a commodities boom to pull millions out of poverty and offer what many saw as a model of modernization, is in revolt. It’s not another pink tide, nor is it a lurch to the right; the movement is more a non-specific, down-with-the-system rage. Furious commuters are looting cities, governments are on the run, and investors are unloading assets as fast as they can.

With almost three dozen countries and more than 600 million inhabitants, Latin America defies easy generalization, which makes it difficult to predict what will come next. A few weeks ago, Evo Morales, the longstanding president of Bolivia, seemed headed for reelection. Today, he and his top aides are in exile in Mexico while some in his country have taken to the streets again to protest what they say was the military coup that removed him.

In that sense, there are parallels with the Arab Spring, which began in 2010, and the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades earlier. Both were unforeseen and moved in surprising directions, yet they offer lessons in retrospect. “There were a lot of cracks, but no one saw it coming,” says Javier Corrales, a professor of political science at Amherst College in Massachusetts, of events in Bolivia and across the region.

Two common factors stand out, he suggests: commodity dependence and the middle income trap, referring to the stagnation that often sets in after a population climbs out of extreme poverty and then struggles to achieve further development. Latin America is the most unequal, lowest-growth major region in the world right now, offering a cautionary tale for other parts of the globe with similar dynamics.

“Inequality is the main cause of the disenchantment being felt by citizens throughout the region in the face of a stunned political establishment yet to understand that the current development model is unsustainable,” wrote Alicia Bárcena, the executive secretary of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, in a recent essay. The people want to eradicate the culture of privilege, she added.

The region is caught between competing models of government: leftist populism and market-oriented liberalism. Governments of each type have been plagued by incompetence, corruption, and a failure to meet social demands. The result has been a growing fury toward the ruling classes, leading people to the streets. 

“People are angry at their political systems,” says James Bosworth, author of the weekly newsletter Latin America Risk Report. “There’s an anti-incumbent wave and governments haven’t dealt with the roots of the problem, and those problems aren’t going away.”

Bloomberg – It Takes Five Minutes to Drive a Kilometer in Metro Manila – Claire Jiao 10/26/19

For most people, it could be worse…

April 7, 2017

Okay, I’m prototyping here.  Bottom line it’s finally gotten through my thick skull that assembling a weeks worth of content and putting it out there once-a-week is a LOT to consume all-at-once. So I’m going to try a new angle here. I’m not going to post every day – rather almost every day.

I will post when there is content I think is worthy of posting – also conditioned on when I come across it (sometimes I just don’t get around to it – day job you know).

Some days will be light and others heavy.

Some posts will include a summary like those found in the Featured or Briefs section and at other times there will only be links.  Additionally I’ll sort the links now by categories and will post graphics within those categories as well.

Hopefully this makes the experience better for you and for me.

If you disagree, let me know.



WSJ – Not a Dot-Com Bubbles, Not 2007, but a Nasty Mix of Both – James Mackintosh 4/6

  • “There is so much more debt than usual being piled up by companies outside the finance sector.”

Sovereign Wealth Funds

FT – Norway’s oil fund wants CEO incentive plans scrapped – Richard Milne 4/6

  • “Norway’s $910bn oil fund, which on average owns 1.3% of every listed company in the world, will start pressing companies to end such incentives [long-term incentive plans] and instead force chief executives to own substantial stakes in their companies for periods of at least five and preferably 10 years. It will also urge boards to name a ceiling for possible pay.”

Asia – excluding China and Japan

NYT – Duterte Orders Military to Parts of South China Sea Claimed by Philippines – Felipe Villamor 4/6

  • “We tried to be friends with everybody, but we have to maintain our jurisdiction now, at least the areas under our control.” – President Rodrigo Duterte


Economist – The EU27 and the Brexit negotiations – Data Team 4/5


FT – Beijing plan to transform village into tech city sparks property frenzy – Charles Clover and Sherry Fei Ju 4/6

  • China has decided to make a new economic zone in the Hebei province outside of Beijing to be named Xiongan New Area.


FT – Spain: Boom to bust and back again – Tobias Buck 4/6

  • “The economy is finally set to return to its pre-crisis level. But have the reforms come at too high a price?”

South America

NYT – Mud Erased a Village in Peru, a Sign of Larger Perils in South America – Nicholas Casey and Andrea Zarate 4/6

Other Links