Dr. Pablo Lucio Paredes, an economist from Ecuador who served as Planning Minister implementing the Washington Consensus in the disastrous run-up to Ecuador’s 1999 financial crisis has responded to a presentation I made at FLACSO in Quito, Ecuador by publicly announcing a quiz about economics he would like to administer to “William Blake.” It is easy to spell foreign names incorrectly. I am happy that the quality of my presentation reminded Paredes of William Blake. Here is the link to my talk.
Paredes plans to be the grader of his quiz. The tone of his “letter” to “Blake” makes it clear that he will declare I have failed his test. He has already provided his conclusion: that I only presented because of my desire to issue “propaganda.”
One of the many pleasures that life offers is seeing your critics prove your point. I got to see this dynamic first hand in Ecuador when I was interviewed by Roberto Aguilar, described as the “Content Editor” of Hoy. Aguilar’s column, which seethes with hostility and disdain, unintentionally proves the thesis of my talk.
This first installment responding to Aguilar will discuss only the most important points. I was confused by Aguilar’s column the first few times I read it. His column is so angry that I wondered what terrible thing I said that caused him such pain. I focused too much in these early readings on his ad hominem attacks on my looks, my inability to speak Spanish, and my non-elite nature because I teach in “Kansas” (sic) (“profesor de Kansas”). Aguilar is unable to speak English and does not understand the U.S. system of federalism or he would not write that the University of Missouri is in the state of Kansas rather than the state of Missouri.
In my prior column I discussed the U.S. media frenzy that arose when a leaked emails revealed that Martha Roldos, a leading politician in Ecuador who (very badly) lost an election contest with President Correa, was trying to obtain funding from an infamous United States group that goes by the Orwellian name National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The U.S. media responded with three memes. Roldos is the “victim” first of a theft of her emails by someone unknown (but with the U.S. media presenting a fact-free assertion that it was Correa’s administration followed by a “take back” sentence using the magic “if”). See my first column for the full context.
If the Obama administration wanted to improve relations with Latin America the most obvious move would be to seek closer ties with Ecuador. Ecuador has been transformed into a nation with a stable political system, a head of state reelected by enormous margins in free elections, substantial economic progress, and a pragmatic development program. That program embraces policies that even the Washington Consensus praised that focus government expenditures on health, education, and infrastructure. The policies also champion an idea most identified with the conservative economist Hernando de Soto – making it far easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses. President Correa is the leader who continues to surprise his friends and foes by taking steps that make economic sense even if they are identified with the “right” while keeping a relentless focus on the needs of the poor. That focus on the poor comes from Correa’s Catholic social justice beliefs that the Pope has recently been returning to centrality.
The Wall Street Journal has written it’s latest “just so” article about how leftist Latin American leaders (Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela) are bad and rightist Latin American leaders (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru) are wonderful. It quotes favorably this dismissal of progressive leaders.
“’We set out to create the Pacific Alliance because we wanted to set ourselves apart from the populists,’ said Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former Peruvian finance minister. ‘We wanted a thinking man’s axis.’”
No thinking women, allowed, of course. Dr. Michelle Bachelet just busted the “axis” by being re-elected President of Chile by a large margin. No one intelligent, of course, could be a progressive, at least that is what the right claims.
Heritage Foundation is run by Jim DeMint, the former Tea Party legislator. Heritage promptly demonstrated the impact of its new leadership with its purported study of the benefits and costs of immigration that ignored the benefits and inflated the costs. Even other conservative groups were appalled – and that was before one of the co-authors of its studies’ past writings on the inferiority of certain minorities that purportedly made assimilation fail became public. Heritage is one of many anti-think tanks where anyone with a progressive thought is shown the door.
NEP’s William Black appeared on the June 22, 2013 episode of Alpha and Omega. The topic of discussion is about a series of articles he has written over the last year on the economic achievements and political shenanigans of Rafael Correa, the President of Ecuador.
NEP’s William Black appeared on The Real News , February 17, 2013, discussing how Ecuador has been dealing with the recession, and some of the things we can learn from it. You can view the video below or if you wish to view the video as well as the transcript posted at TRNN, you can click this link.
By William K. Black
(Cross posted at Benzinga.com)
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has the special ability to drive our most elite media nuts. Failures are self-refuting. It is the successful that drive their opponents to distraction, and much of the media can barely contain its eagerness to write that Correa has failed. In 2009, The Economist practically licked its lips in eager anticipation of what it hoped would be Correa’s (and Ecuador’s) failure due to the “country’s acute financial problems.” Continue reading →