Tangoing on eggshells
True, there’s no going back to the dysfunctional past for most Latin American countries. Nevertheless, there remain a host of fundamental structural problems that could lead to pitfalls for many of the economies on the verge of overheating.
Europe and Latin American can only benefit each other through continued cooperation. In Italy’s case there is a certain sense of belonging to a common culture that could make her a privileged interlocutor with fellow Latins.
Latin America is on an economic tear. Yet structural problems that could condemn it remain. Whether the future brings more democracy or a revival of autocratic governments will largely determine where the continent goes.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the Mexican Drug War. Yet despite being mired in a civil war against various drug cartels, who are trying to replace the government and impose a monopoly by force of arms, Mexico’s economy keeps growing.
As globalization succumbs to the law of diminishing returns and the unprecedented degree of interconnectedness amplifies volatility and vulnerability, governments must strive to reinvent institutions and policy tools for better governance.
Can the booming Latin American economies match those of the East Asian Tigers? The investment is there, as is the growth. Now much depends on the economic policies aimed at riding out the global crisis.
As Latin American economies continue to grow, it is important for Europe to renew its relationships with them through bi-regional agreements. This will allow both regions to become more integrated in the competitive new knowledge-based economy.
The West still schools the world
The increased movement of students going abroad has only confirmed Anglo-American hegemony in the field of university education. As a result, all education systems throughout the world are having to adapt.
For decades an American or British university education was a prerequisite for entrée into the world’s elite. But the emerging economies have caught up and are about to dispense with the West’s approval and train themselves.
Do some countries train more intelligent people than others? Like the ancient maps that pinpointed the location of precious minerals, results of intelligence tests are used to locate the newest most precious resource for a high-tech world.
Asia is rising, and one of the reasons is that they keep drinking from the West’s finest fountains of higher education. American universities still rank the highest, but the growth of international education is changing European and Asian institutions as well.
A disaffected youth bulge reeling from unemployment has been the driving force of the Arab Spring. But the way governments have begun tackling the issues of jobs and education might only be fueling the fire in the long run.
The demonstrations against authoritarian regimes in the Arab world have largely been fomented by young people and students. Unfortunately, the ossified education systems from which they sprang may have left them ill-prepared for what comes next.
For decades developed economies have been increasing consumption with money lent to them by producers to buy their goods. This vicious cycle is clearly unsustainable, but go explain that to the economists.
Germany wants to exact a high price for any eurozone bailout. Alternative proposals, however, could transfer power to technocrats rather than Berlin.
As the world’s economies come to grips with debt, recession and austerity, foreign ministries must adapt too. Besides cutting costs, ambassadors are now called on to advocate for their national industries and entrepreneurs.
Qatar has been all over the place in recent years. In a well-calculated strategy, the emirate with less than two million inhabitants has become a major force in international affairs and a marketing model to marvel at.
Whoever takes power in Tripoli will inevitably control the country’s enormous oil resources. In order to ensure that all Libyan citizens benefit from the wealth, a fair and viable model for wealth distribution is needed. The Alaska Permanent Fund is one such model.
Climate change always has an impact on geopolitics. With the polar ice caps melting and the Arctic Sea becoming more accessible, both for ships and oil rigs, a new area of potential conflict is opening up.
Rather than focusing on legal structures and new bureaucracies, Europe should take its experience in reducing emissions and use it to promote projects that face up to the global challenges posed by climate change.