Sunday, December 07, 2008

Latin American Finance Ministers - Bolivia and Venezuela get trashed

Latin American business magazine America Economia has a recent special rating Latin American finance ministers, particularly how well prepared they are to deal with the current worldwide financial crisis. 140 prominent professional economists were surveyed, asking them to rate the finance ministers performance based on four criteria: macroeconomic stability; pro-competetivenes/pro-growth strategies; leadership within the government as a whole; and projecting confidence to citizens, the business community and investors.

Rated highest were Chile's minister Andrés Velasco, followed by Mexico's Agustín Carstens, Peru's Luis Valdivieso, and Brazil's Guido Mantega. Among individual categories, Guatemala's minister is rated very high (#3) in the leadership category - which focuses on how well the minister leads "in the economic plans of the government" as a whole, and how he is able to work with the "demands of his colleagues" i.e. the ministers of labor, housing, education, health.

Biggest Losers

Bolivia's El Nuevo Dia (reprinted in Petroleumworld) acidly notes that Bolivia's Luis Arce is ranked at the tail end of the survey alongside colleagues from Venezuela, Ecuador, and Argentina. Coinciding with the countries worst prepared to deal with the current crisis.

Bolivia would probably be rated worse if it weren't for the countries reserves and recent macroeconomic stability. Most Bolivian experts will quickly point out that those are "in spite of Evo", rather than because of Evo. Previous governments fiscal policy choices and macroeconomic policies bear a lot of credit. Gas revenues come largely from investment that Evo has chased away. The pattern continues with Bolivias exports and trade policy, which face an uncertain future due to the Morales government bungling of Andean trade preferences and demoralizing of the export sector. With this kind of incompetence and ideological idiocity from the top, it is hard to see how poor Mr. Arce would make the grade.


skywalker said...

Which system is better? Currently Capitalist Canada, El Salvador, Mexico and United States are all in recession, whilst Socialist Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Venezuela all boom.

Boli-Nica said...

ummmmm......highest inflation and worst economic fundamentals are: Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina,
all 3 hardly immune from the global recession. In fact more so b/c politically they all depend on high rents from commodity prices, prices.

While countries that kept and followed "Washington consensus", prescriptions such as Peru, Colombia, Brazil, are in much better shape and with lower inflation.

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