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From the Economist:

MAS will break Bolivia's reliance on commodity exports and extend development to those "historically excluded"... The state will become the "fundamental axis" of development, financing small firms, promoting technology and backing big private firms "selectively". Gas will be nationalised but the sanctity of contracts will be preserved. A MAS government will maintain stability, but the central bank should promote jobs as well as low inflation. It all sounds like a return to the policies that brought bankruptcy and hyperinflation to Bolivia in the 1980s.

Nothing in this paragraph seems to me to support the last sentence.  Bolivia did suffer hyperinflation in the 1980s, and its gas exports were under the control of corrupt state-owned companies.  But Bolivia was a military dictatorship then.  Nationalization under the control of a democratic government is something else entirely.

The biggest uncertainty concerns MAS's plan to rewrite Bolivia's constitution in a constituent assembly starting in June...Its main business, apart from dealing with autonomy, will be to entrench the role of the state in the economy, redistribute land and secure indigenous rights. In the east, where farms are large, this raises the spectre of expropriation. Everywhere, it casts doubt on the rules that business must follow. "Would you invest before the constituent assembly?" asks Branko Marinkovic, who heads Santa Cruz's federation of private enterprise.

Does the constitution need to be modified in order to achieve a specific set of economic policies?  Sounds excessive to me...but it might make sense in the Bolivian context.

by tyronen on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 12:23:10 PM EST

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