Some more thought on Latin America's developmental lag
Jesus Gil has posted a very thoughtful article in response to my post on Latin America's lagging development in comparison to North America's. I pretty much agree with him as I wrote at his comment box with some reservations.
My first disagreement with Jesus is that it's a little to facile to foist the responsibility on just the foreign multinationals for Latin America's troubles. The Latin Americans, especially the elite, bear great responsibility for their predicament. The most notorious is this deep-seated neurotic shame against their Iberian heritage that I've never understood. Undoubtedly I never will. Further, I don't like use of neo-liberalism to describe the resurgence of market-oriented economies as it's very ideologically charged in Europe by the recalcitrant leftist intellectuals and serves to scare the ordinary Europeans from even contemplating free market economic activity as something positive.
My second disagreement with Jesus is on the subject of Chavez. I'm an assiduous reader of Richard Jenke's excellent blog: El Sur and his evenhanded blogging on what goes on in Latin America leads me to my own conclusions about Venzuela's current political situation.
Consequently I don't see Chavez as a poor victim of nefarious conniving between the foreign oil companies and the domestic businessmen. Chavez unfortunately, repeats, yet again, the hoary political tradition within Latin America: the failed golpista who presents himself as a reformer committed to combatting corruption, reforming the republic and transforming the society only to expose his true intentions: the continuista who feigns being a revolutionary. However he polarizes the society through his quest to institutionalize himself as a political regime in the image of Bolivar, San Martín, de Gaulle or Castro and ends up as just another caudillo.
Les Saoudiens: aucun preuve que nous avons financé le terrorisme
Vous m'excuserez si on ne vous croit pas vos affirmations
que les Saoudiens n'ont pas financé le terrorisme. Il existe bien trop de preuves tantôt concrètes et tantôt circonsticielles, qui nous amènent à conclure le contraire. Vous un bande de menteurs puisqu'on sait très bien que pendant 20 années le régime a encouragé les plus bêtes et les plus haineux de vos clercs à propager des sermons et discours profundement anti-juif, antichrétien, bref anti-tout et nous avons fermés nos yeux jusqu'à maintenant.
En plus, c'est curieux que chaque fois qu'un missionaire saoudien ou une charité se trouve, l'islam devient beaucoup plus fanatique; et encore plus curieux, c'est comme pendant les perequisitions dans plusieurs, les policiers ont trouvés de la documentation, explosifs, photos de monuments qui n'ont strictement rein à'avoir avec le prosélytisme d'islam.
El tractament dels no-musulmans: no us crec
Perdoni que us digui que no us crec de res
Des del 11 de setembre no he llegida cap denúncia de la part del musulmans denunciant les atrocitats comeses en el seu nom i sota la bandera del islam.
A més, fa nosa quan refereix dues vegades que el deure dels musulmans es conduir la gent al bon sender. Potser sí ¿ però que passa si els no-musulmans rejecten el missatge de Mohammed? Segons que he vist i llegit abans del 11 setembre i après ho deixa clar: ¡matar aquests collenyuts!
Vostè pot articular tot que volguí sobre de com l'islam tolera tot i tothom sota el sol però jo no us crec de res per que he vist massa violència de la vostra part en contra el no-musulmanes. Francament, em repugnà els disturbis, matances i passar les esglésies i cases al foc que occurí en Nigerià per protestar la tenança del espectacle del Miss World. Això no era res més una excusa pels caps calents a justificar el hooliganisme. Els pobrets no podeu aguantar una xioctetes ambulant a un escenari en mini-falda.
Em penso que es més apropiat que els no-musulmans apliquin el estàndard de diferenciar els musulmans que ens odien i ens occiran i aquells que costegen amb nosaltres. Nostre deure potser no es tan grandiós com salvar ànimes del infern però educar el musulmans de conviure amb altri endins una societat laica, pluralista i democràtica es tant important perque sense la pau social, la vida es degenera en un salva-qui-es-pot.
Condamner un pays:bien sûr!
Écoutez mon gros, les Américans sont en droit de condamner votre pays
Vous comprenez qu'il s'agit beaucoup plus que le 15 pirates de l'air, ce sont les révélations de la subventions par la femme de l'ambassadeur saoudien à une charité que ô miracle! les fonds ont été détournés comme de la magie. Ce sont les sermons de vos imams qui clament au ciel chaque vendredi le morts de juifs, les chrétien bref du monde entier tant qu'il se soumet pas à leur visin d'islam. Les Américans s'en foutent carrément que vous avez bâti des écoles ou que vous proclamez votre amité en haute voix. Les Américans préfèrent de l'action concrète même si discrète elle serait. Peu importe au moins vous faites votre mieux. Je vous assure que la brèche culturelle ne se comblera point car c'est trop tard. On peut duper les Américans pour une certaine période de temps avants qu'ils grouille et se rendent compte qu'ils se sont faits avoir. Là mon gros, c'est vraiment pénibles car ils ne vous croiront plus. Vous êtes comme l'ont dit ici à Québec dans le jus puisque vous avez mis vous pieds dans les plats.
Latin America and its developmental lag: here we go again
I was particularly put off by Razib's comment about Latin America and its Catholicism as a drag on its development O shit not that argument again.
It's amazing how America's bias towards Latin America swings as a pendulum. America alternatively views Latin Americans as incorrigibles who need to be remade in the image of the Americans and we know how successful that's been; or else succumbs to a fit of pique and abandons the Latin Americans to their fate.
A large part of this ambivalence stems from America's perpetual bias towards Catholicism. No matter how much America has overcome that particular prejudice; America colonial origins and its underlying ideology militate against the total eradication of anti-Catholicism. It's America's latent shadow that will follow the country's evolution.
Once people are aware of that bias, the vast majority of American studies and academic research are coloured by that underlying prejudice. Case in point is Razib's comments that Latin America's Catholicism drags its development. I agree that religion and the expression of religious values do have an impact on the society and hence its economic development but Latin America's problems aren't religious.
In fact, the southern continent's developmental problems originate from another fundamental cleavage: between politics and economic. Indeed, Latin America is vulnerable to political corruption. Observe how the Latin American countries emphasize oversight institutions on the political process and the struggle against influence peddling, usurpation, coups, caudillismo, etc By contrast, the United States-and by extension- the Anglosphere- is vulnerable to economic corruption. Observe the emphasis on oversight institutions on economic activity and the struggle against insider trading, fraud, false accounting, etc.
The Latin Americans perceive that honest economic activity follows clean politics; whereas, the Americans, and the Anglosphere, perceive the opposite. That elemental difference of perspective has deep roots as Albert Hirschman discussed in both The passion and the interest; and again, Rival views of Market society. The second perspective that clean politics follows honest economic activity predominates only because the Anglosphere has triumphed. Nonetheless, the fact that Latin America has a propensity to raise doubts on politics follows economics assumption indicates that the perennial is far from being resolved and perhaps will never be to anyone's satisfaction.
Consequently, most of the American studies on Latin America are incorrectly focussed and end up prescribing incorrect solutions. The Latin Americans also blameworthy for their predicament. They'd rather apply simplistic solutions or engage in wishful thinking or succumb to petulant anti-Americans. However, at the same time, I've read too many studies, reports and articles by American academics on Latin America that just don't grasp Latin America's priority is to combat political corruption or poo-poo it.
Israel's choices: Saudi dilemmas
In one of the more spurious and disingenuous, articles by Arabnews
Israel's stark choices aren't totally the fault of Sharon; indeed if it wasn't for the Saudi's brazenly funding the Intifada and the Arab world practically egging the Palestinians to blow themselves up, the latter would've stopped the futility and compromised. The Saudis are profoundly cynical: let the hated Jews solve the Palestinian problem by killing them; a curious way to proclaim a state and resolve a major Mideast problem when no one would be left alive.
In any case, no one really cares what the Saudis opine because they'll sacrifice every last Palestinian to get rid of Israel.
Why women and men can't serve alongside in arms
Steve guest über-poster at Fred's blog, has posted a fascinating article
on the 'dangers' of mixing men and women together in combat unit. In this particular case it's a guerrilla army in India where the men and women who fight and live together end up marrying and quitting the 'revolution.' As with life there's tow ways to look at this: the negative and the positive. On the negative side: the generals and military experts who decry coed fighting units as destructive to discipline and unit cohesion are vindicated. On the positive side, it shows that the natural affinity for a man and a women to get together, get married and raise a family is ingrained in humanity; pretty much hardwired. Even more interesting is that once the couple get together, they no longer want to fight or kill. That shows that natural law is indeed inscribed in the heart of all men as it's kinda hard to strap on the ol' rifle and plink the regime's cannon fodder when you've got kids. Parenthood has a way of awaking love that embraces life.
Synagogues are sacrosanct Muslim teacher says
The Gazette reports of a local Montreal Moslem teacher visiting a synagogue
to decry the attacks of houses of worship by the islamojihadists. It's a good start but rather late. I'm rather soured because there have been several attack on Christians and Hindus in their places of worship and the moderate Moslem stayed silent- even in the West. That silence raises the usual troubling question: do they support such attacks or are they so fearful of the fanatics have infiltrated the charities and the mosques that to speak out against such atrocities risk getting a moderate killed? If so, it's a very tragic state of affairs and one that the moderate need to address directly.
It's very nice for a local Moslem teacher to visit a synagogue,I,d prefer a more more public and unequivocal condemnation of such atrocities. It's not the non-Moslem's responsibility to correct a negative image of Islam or its adherents.
My proposal who should direct the future Harry Potter movies
I read in some online movie review website that the original director for Harry Potter- Chris Columbe was fired. It appears that while he was very faithful to the book, the adaption wasn't very imaginative. I haven't seen the second Potter movie- I hope to see it tonight. It struck me that I have a perfect candidate in mind: Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Ring's director. Everyone has quite rightly raved at his imaginative but faithful adaption of Tolkein's trilogy. From what I've picked up reading from the NET, everyone is mindboggled at the Two Tower's trailer and those that have seen an advance screening state that the movie is shaping up to be one of the all time classics. I realize that Jackson would cost a fortune but I suspect that the Harry Potter qua
enterprise can afford him; further, I'd also tweak his pride by challenging him: Sure you did a brilliant adaption of the Lord of the Rings; bet you can't do the same for Harry Potter. I'll bet he'll jump at the challenge and succeed.