Well, I do agree in general terms with the article however I do think his idea of just moving over to pragmatism is quite overly simplistic. Yes, we definitely missed an opportunity here. We see nations in SA engaging in social class fighting, agrarian revolutions (as if agriculture was a real value generator) and a number of fights over the isms however the situation is not quite that asia simply got to pragmatism, they didn't actually solve the ism issues. China in particular didn't just decide to be pragmatic on the matter (as far as latin american countries are concerned they are all pragmatic with whatever revolution they have going on). China has an authoritative government which controls everything and if it doesn't control it then it still owns half of it. They aren't bothering about the isms because they simply don't allow any room for there to be discussion over it. What they have done has worked to a large degree, they have forced shut discussion over the isms and have made their people start making stuff, namely technology and industries which do generate value. I guess latin america is at the opposite end. Its all about the isms, democracy and whatever social revolution each government thinks they have brought forth (even if basically every government in the history of latin america has claimed to brought forth some sort of magical socila revolution, I can't believe most people are not bored with those yet). In turn it is not about making stuff and developing industries and technology at all. Its about agriculture, land redistribution, public sector growth and nationalism along with a few other things which also generate little to no aggregate value.
Of course, not quite all latin american nations are like that. Brazil is growing relatively fast and is actually the only nation in latin america that can take pride in having and developing actual technology. Even with all the economic and social problems it still has it manages to stay on the margin of the lunacy that chavez or evo preach and continues to grow even with the harsh economic environment. Colombia has nothing but problems but even then it has managed to actually grow over the past 8 years or so, the country is virtually unrecognizable from what it was a decade ago. Peru has grown significantly over the past years (averaging something like 7 or 8% a year or more if I recall) but unfortunately growth has been limited to very few areas and those outside remain largely the same or even comparatively poorer over the years.
Still, its a very nice speech and in general terms very spot on.
True XD Although he made it seem like China started to worry about it when they saw how fast their neighbors were developing, and I think that asian countries around China have a less controller government (although I know that Cingapore is also quite strict about many things, but there they work hard on people's mentality and education, so they see the importance in it... they learn about finances early, for example).
I also think that it wasn't totally fair to compare two whole continents to one country (when he gathered all that data to compare the LA to the US), but I saw the point of it, so I didn't mind. For example, our education 'till the end of the secondary level doesn't last only 7years, but 11. But since every LA contry seems to hold the same grudge, it seems legit that he mixed them all up in the same bunch when he made the comparisons.
And as a brazilian, I'll have a hard time to see this country as a great advancing force at least for a while... It's unbelievable how much money we 'lose' due to corruption. Whenever I see numbers about it, I get shocked... (8% to 83% of the price of some products represents taxes, and 15% to 27,5% of our wage goes to income tax, and we still pay to study, to have access to hospitals, and so on), It's not just the fact that we're robbed all the time, but it's also the fact that when this money gets lost, it means we're getting behind, it means that we had the potential to be better but we aren't. We could have invested more and we didn't. That's why I like that speech a lot, we were and we still are to blame for our problems and it's up to us to try to fix them.
Well, maybe not that unfair... What would have been the relevance of comparing the US to just one nation in the Caribbean or south America? The difference in terms of economic power, actual size, technology, industry and education would be overwhelming. The individual nation wouldn't even show on the map... The only nation that would be relevant would be brazil the rest would be invisible. In turn many latin american nations have a lot (perhaps too much) in common in terms of culture, education, food, technology (its perhaps easier to speak in terms of which nations are actually different from the rest) so putting them all together to compare is not that way off. It makes sense and it simplifies stuff. Its not like he had the time or chance to go over each case.
Maybe I got this piece of data wrong but isn't the reason for which brazil has high taxes because of the sheer amount of money being invested there? Someone explained to me years ago that if they didn't tax so much the country would basically be flooded with invested foreign money and inflation would be uncontrollable. Of course, then the issue would be what happens to all the taxed money. Transparency, accountability on the matter is remarkably hard to manage even in developed nations. I am pretty sure 15% and 27.5% is not that high a number when it comes to income taxes in comparison to other places. I guess even 0.0001% is outrageous if you don't feel you are getting your money's worth though.
But yes, that SA and latin america in general are in a bad situation is entirely the fault of the people there, not that of other nations and no matter the circumstances nor what other nations may do that will always be the case.