Libertarian Jackass

"Life is short, but truth works far and lives long; let us speak truth." -- Schopenhauer

Monday, October 27, 2003

U.S. Blows It Big Time In Bolivia?

First, the U.S. government tried to restrict coca production. Second, the U.S. and Chile tried to use political mechanisms to extract oil via a pipeline from Bolivia. Third, the International Monetary Flunkies (IMF) and their policies of economic retardation have left Bolivia poverty-stricken. Now, as economist Jeffrey Sachs writes, "The deadly rioting in Bolivia and the toppling of that country's government two weeks ago signal growing turmoil throughout the Andes, where poverty is intense, and social polarization and political instability are worsening."

The article is interesting and worth the read. However, I'm more interested in this article as an illustration of the U.S. not merely as a nation-state impoverishing and exploiting Bolivia, but as a global state. Where and how is global political power centralized? The Bolivian government -- prior to its collapse -- begged for hundreds of millions of dollars from Bush. Bush looked the other way and the Bolivian government collapsed. The critical question is not whether the U.S. government is "organized" enough to respond financially; rather, the point is the Bolivian state cannot maintain its monopoly of coercion without the assistance of the global state. In terms of the theory or study of "international relations," this means that focusing on the individual "states" confuses the analysis. A true understanding of the global system necessitates an understanding of the role of the global state in general and its monetary system in particular. I did some work on this very subject over the summer and hope to have it up on the web soon for your reading pleasure. . .

As it stands now, the U.S. is likely scrambling to throw together any compromise coalition to maintain power in Bolivia, or otherwise suffer the impact of instability and uncertainty over the control of its interests and resources (oil and coca). Marcela Sanchez presents her view on how to achieve such an outcome: join forces with the socialists!

Thanks to the Beautiful Horizons blog for capturing the attention of an A.D.D. kid on this fascinating issue!

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