I'd toss a bucket of Cochabamba water to cool off some of the hot
rhetoric, but people would get sick, so I won't do...
The water in Cochabamba has been notoriously bad for decades. So bad
the *locals* won't drink it. When it gets really bad, you can get sick
from taking a shower there. The rest of the time you can get
electrocuted in Cochabamba showers, but that's another story.
The reason Bolivia has to rely on *foreign* capital to accomplish this
much-needed work is that earlier socialist efforts to re-distribute
income in the name of "social equity" essentially destroyed Bolivia's
internal base of capital. This happens every time some well meaning
but fuzzy-minded social engineer decides that certain people have too
In the USA, you could take every nickel of Bill Gates $70 billion
fortune away from him and distribute it "democratically" amongst the
populace. It would amount to about $250 each, and maybe I ought to take
bets on how long it would take for it all to be frittered away. If you
do it to all the rich, where then is the source of investment capital?
Big projects take big money, and fixing Cochabamba's water problem is a
*big* project. Absent significant accumulations of domestic capital,
the options are really quite limited.
a) print the money and cause galloping inflation
b) borrow it abroad, then cut down all your forests to repay it
c) impose a grinding tax burden on the entire nation, already poor
d) let foreigners with capital do the job and make a return on their
In Cochabamba over 40% of the kids don't make it to age 5. You see
stacks of minature coffins for sale all over the place. The major
reason is the water, because you can't supervise kids constantly.
Bolivia still has a remnant population of socialists, most of them (as
in the US) associated with universities. It is very likely that much of
the agitation was originally stirred up by these folks who probably
resent that political and economic events in Bolivia have made them
largely irrelevant since 1983.
Any talk of "solidarity" with these folks is just plain silly, and IMO
does a great disservice to the ordinary people of Cochabamba, the
majority of whom are hard-working, incredibly decent, and decidedly
tired of burying their children.
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at:
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu May 11 2000 - 22:02:07 EDT