Featured St. Norbert’s College Lecturer: Dr. Gratzia Villarroel
Date: Saturday, February 28, 2015
“Bolivia’s Economic Miracle under Evo Morales: Indigenous Identity and 21st Century Caudillismo”
Evo Morales was recently re-elected President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia for a 3rd term. During his tenure in office Bolivia’s economy grew by over 5% annually, the country balanced its budget, foreign debt significantly diminished, and Bolivia currently boasts higher foreign reserves than most countries in the world. Extreme poverty is down to 21% in 2013 from 38% in 2005. Bolivia is also among the seven Latin American countries with the lowest rate of inequality. What factors explain this dramatic turn for South America’s most impoverished country? First, Bolivia has enjoyed a combination of political stability and high prices for its commodities like no other time in its recent history. Second, Evo Morales, has engaged in effective macro-economic policies that have brought significant wealth to the country. These include taking ownership of Bolivia’s natural resources, working with the IMF and the World Bank on Bolivia’s terms, and promoting the private sector. Finally, the “re-founding” of Bolivia has ensured that the windfall emanating from these policies actually reaches the poor through a variety of social programs including bonuses for school children, pensions for the elderly, prenatal care for expectant mothers, etc.