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Thursday, January 18, 2007


Here is a preview of several upcoming columns from my two-week trip to India, which will be avaliable starting Sunday:
NEW DELHI -- How ironic! While Venezuela, Bolivia and other Latin American nations are announcing plans to nationalize key industries, the world's biggest developing countries -- China and India -- are reducing poverty at startling rates by doing exactly the opposite. China and India have been growing at the fastest pace and reducing poverty dramatically since they started opening their economies to the private sector, in 1978 and 1991, respectively. In an interview with India's Planning Minister Montek Singh Ahluwalia, I asked him what has India done to achieve such high growth rates. To find out what he said, and my reaction to it, read the full column here, and let us know what you think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last paragraph of your column says it all. How many times does nationalization have to fail before politicians give it up? Or is it too tempting and easy to steal private profits for personal gain in the name of the "poor"?

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from Paul Thorsen

dang, åndrês Ôppênhëimèr, I couldn't have said that any better myself. Bravo!

10:41 PM  
Blogger Carlos E. Jimenez O. said...

Latn American Presidents are going back in time. Moreover, I am hearing the same speach from the 60's.

During the 80's everybody support "Neo Liberalismo" and now I am seeing people talking about nationalize public services and oil.

Nevertheless politicians jump from "socialism" to "capitalism" back and forward. If Milton Friedman were alive, he would agreed with me. Latin American needs either a dictator like Pinocher or a revolution. People is really tired, literally level are dropping. It is a matter of time.

"Gringos" are no the one to blame. For politicians like Chavez o Correa is easy yo blame americans. In short period of time, latin america is going to be like central america, who are also going back in time (Ortega). The future is sad. I read so parts from your book "Cuentos Chinos". Definetely, nothing is going to happen.

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont understand Oppenheimer's obsession with Chavez's Venezuela.

Oppenheimer lives in the US which currently has the world's largest prison population- more than 2 million Americans are languishing behind bars- no other country keeps so many of its own people in gulags- not even China.

Next consider the fact that Oppenheimer lives in a country that has already led to the death of 750,000 civilians in Iraq under the brutal American occupation of that defenseless country.

And yet Oppenheimer is worried about Chavez because the government there has decided to implement the same oil policy which is in place in advanced countries like Norway.

Oppenheimer has no clue what he's talking about; even his comparisons with China and India are silly- the Chinese would never allow foreign companies to hold a majority in Chinese oil projects or allow its oil national champions like Petrochina and CNOOC to be majority controlled by foreign companies. Even the US shields its oil industry; you only have to look back to the US government blocking the Chinese takeover of the Unocal oil company.

In short; Oppenheimer has a very unhealthy obsession with Chavez - maybe its time for Oppenheimer to start looking around the streets of Florida and the US and wonder why the poor people there have no access to health care or why 1 of every 10 black persons in America is currently in jail (most of the others where shipped to Iraq to install American "democracy" there if we are to believe Bush and Oppenheimer....).

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 1990's the alcoholic former president of Russia Boris Yeltsin sold off and privatized almost all of Russia's assets for next to nothing.

These assets fell into the hands of aproximately 10 "oligarchs" who made billions of dollars which were then siphoned off to offshore accounts in Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands, London and various other "shady" places. (read "Godfather of the Kremlin" by Paul Klebnikov).

Whilst these 10 highly corrupt "oligarchs" lived the lives of kings and emperors the Russian masses starved.

Fortunately Vladimir Putin took control of Russia and immediately proceeded to nationalize Russia's strategic oil and gas assets. He also prosecuted and jailed these corrupt oligarchs who had siphoned off all of Russia's wealth. These shady criminals include people like Boris Berezovsky (now living in London) , Vladimir Gusinksy, Leonid Nevzlin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and many other highly corrupt and immensely rich and criminal shady characters.

Now that these criminal oligarchs are gone Russia is booming under Vladimir Putin's leadership and Russia's oil and gas assets are firmly back in the hands of the Russian people who are benefiting like never before of Russia's immense wealth.

Oppenheimer makes a very grave mistake therefore in arguing that Venezuela is wrong to nationalize its strategic oil assets; you need only to compare the disastrous situation of Russia in the 1990's with the current economic situation of Russia !

George Soros and Oppenheimer might not be happy that the corrupt Russian oligarchs were kicked out of Russia but if you ask the Russian people what they think of all the corrupt shady oligarchs like Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky they will all tell you that Vladimir Putin has been an absolute hero in rescuing Russia from the disastrous privatizations that Oppenheimer now wants to impose on all Latin Americans !

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oppenheimer argues that in Norway government ownership of the oil industry works because the government there does not interfere whereas in Latin America he implies that the Latin Americans are incapable of successfully running a government owned industry because he writes that "In Latin America, history shows that most nationalizations end up with poorly qualified political appointees running the newly nationalized firms, with more political than managerial criteria. "

Well lets look at real world examples; Petrobras the Brazilian oil company is majority owned by the Brazilian government. In the last 5 years the stock price of Petrobras is up a whopping 344 % !!! Compare this amazing return with that of the privately held Exxon: Exxon's share price is only up 90% during the same 5 yr period.

If government interference can generate a return of 344 % in five years then lets have more government intereference - it seems to work very well in Brazil !

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many would argue that Chile is Latin America's most succesful economy.

Interestingly the largest and most succesful Chilean company is 100% owned by the government: namely the massive copper producer "CODELCO" which produces almost 25% of the world's copper.

Oppenheimer would probably try to convince his readers that this is a mistake and that Chile should immediately sell this massive copper company to an American hedge fund.

Personally I think the Chilean government is doing a fine job in running Codelco and I dont buy Oppenheimer's argument that Latin Americans are incapable of efficiently managing state owned companies in strategic sectors.

If you look at Europe you will find also that significant government control of strategic industries has paid off: it took more than 30 years of careful government stewardship for Airbus to take over the global lead in civilian aircraft production.

The Americans at Boeing would tell you that this is due to illegal European government subsidies but the Americans cynically ignore the fact that Boeing is the beneficiary of hundreds of billions of dollars of US government defense contracts.

The lessson here therefore is that Oppenheimer and the Americans always ignore the real facts when it suits them; there are countless examples in Latin America and the world where government ownership and government leadership in strategic industries has led to very succesful achievements which would never have been possible in Oppenheimer's or George Soros's world where they dream of the day that all global assets are privatized and owned by a couple of hedge funds from New York.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that anonymous and his/her oligarchs are doing quite well accusing Mr. Oppenheimer and the capitalist system all over the place. Let me cite a metaphor to these commusociolibs that pretend to turn the Americas back a la Fidel in Cuba: You take a competition between smart businessmen like the Japanese, for example, and a group of Mexican leftists, Venezuelan leftists, Ecuadorean leftists, etc. The competition is on a lake and it involves two boats needing eleven (including the coxswain). The Japanese boat finishes 100 meters ahead of the Latin American Communists' one. Why? Because in the Japanese boat there is one coxswain and ten rowers. In the Latin American Communists boat there are eleven coxswains.

Mr. Oppenheimer's discussions of Venezuela, et al (Ecuador, Bolivia, etc.) are more than justified. Those countries will go down the drain in angst, anguish, and gnashing of teet, because of communist sobs misleading the public and lying all over the place, using the people's ignorance to sell them not the Brooklyn Bridge, but the worst and most lethal medicine: Communism.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YPF was Argentina's oil and gas company and tremendously profitable.

Carlos Menem decided to follow Andres Oppenheimer's privatization dogma and sold YPF to the Spanish Repsol company.

Ask any Argentine today wether they are happy with YPF and all of Argentina's oil and gas assets having been sold to the Spanish- any Argentine can tell you that this was the stupidest sale of the century !!!

Menem sold Argentina's crown jewel when oil was at U$ 15/barrel ; 5 years later these same barrels are worth more than U$ 50/barrel !!!!

Now its too late of course- Argentina will never again benefit from its immense oil and gas wealth- under Oppenheimers twisted economic logic all these profits now go to the Spanish headquarters of Repsol whilst in Argentina 1/3 of the population is living in absolute poverty.

Had Argentina kept national control of its oil and gas assets the immense wealth generated by these assets would have stayed in Argentina.

Unfortunately thanks to people like Carlos Menem and Andres Oppenheimer the proud nation of Argentina is being raped by predatory overseas companies which siphon off all of Argentina's wealth and invest nothing in the local economy.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Mi nombre es Mucha said...

Nice blog

9:39 PM  
Blogger roberto e said...



10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:03 AM  
Blogger Sebastián Gómez said...

Andres, muy buen reporte y creo yo muy acertadas sus conclusiones.
Quisiera pedirle dos cosas, la primera es si puede publicar de alguna forma sus articulos en español ya que tengo interes en que los lea mi padre y el no entiende inglés como para leer un articulo. Dado que sus articulos direccionan temas latinoamericanos sería bueno poder contar con ellos en español. Lo otro, como uruguayo, me gusta pensar que el Uruguay mantiene cierta "cordura" en toda esta movida socialista radical que esta viviendo latinoamerica, pero me gustaria conocer la opinion de unexterno. y la suya me parece muy valiosa. Me gustaría conocer su parecer sibre Uruguay en la region, el mundo y el futuro del mismo.
Muchas gracias,
Sebastián Gómez

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Statoil, the Norwegian oil company, traded on the Oslo stock exchange. I believe 30% is privately owned. And after the recent merger with Hydro 36.5% will be private. You should correct the inaccuracy in your report.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Good Luck!

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capitalism has not worked in South and Central America the way it has mostly worked in the USA - with the creation of a stable middle class. A society cannot function as Venezuela and Cuba previously did, a few at the top while the vast majority lives in sqalor and poverty. When this happens, you get Castro and Chavez, big surprise right? Perhaps Chavez will work out if he can avoid corruption or becoming too dictatorial. Frankly, and to most outside the USA, he looks no more "dictatorial" then Bush, especially when it comes to all the stories, circulating everywhere, about USA spying on its citizens and Guantanamo.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Andres Oppenheimer said...

Sebastian, gracias por escribir. Puedes encontrar todas mis columnas en espanol en

10:11 AM  
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6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To hope, still, that Chavez will not get too dictatorial and might work out is to say that there is no sunlight during the day, or darkness at night. Chavez is a hardline commie, and is already full of powers, not to say that he's a clown and completely, like Castro, full of their own feces.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quizás las nacionalizaciones en Venezuela mejoren el nivel de vida de los empleados que trabajan en esas empresas, pero eso durará hasta que se acabe el petroleo. Después tendrán que regresar las inversiones extranjeras y las de la clase alta Venezolana porque habrá desempleo. En ese momento se acabará una época, tendrán que poner los pies sobre la tierra; cuando eso suceda, veo difícil que regrese un gobernante como Hugo Chávez.

9:27 PM  

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