The other day I wrote about how an Economist article distorted the picture of Bolivian opposition groups to Morales. These groups are free market in ideology and support foreign capital investment, while Morales is a statist and wary of Western nations in general. Unsurprisingly, The Economist treats Morales critically while implicitly supporting the opposition groups. There’s also the usual assumption that Morales and his socialist policies are running the Bolivian economy into the ground.
But he’s not! So far Bolivia’s economy has done alright for itself. Between setting records for currency reserves (over $8 billion now), and surviving the global slowdown with a positive growth rate intact, Bolivia’s economy is not in a bad spot. Perhaps the biggest criticism of Morales is his inability to get ATPDEA trade preferences reinstated. But that’s more a function of a strange political calculation in Washington and Morales has responded with export subsidies to help businesses dependent on the U.S. market. Morales can still stumble and I don’t know how well the nationalization card will play out, but Bolivia’s economic outlook is definitely positive.