Anyway, I did manage to make it happen. I lived and worked in the United States, South Africa and New Zealand. Moreover, I have been on holidays/vacation quite a few times to Canada and the United Kingdom. All this looks pretty much like a combination of Plan A and Plan B. However, you never know which twists and turns life is going to take. It had never dawned on me that I might end up living in Latin America. So far I have spent three years there. It may be the right time to do a little chatting about living in Latin America.
As often in life, there are pleasant and less pleasant aspects you have to put up with when living in Latin America. There are a bunch of things that make life in Latin America very pleasant. To illustrate it with an example, one of the things I was not used to before coming to Latin America is that lunches can take hours. The primary purpose of the exercise does not seem to be to get food into the stomach. The accent is rather on the social side of the do. As my life in Colima does not make me feel awfully overworked – to put it mildly – I have quickly extended this typical Latin American habit to my breakfasts in my favourite restaurants. They tend to take a couple of hours.
Life in Latin
America in general and in smaller places like Colima in particular tends
to be slower than in the developed world. My valued contemporaries – and
now my humble self as well – rarely deserve to be called in a hurry. All
sorts of things tend to take more time. You do things slowly. The drawback
of this lack of urgency is that that Latin American punctuality does
not have heaps in common with German punctuality.
After loads of years in business in South Africa and New Zealand, I am used to getting things done in a no nonsense but informal style. As a result, I cannot claim to be into this sort of formal mambo jambo.
In Spanish the terms “profesor” and “maestro” (teacher) are more or less synonymous and interchangeable. Students in my classes know that they run the risk of flunking the exam if they call me this sort of thing. They can use my first name instead. In a nutshell, I have no intention of playing along with this formal mambo jumbo, which is also reflected by using professional and academic titles, excessively in my opinion.
You may associate magical realism in literature as much with Latin America as inequality. According to the World Bank, the wealthiest ten percent of the population earn forty eight percent of total income, whilst the poorest ten percent earn about one and a half percent. To put things into perspective, the respective figures for the developed world are about twenty nine percent and two and a half percent.
to the World Bank, there are primarily four reasons for the tremendous
inequality in Latin America. First, access to education could be a little
more equal. Second, the income of educated folks is out of proportion high.
Third, poor people tend to reproduce more vigorously, which means that
they have to share their income with larger families. Fourth, targeting
of public expenditure does not deserve to be called a success story. As
often, the solution is not a chimerical solution, which is to say government
of bureaucrats, by bureaucrats, for bureaucrats.
However, all this inequality stuff does not directly affect me because I spend most of my time in Colima in very pleasant surroundings – e.g. on campus, at home in my fortress and in my favourite restaurants. But this sort of thing forms an integral part of life in Latin America. As Colima seems to be rather prosperous by Latin American standards, things are presumably a bunch less plesant elsewhere.
New Wealth In Latin America
On the other hand, during the past decade Latin America underwent some dramatic economic liberalisation and deregulation. In the course of that process, Latin American economies have become more stable and domestic markets have been growing. As a result, the level of wealth has increased throughout Latin America. In particular Brazil, Chile and Argentina (before the financial collapse there) have benefited from the creation of new wealth. However, even Mexico has been growing after wasting years in the doldrums.
As I tend to be a little opinionated, the deregulation in Latin America and the creation of new wealth there reflect that the subcontinent offers potential for folks who are fond of deviating from the mainstream to pursue roads less taken. The key to success and prosperity is to do things differently. Warren Buffett once dropped a remark along the lines that traditional wisdom frequently emphasises tradition but neglects wisdom. Who dares argue with the oracle of Omaha? Latin America may be a case in point for the right sort of folks.
of international banks have discovered Latin America as a fertile soil
to do business. The subcontinent and its prosperous population used to
be catered for by international banks in Miami, based there predominantly
on Brickell Avenue. Since the taxation and regulatory environment in Latin
America has become more favourable, a bunch of international banks now
operate with branches within the región. In Mexico Citybank bought
Banamex and the Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya bought Bancomer. BNP
Paribas operates in Panama and various other countries. ABN Amro caters
for retail clients in Argentina and Uruguay. There are a lot more. In a
nutshell, Latin America has turned into a fast growing región for
international banks serving private clients. It contains a message for
the potential of the entire región.
The Capitalist Revolution In Latin America
Paul Craig Roberts is chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and research fellow at the Independent Institute. Karen La Follette Araujo is president of the Hemispheric Studies Institute. They have penned the book “The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America”. “The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America” focuses on the economic aspects of the subcontinent and presents these aspects in their political and historical contexts.
Paul and Karen
illustrate that less developed countries may learn lessons from the privatisation
and deregulation in Latin America. The authors conclude that developing
nations do not need top down foreign aid. Developing nations rather need
economic development that results in a well functioning capitalist system.
As far as my humble self is concerned, it looks as if I fall into the last category. A while ago, friends of mine in Colima told me that I look great now whilst looking old and tired when I arrived in Colima. So we better continue for some more time in Colima.
The following is a list of articles written by Jurgen for the magazine:
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