Thorbjorn Waagstein

Thorbjørn Waagstein, Economist, PhD, since 1999 working as international Development Consultant in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

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Wednesday, 18 March 2020 22:42

The European and US handling of the new corona virus (COVID-19) epidemic has been dominated by the story that this epidemic is unstoppable. We can perhaps slow the course, but finally the same amount of people will be infected, it was said. This might also be the best, as then an important part of the population would then be immunised and we would thus avoid a later flaring up of the epidemic. It was even said that efforts to stop the epidemic would be unscientific, a result of politicians eager to be seen ‘doing something’. That would be the turf of the populists. This is absolute and complete nonsense.

Friday, 21 February 2020 22:32
In October 2019 the Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced out of office. Popular mobilisations against the outcome of the presidential elections (claimed to be fraudulent) with road blocks, burning of ballot boxes, storming and looting of government offices and homes of leading Government figures, culminated in the Military Chief, William Kaliman, suggesting that the President step down, making it clear they were not going to defend him. So Evo resigned and went into exile in Mexico. This is what we normally call a coup. But the international media - right and 'left' - celebrated it as a victory for democracy - with a few honorary exceptions. But a coup is a coup, and that has been confirmed by what has happened since. Now Bolivia and its fragile political stability is in grave peril.
Thursday, 07 November 2019 21:10

The management of the Venezuelan economy has been surprisingly incompetent and disastrous, despite sitting on the world's biggest oil reserves. Sanctions and embargo against Venezuela have accelerated the decline, with inflation bordering on hyperinflation, a collapsing economy and mass migration. There is much to dislike in the Venezuelan Government and its policy, and by the way in the opposition, too. But sanctions and embargo is the wrong policy, causing further suffering for the Venezuelan people. Recognizing a self-proclaimed president and supporting a bogus uprising is converting it into a farce. It is old US policy to treat its foes like this. But what the EU is doing, supporting this, is very difficult to understand. Now the Europeans can no longer just blame the Venezuelan Government. They have decided to take on shared responsibility for the suffering of the Venezuelan people.

Monday, 04 November 2019 23:29

When Mauricio Macri won the Argentine Presidential elections in 2015, there was excitement in Washington, the European Union and, above all, among the Latin American right. They would finally get rid of the incompetent and populist government in Argentina. 'The technocrats to the rescue', wrote 'The Economist', and stated that Macri 'is choosing well-regarded technocrats to occupy the main economic positions'. Unfortunately, after making a heroic attempt to rescue the country, Macri lost the presidential elections in October 2019 and the same bad populist guys (and women) are returning. Or this is what the international mainstream media want us to believe. They are not only wrong, it is a flagrant distortion of the facts.

Saturday, 29 June 2019 20:52

The ongoing US trade war against China will have deep longer term repercussions, independently of whether a trade deal is reached to end it. Had it only been a question of erratic actions by a lunatic president, the effects could have been limited. But Trump is not alone. The general mood in the US establishment is that China should be contained, or even rolled back. So the key-word is now ‘disentangling’ of the US economy from China.

Thursday, 27 June 2019 18:00

The ongoing trade war that the US has unleashed against China will change the history of the 21st century, independently of whether an agreement is eventually reached between the parties or not. It signals the decision of the US to prevent China from growing into an economic superpower, using whatever means it has at hand. But this is an extremely dangerous and futile policy. China has more than four times the population of the US. As it develops, its economy will inevitably surpass the US. There is nothing the US can do to prevent that, so they will have to find out how best to live with it. Unfortunately, this is not how an important part of the US establishment sees it.