Thorbjorn Waagstein

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

Website URL:

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 00:12

An American researcher made headlines a couple of years ago as she claimed that a study of past experiences showed that non-violent regime-change movements only need to mobilise 3.5% of the population to be successful. That was taken as good news as regime-change can be achieved without need to resort to military force. But what if the majority of the population does not agree with the 3.5%? Is the outcome still democratic? The most recent case is Bolivia.

Sunday, 18 October 2020 20:56
Why should we care about whom the US elects as president? It is an internal US affair, and the American electorate is free to choose whoever they want. There is however a cacth. As the US possesses an enormous world-wide military power and dominates the international financial system, it affects all us non-Americans how they are going to use their power. In this sense, both candidates are absolutely unappetizing. Even so, for some countries it may matter who wins: Cuba, Iran, Yemen and Russia. For these four countries Biden may be the better outcome. And for some global issues also: first of all nuclear arms control and climate change.
Sunday, 05 July 2020 18:35

The economic crisis caused by the new corona virus has in the advanced economies been paid for in the same way as the 2007-2009 Great Financial Crisis: pumping money into the financial sector and increasing public expenditure. Result: more public debt to be paid back in the future, basically by common people. This cannot continue eternally. The next crisis has to be financed otherwise, shifting the burden to those who sit on the cash.

Monday, 06 April 2020 22:06

The recent drop in oil prices is generally referred to as a ‘Saudi-Russian price war’. This is a wrong description. Two things are happening. Firstly, as renewables are becoming cheaper and cheaper, oil is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and all countries with large oil deposits are scrambling to get as much as possible out of the ground before it is too late. Secondly, the OPEC+ oil cartel has failed, as outsiders – often called ‘free riders’ – have increased production so much that the cartel is no longer worth while. These two factors are the death knell for OPEC+ and high price oil – the good times for the oil industry will never come back. The fall in demand because of COVID-19 is not the cause, it is only the trigger.

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.