In this interview, published by El Mercurio on December 18th 2011, Fink criticized the governments of the US and Europe for their mismanagement of the crisis: “The problem with the United States is that people are sitting on money, both in cash and bonds, and companies are sitting on $3 billion in cash. Why? Because they are scared about the future. The US government has shown a total lack of leadership in inspiring and building confidence”.
The world was struggling to recover from the last financial crisis and Fink alerted that neither governments or central banks were pursuing the needed reforms. “The truth is that Washington and Wall Street have let down many people”.
I interviewed Christine Lagarde in October 2012 for El Mercurio. At that time, the IMF was dealing with the European debt crisis. “We are dealing with the legacy of the housing and financial crisis of 2008 originated in this country (USA) but spread to all economies rapidly and particularly the eurozone, where no action was taken immediately”.
In the interview, Lagarde forecasted correctly the years of low growth to come for the Eurozone and the global economy. “Restore the conditions for growth will take some time, whether in the Eurozone, in the U.S. or Japan. All economies where growth is weak, and the fiscal deficit and public debt has reached high levels will take some time, because these issues are resolved only by growing, but in this case the growth factors are simply not there”.
You can read the interview as it was published by El Mercurio (Spanish), and the versions published by Reuters, O’Globo and El Universal.
Nobel Prize in Economics 2013. Yale University Professor
Few weeks before he was awarded with Nobel in Economics, Robert Shiller discussed in this interview the lack of reforms in the financial markets, five years after the financial crisis. “There is no real interest to reform the financial markets”, he said.
Shiller also identified a change in the conditions of the global economy, which made it difficult to apply common principles and make predictions. “Nothing is clear. In 2000 it was clear that there was a bubble. But now, for example, we have the large emerging markets where the economy is slowing but at the same time there are real estate booms. It is all a puzzle”.
Two years later, in another interview, Shiller warned about the possibility of a new financial bubble and its burst. "Many of the elements that led us to the latest crisis are still present, including the tendency of people to get carried away by movements in the price of assets".
Author of "Why the Nations Fail"
Why do some Latin American countries seem destined to live through periods of crisis, again and again? Why do some countries achieve development and others not? Seeking for some answers I interviewed the professor Acemoglu in March 2014, when Venezuela was shaken by violent demonstrations against Nicolás Maduro and the questioned elections. “It will not be easy for Maduro to consolidate his power, and I am afraid that unfortunately that augurs few peaceful days for Venezuela”.
He was right. Since then, the political, economic and social conditions in Venezuela deteriorated rapidly. “Maduro is trying to survive as a dictator, as an autocrat”, warned Acemoglu.
Also his analysis about the definition of democracy has a special meaning nowadays: “Even when elections are free from intimidation, fraud or questionable practices, being elected by popular vote is not the only thing. Democracy also takes care of how politicians respect the rights of the people, serve the interests of the people. A democracy needs a government chosen in a truly competitive system of parties and institutions. In many cases, a president, who on paper is democratically elected, is elected in an environment of high intimidation. Putin is a good example of this. No one could say that Russia is a paragon of democracy ... and Venezuela is the same".
When everybody was talking in 2013 about the “Ecuadorian economic miracle”, I published this article in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Born Ecuadorian I have had seen such miracles before, always linked to high oil prices. It was easy to see why many looked with sympathy what was happening in Ecuador, a country with a growth rate around 5%. Two years after the publication of this article, the country experienced almost two years in recession and the public debt jumped from 21% to 45%.
This article described how the then government of the leftist Rafael Correa was undermining the private sector of the economy and indebting the country in unfavorable conditions.
VENEZUELA: A PATH INTO THE CRISIS
I have several articles about Venezuela, since Nicolás Maduro assumed as president. Most of them have been published by the German newspaper Die Tagespost. This article registers the beginning of what now is considered a humanitarian crisis. Published in November 2013, it recalls the first signs of shortages. According to Maduro, inflation and shortages are not the result of a failed economic model, but a conspiracy of the United States and the “right-wing oligarchy” to overthrow his government. The recurring power outages and one of the highest murder rates in the world (50 per 100,000) are also the product of a conspiracy of the opposition.
Instead of reforms, Maduro decided to “deepen the Bolivarian Revolution” started by the late leftist Hugo Chávez. Currency and price controls and more nationalizations followed. The article was published in German.