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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

07 August 2006

The virtues of populism

Last Thursday, union workers picketed facilities belonging to the Colombian state oil company, Ecopetrol. Their grievance was a government plan to sell off 20% of the company (not to privatize it fully, repeats the government) in order to raise capital and allow it to explore further in the country. The workers doubt the government’s sincerity and see the in plan the seeds of privatization. So they protested.

So often when I read of Hugo Chavez’s latest shenanigans, I get sad to think how bad populism can be for a country. But now I read this news from Colombia (news that has replicas around the world) and I am reminded of just how hard it is to take on the street. No wonder Chavez (and Morales, and others) just decide to ride the wave of populism rather than try to counter it.

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