How do we know ‘anything’ is a “good story”?

I´m reading post titles and being reminded of famous songs.  First it was Lars with “Believe it or not” and then Scott with a version of Lennon´s “Imagine (there´s no fiscal stimulus) it´s easy if you try…”

Early today Lars was ‘peddling’ Africa. The end of the cold war gave a boost to both eastern (communist) Europe and to Africa. Below some ‘visuals’ on a few of the countries mentioned.

Believe it or not_1

Kenya just upgraded from being a ‘disaster’ (falling productivity). To know if this will persevere we have to ‘dig deeper’. Angola, after the civil war subsided, had a big boom which unfortunately ended with the international crisis. Ghana, on the other hand appears to be on a more persistent trend which, surprisingly, was bolstered following the international crisis.

The other day Lars did a Chavez RIP post. The following chart indicates that Chavez got “lucky” after 2003 when oil prices boomed. During the first years of his ‘reign’ the country was impoverishing and the ‘uptake’ ended when oil prices stopped booming. But Chavez certainly managed to leave a pretty bleak inheritance to his (almost appointed) successor, Mr. Maduro.

Believe it or not_2

The Latin American ‘stars’ Lars mentioned: Chile, Colombia and Peru are graphed below.

Believe it or not_3

Chile´s advance more or less stopped following the Asia crisis of 1997/98, resuming more sedately when commodity prices began to boom (the ‘China effect’). Colombia showed a ‘level improvement’ with the ‘pacification’ of the country but has not shown any increase in growth. Peru has had two growth ‘spurts’, in the first half of the 1990s and more recently. Hopefully institutional improvement will keep it on a positive trend.

Given their very similar initial conditions, Chile and Poland provide an interesting contrast. By all accounts, Poland is doing much better. And note Chile is viewed as the Latin American ‘poster child’!

Believe it or not_4

Lastly, the two big Latin American economies that vie for ‘investor interest’: Brazil and Mexico. Neither has done well (for ease of comparison the scale is the same as for Chile, Colombia and Peru), but lately while Brazil appears to be ‘worsening’, Mexico appears to be ‘improving’.

Believe it or not_5

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One thought on “How do we know ‘anything’ is a “good story”?

  1. I assume like many others, I have met wonderful people from Latin America and Africa, who are warm and hard working and friendly.

    But their governments will ruin everything, repeatedly.

    Just like Russia. There was an “invest in Russia” push maybe 10 years back. P.U.

    I sometimes think the nicest people have the worst governments…..and vice versa…..

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