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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars En respuesta a MADC "mdiaz"
Estimado opinador:

Permítame que respetuosamente discrepe de algunas de sus aseveraciones en su crítica a "Cuentos Chinos" de Andrés Oppenheimer. Pienso que este libro promueve EXACTAMENTE el mensaje que America Latina debe leer y asimilar, so pena de quedarse inevitablemente en el oscurantismo economico en pleno siglo XXI. Es verdad que,...
Published on June 19, 2006 by P. Ramos

versus
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Verdades y Falacias
Disculpen la falta de acentos.

Como cualquier ser humano, Andres Oppenheimer tiene sus matices objetivos y subjetivos. Es un libro que se debe leer con reservas y hay cosas cuestionables como la generalizacion de que un obrero aleman gana 38 dolares la hora, que le van restando credibilidad poco a poco.

Tiene sin embargo muchos conceptos rescatables...
Published on November 11, 2006 by A. Salcedo De Loyola


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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars En respuesta a MADC "mdiaz", June 19, 2006
Estimado opinador:

Permítame que respetuosamente discrepe de algunas de sus aseveraciones en su crítica a "Cuentos Chinos" de Andrés Oppenheimer. Pienso que este libro promueve EXACTAMENTE el mensaje que America Latina debe leer y asimilar, so pena de quedarse inevitablemente en el oscurantismo economico en pleno siglo XXI. Es verdad que, como usted dice, este no es un texto tecnico o riguroso desde el punto de vista macroeconomico. Dudo que esa haya sido la intencion de Oppenheimer, quien es un periodista y relator, mas que un tecnologo de ciencias economicas. Su prosa amena y anecdotica tiene como finalidad llegarle al comun de los lectores interesados, no aisladamente al aparatchnik academico.

Oppenheimer SI menciona, en varias ocasiones, que la apertura total no es necesariamente la receta ideal. De hecho, en su demostracion de el exito alcanzado por China hace manifiesto el hecho que esta economia ha tenido exito abriendose poco a poco, y sin abandonar el ferreo control estatal en las areas que le interesan.

Tambien menciona instancias en que paises han tenido exito al abrir sus economias, dandole la espalda a recomendaciones del FMI o el World Bank. (al no tener el libro a la mano, lamento no poder dar citas especificas, ni dar paginas).

El mensaje mas importante que el libro da, y que es necesario que los latinoamericanos captemos, es que las vias populistas, izquierdosas y paternalistas representan una vision retrograda (CEPALista) de la cual nuestros paises no han podido zafarse, y que, al igual que un ladrillo encadenado al cuello, representan un lastre que impide el surgimiento de nuestras economias en el ambito de las naciones.

El anti-americanismo a ultranza que su comentario pareciera proponer, forma parte del problema latinoamericano. Estados Unidos, como cualquier pais del mundo, velara SIEMPRE por sus propios intereses primero que los de los vecinos. (Usted cree que la Union Sovietica no era asi?) A sabiendas de este hecho, Los paises que, por su situacion geografica estan en el area de influencia del coloso del norte TIENEN QUE lograr establecer solidos acuerdos de desarrollo con los Estados Unidos, que por un lado impidan que este gigante atropelle nuestros intereses, pero por el otro lado, que nos permita abrir nuestra influencia a un mercado pudiente de 270 millones de personas, para poder comerciar con algo mas que economias extractivas, o rubros agricolas.

Si el libro no menciona, como usted dice, el intervencionismo norteamericano en el pasado de nuestras naciones, es precisamente porque esa es la mentalidad NO PRODUCTIVA que hay que colocar a un lado si queremos crecer como paises. Olvidemonos de los rencores del pasado, que solo sirven a los politicos para ganar votos populistas! Vamos a seguir llorando por lo de Chiquita banana en centroamerica, y la explotacion Americana del cobre en Chile, del hierro y el petroleo en Venezuela, etc. etc.? Hasta cuando?

Compare usted a Chile, a Costa Rica o incluso al beneficio que Mexico ha obtenido de NAFTA, con la retorica primitiva y atrasante de un Evo Morales o un Hugo Chavez, que basan el exito de sus estrategias en la circunstancia siempre cambiante de los precios energeticos y en la ignorancia y atraso de sus respectivas audiencias.

La senda hacia el desarrollo esta llena de dificultades, entre las que se cuentan extraer y eliminar la "cultura del subdesarrollo" tan predominante en nuestras naciones, combatir la corrupcion a todos los niveles, y acabar con el nacionalismo a ultranza, que aisla y atrasa a las naciones. "Cuentos Chinos" muestra de una manera sencilla y amena, como paises anteriormente acosados por males similares, han logrado sobreponerse a ellos y estan compitiendo en las "grandes Ligas" de la economia mundial. Este libro no tiene desperdicio, y lo recomiendo sin reservas.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The TRUTH about Latin America today, December 1, 2005
By 
Bernardo Benes "Serious Reader" (Surfside, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I just finished Cuentos Chinos. A a veteran Latin Americanits going back to the beginning of the 60's I find that Latin America has stayed behind of other regions of the World- Europe and Asia. Poverty has kept at an intolerable rate of 42%. The massive fleeing of capital- $ 400,000 Million- most of the time hidden- shows total lack of confidence by their own business community. The worst part is the need for a major investment for education. Oppenheiomer leaves the door open for some poor countries to copy China, Ireland, Singapure and Botswana who made it very fast through education.Oppenheimer has done a very serious research with his traveling and interviews.he has shown courage when discussing crime rates in different areas. Mor policeman killed last year in the City of Rio de Janeiro than in all U.S.. Most of his findings are on the dot. Dr. Bernardo Benes- SURFISDE, FL.- 305-785-7028
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars is a great read!!!, February 20, 2006
Cuentos Chinos" is a great read, and makes an extraordinary contribution to current writings on Latin America. While most other authors compare Latin America's present to its past, Andres Oppenheimer compares its current situation with that of China, India, Eastern Europe and Ireland. Throughout the book, Oppenheimer tries to answer a key question: Why are countries like China and India succeeding in reducing poverty, and Latin America not? To find out, he takes us to China, and tells us through interviews with government officials, business people and academics, how China is ironically much more "capitalist" than Latin America. Among many examples, the author points out that while China is teaching compulsory English to all schoolchildren starting at 3rd grade, countries such as Mexico and Argentina are teaching English starting at 7th grade, two hours a week. "Cuentos Chinos" makes a compelling case that Latin American countries must become more competitive in the global economy, or they will fall farther behind.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He either sees the forest rather than the tress or prefer to focus, April 14, 2006
By 
Yeah, this is a very good book and I agree with the past reviews. I am from Mexico so I have some idea about what Andres O. (AO) wrote on Mexico and his mistakes and good points could be extended to his whole book somehow.

AO didn't write about the biggest white-collar fraud in Mexico in the last decade: the FOBAPROA. Most of the Mexican media have remained quite silent about this fraud and most of the population is totally ignorant about this problem, even those who read the news. I am not well informed either, but let me summarize it: Mexico had serious crisis in 1995 and many banks were about to go bankrupt, thus the government has been giving them money until now. The problem is that many banks got in trouble because of their own corrupt practices, sort of Enron type. Today the Mexican banks are booming and have the best of two worlds: the independence of private companies, and the fat money from governments. "Our" banks barely, if ever, loan money to people to start business, their customer service is terrible (it's normal to wait at least half an hour in queues) and they charge commissions for every single things you do with them. They are worse parasites of society than people on welfare; at least this is how many Conservatives regard poor people who happen to need government help.

Second, AO only criticized the public universities, which is a very popular practice in here. But he left alone the private ones whom I know by personal experiences that are plain terrible. Their basic flaw in these schools at all levels is that they do pay too much attention to consumer service -unlike the banks- in the sense that it's students who rule in those schools. If they don't like a teacher he simple gets fired, and it seems this problems is worst in the most arrogant of these junk colleges: Tec de Monterrey (ITESM). Examples:

Eduardo Sojo is an ITESM graduate and top government official. Around June 2005 he explained Mexico's situation to several international economists (such as Nobel Prize winner Lawrence Klein) with hats of different colors rather than using advanced statistics. Some journalist poked fun at his superficiality but these guys are really basic, even when Eduardo might hold a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. I gave them a class on thermodynamic one time and they wanted me to explain terms like energy with fancy drawings like fires, seriously. But they did clarify that it's the students who evaluate the professors and can dismiss him really quickly. No wonder ITESM perennially recruits professors. Next, their graduates take on manager positions in both a failed Mexican government, and in companies which are being wiped out by foreign competition.

All in all, the Mexican private companies and businesspeople cannot be looked up, despite the fact they consider themselves great. I do believe that the upper class in Mexico keeps this nation poor and expelling its population abroad, especially USA as everybody knows.

However, AO did show the many mistakes from the current Mexican presidency which is lead by affluent people, the same types as the bankers and graduated from private schools. So therefore, AO didn't focus in two important groups of the Mexican riches but rather on how they have governed Mexico now for first time in about 75 years. These people had complained bitterly about the government for all those years and in 2000 they finally took over the presidency...with disappointing results for Mexico.

Let's say that AO watched the forest rather than trees with good final analyses. Or perhaps he prefered to do the opposite and focused on a few topics from each country in order to explain bigger areas. His search reached a good level of insight while being easily readable at the same time. It was a nice reading for me.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cuentos Chinos, April 15, 2006
By 
Luis Chavez "Luischa24" (San Pedro Sula, Honduras) - See all my reviews
Great Read!! Highly recommended to the not so well informed on latinamerica and the well informed as well. Must read for every latinamerican!!! As I read it, could not help and compare it to classics like El Manual del Perfecto Idiota by Vargas Llosa, Montaner, and Mendoza, Who Prospers? and Underdevelopment is a state of mind: A Latin American Case Study by Lawrence Harrison.

All in all, Andres Oppenheimer compares the political and especially economic policies of most Latin American countries(with the exception of Chile) with the policies of countries as diverse and far away as China, Ireland, Czech Republic, Poland, Botswana, Vietnam, South Korea, India and Chile(the lone latinamerican country according to Andres Oppenheimer that has gotten it right). It is here where Andres makes one of his very few mistakes. It is one made by ommission. He claims only Chile has gotten it right, which is not true. Small, tiny El Salvador has been doing the same thing for the last 8 or 9 years, with great results. As of today Chile and El Salvador enjoy the least risk to investors in Latinamerica according to Standard & Poors.

Nevertheless hes absolutely right in stating that the latinamerican left has remained in the past, thinking about revolution, social justice, big government, looking at its belly button instead of opening up to globalization. As a matter of fact this very word, GLOBALIZATION, is a curse word in most latin american countries. He also straight shoots against latin entrepreneurs who have joined the government to establish monopolies. Our entrepreneurs are allergic to competion.

The title and most of its content revolves around China and its free market revolution since the times of Deng Xiao Ping, which hits the nail right on its head because most latin american leftists(the majority) are under the delusion that China is an example of a communist revolution gone well. This book is going to shatter a great deal of myths all over latin america. In explaining why latin america has lagged behind, this is a TOP 5 book along the books mentioned above plus Fabricantes de Miseria also by Vargas Llosa, Montaner and Mendoza.

Aside from not mentioning El Salvador, Andres makes two other mistakes, which in no way undermine the stature and quality of the book. In my opinion in an attempt to see his book legitimized by the latinamerican left(could and hope Im wrong), he joins the "Blame America First" crowd. He lays blame on America for not helping latinamerica enough, and the Bush administration for prioritizing the war on terror instead of Aid for latinamerica. Andres forget that no country has aided latinamerica economically more than the US. He forgets about organizations like US AID, which is an example of aid around the world, he also forgets that most NGOs in latinamerica are in some way financed by the US government or US citizens. As for the Bush administration prioritizing Irak or Middle East over latin amrrica, well, it is perfectly understandable and everybody saw it coming after September 11. In my opinion blaming America for not helping latin america enough is dangerous and aids the side that is against chinese/czech/polish/chilean type economic reforms. It is(and Ive seen it first hand)exactly this what the left says. It is America to blame!! Lets hear what American Imperialism says and do the opposite!! The other mistake, Andres makes, is he shrugs cultural determinism as nonsense. Ive read a great deal of cultural determinist books, and they reach very similar conclusions reached by Andres in Cuentos Chinos. Andres himself states, that Chinese officials told him that one reason latinamerica is not developing as fast as it should is because we still believe in the Dependency Theory. Cultural determinist like Harrison for example, reached the same EXACT conclusion. The Dependency Theory(theory that claims rich countries have built their wealth at the expense of poor countries) is very well ingrained in our latinamerican psyche. You would not understand how many times fellow colleague teachers of mine have told my students that making money, seeking profit, and entrepreneurship are sinful. How many times Ive heard Catholic bishops and archbishops that all forms of material gain are wrong. Cultural determinist also reached the same conclusion Andres did, that things can change, culture can adapt. Nevertheless, this book is one of the best Ive read, since it tells us whats wrong in our side of the world and tells us what to do to solve these problems, as well as being extremely researched. This book will be a classic, and if your are a latin american you should buy it, read it and recommend others to do the same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La competitividad es la salida, September 11, 2007
Excelente libro! La sociedad latinoamerciana ha preferido seguir los líderes populistas que le ofrecen una vida "fácil". Bajo esta doctrina, los gobiernos ayudan a la gente mientras siga siendo pobre. No hay planes económicos concretos y cuando los llega a haber, cambian los gobiernos y a volver a empezar! Aquellos que llaman el libro neoliberal no se dan cuenta que la propuesta de Oppenheimer aplica a todos los modelos políticos, siempre y cuando la economía se enfoque en la competitividad. Ha entrevistado a muchos de los actores principales del desarrollo económico mundial. Muy buen trabajo de investigación y opinión.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelente Libro, February 14, 2007
Andrés Oppenheimer sin lugar a dudas tiene una forma de escribir muy sencilla y se me hace excelente que se traten temas un tanto difíciles como económicos y sociales con un lenguaje tan sencillo.

No es nada nevo ver que países como China, India, Irlanda, Polonia están creciendo económicamente de manera increíble mientras que latinoamerica no lo esta haciendo y cada vez nos estamos perdiendo más en el mercado económico mundial, este es un excelente libro el cual nos dice que es lo que China, India, Irlanda, están haciendo bien y que es lo que latinoamerica no está haciendo, y el gran peligro del populismo la cual regala dinero a los pobres generando mas dependencia y sin generar riqueza ni desarrollo económico a largo plazo además de culpar de nuestos problemas a otros y de como los políticos populistas nos hacen dar como algo negativo a la globalización y privatización. Los cuales estos países con gran crecimiento los han abrazado y su población celebran cada vez que una empresa es privatizada. Me encantó el ejemplo que pone de como un periódico comunista en China celebra con emoción la expanción de Mc'Donalds en China!

Como mexicano me pareció su excelente su análisis del sexenio de Fox un sexenio el cual si bien hubo una estabilidad económica sin devaluación del peso y sin crisis económica, lamentablemente no se creció ni siquiera cerca del 7% que Fox había prometido en campaña, lo cual debemos de verlo como un verdadero fracaso económico, además de sus errores en sus relaciones exteriores en especial con EEUU.

Otra parte en la cual no puedo estar mas de acuerdo es en lo referente a la educación en latinoamerica la cual no le ha dado a la enseñanza del ingles su lugar como debiera y aun mas de acuerdo estoy en su análisis de la UNAM un verdadero "modelo de ineficiencia" la cual después de recibir del erario publico mas de 15,000 millones de dolares al año , después de negarse a ser evaluada por organismos externos escudándose en su autonomía universitaria, de su sistema de que los alumnos pueden estar hasta varias décadas inscritos sin concluir sus estudios, de que estamos graduando mas Filósofos y Comunicadores que Ingenieros Petrolíferos e Informáticos y el nulo apoyo que reciben las universidades privadas del estado, pues son cosas muy preocupantes que muy poca gente por no decir nadie se ha atrevido a criticar en México.

En fin este libro es un excelente análisis de la situación política y social actual de latinoamerica en un contexto económico global.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impactante Realidad, September 24, 2007
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Muy pocos libros me han presentado una vision tan real de la situacion Latinoameriaca como lo logra Oppenheimer en este libro. Soy de Costa Rica y estamos a 2 semanas de el primer referendum de la historia del pais el cual definira su futuro con CAFTA-DR. Que manera de presentarme la impactante realidad en la que vivimos los Latinoamericanos. Es triste lo retrogodos y cerrados que son algunos gobernantes que aplauden cosas absurdas como que Venezuela celebre por cerrar sus McDonalds y al mismo tiempo China festeja porque va abrir cientos de estos alrededor de todo el pais. China se pone de rodillas por mas inversion extranjera y en comparacion, algunas influencias politicas las espantan por estos lados del mundo. El comercio y la apertura hacia la globalizacion no son opciones, son la unica alternativa.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enrique Ho Fernandez, May 26, 2006
Simplemente, excelente. Siguiendo la tradición del "Manual del Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano", Oppenheimer le abre los ojos al lector de la falsa complaciencia en la que han caído los latinoamericanos con respecto al presente y futuro. Latinoamérica se está quedando atrás, mientras que Asia navega fuertemente hacia adelante. Sin embargo, el autor ofrece recetas que ya han sido exitosas en otros continentes y países, y nos dá una luz al final del túnel. Este libro debería ser leído por todos los populistas e izquierdistas que están hundiendo a América Latina en la pobreza.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Summary of World Tendencies, June 26, 2006
By 
Boris Augusto Mendez Paiz (Guatemala, Central America) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It is a great book, written in a friendly language. Lots of statistics and facts and very concise, provide sound comparisons between Latin America and the rest of the world in terms of economics and politics.

One of the best books on international tendencies I ever read. I stongly recomend it to those interested to understand current macro trends in Latin America in a global context.
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Cuentos Chinos (Best Seller (Debolsillo)) (Spanish Edition)
Cuentos Chinos (Best Seller (Debolsillo)) (Spanish Edition) by Andres Oppenheimer (Paperback - February 15, 2011)
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