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The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty (Independent Studies in Political Economy) Paperback – April 28, 2006
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Yet, it's a good book. As Llosa writes, "For proof that Latin Americans are the same as others in their instinctive pursuit of self-interest through enterprise and exchange, no contemporary phenomenon speaks more eloquently than the informal ("underground") economy."
Llosa asserts poor Latinos " ... just like the rest, actually like to own property, produce goods and services privately, exchange them by contract rather than by command, and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Every politician and commentator praised the inventiveness, entrepreneurial spirit, productive potential, survival instincts, organizational skills, and cultural achievements of the 'informals,' as they began to call the poor."
All countries have an "informal" economy that operates outside the paperwork structure of formal society; in the US, "casual labour" is about 14 percent of the economy. In Peru it's about 60 percent, in Mexico, 50 percent, and 40 percent in Argentina.
The problem is that authoritarian rulers believe they, and not the people, they have the right to decide how the riches of society should be used. Latin America is proof that tax cuts and government subsidies for the rich are immensely effective in enriching the rich -- exactly what some now advocate as economic policy to create a new 'Los Estados Unidos'.
Llosa points out it's not just spending power that inhibits growth; it's also the lack of the usual protections of state authority. Unless one is rich, Latinos are often "illegals" in their homelands, victims of the whims of police, indifference by the government and intolerance by the church -- the same fate when they come to the US as undocumented migrants. For many, they are as "illegal" in their homelands as after they cross the border into "el Norte".
The impact on Latin societies is inefficiency, since "informals" have few or none of the rights and benefits of regular workers. Likewise in Arizona, "iilegals" provide cheap unregulated marginal labour during periods of expansion with none of the normal benefits or protections or costs of society. The problem, similar to a slave-owning society, is the creation of an informal economy that contributes little or nothing -- except docile labour -- to society.
Hopefully, some day he'll write a sequel to this book --- explaining how the prosecution and fate of "los illegales" in the US is similar to their homelands, and how this is creating a "third world" atmosphere in the US.