Leadership: The Myth of Most Rebel Movements

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January26, 2007: American have to understand something very important, and fundamental, about politics in South America, and many other parts of the world. Most Latin American "revolutions" have been about which faction of the elite is currently in power, not about any fundamental change in how things are. They chose to call themselves "Socialists" or "Conservatives" as a matter of convenience, and in the hope of getting support/sympathy from abroad. Even Fidel Castro came from this culture. His father was an officer in he Spanish Army, who fought against Cuban independence, and later made sure Fidel had a healthy education in anti-Americanism. Our "friends" down there are the same as our enemies, but represent a difference of opinion among the ruling class, as to how best to keep the right kind of people on top of things.

Typically, the rebels are children of the upper and middle classes, and when the rebels succeed, they replace one form of police state with another. Often, the rebels impose a more oppressive form of government, which is, in due time, pisses too many people off, is overthrown, and replaced with a kinder and gentler form of the same old economic and political oppression.

The major problem in South America has always been a lack of economic freedom. Without that, most of the population stays poor, and unhappy. Talk of social justice in South America is usually just talk, because the wealthy families are very reluctant to let competition arise. They note, even if only instinctively, that the average family fortune in the United States only lasts about five generations. That fact is also lost on most Americans, because the celebrity driven media focuses on those few family fortunes that have lasted longer. The many great fortunes that just fade away over a few generations are not compelling news. But the new fortunes that replace them are, and that's what you see much less of in South America, and many other parts of the world where entrepreneurs are viewed as disruptive and a danger to the existing order.

But all the prosperous economies are driven by entrepreneurs, and "new money." That's what's behind the economic revolution in China, and the biggest danger to the Chinese Communist Party. Even the Chinese communists realized that without economic power, their political power was worth very little. But many countries are run by rich folks who are willing to strangle the national economy in order to preserve their positions. China let the entrepreneurs loose again, and now you have many of the new fortunes earned by families that had prospered under the empire. The talent is always there, if only those in power are willing to take a chance on change.

The curse of the hidebound is predominant throughout the "developing" world. Even in the African countries, that came out of colonialism with their first set of borders and government bureaucracies, the better organized and more aggressive families quickly grabbed money, and power. After that, the main purpose of politics was to hold on to the goodies, not do something that would benefit the entire nation.

 


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