Stiglitz defends nationalization in Bolivia

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Joseph Stiglitz believes the nationalization plans of the Morales government in Bolivia should be praised and criticizes the conditions under which previous oil deals were penned:

As with many privatizations elsewhere, there are questions as to whether the foreign investors have kept their side of the bargain… The problem in Bolivia is a lack of transparency, both when contracts are signed and afterwards. Without transparency, it is easy for citizens to feel that they are being cheated – and they often are. When foreign companies get a deal that is too good to be true, there is often something underhanded going on. Around the world, oil and gas companies have themselves to blame: too often, they have resisted calls for greater transparency. In the future, companies and countries should agree on a simple principle: there should be, to paraphrase President Woodrow Wilson’s memorable words, “open contracts, openly and transparently arrived at.”

For now, the world should celebrate the fact that Bolivia has a democratically elected leader attempting to represent the interests of the poor people of his country. It is a historic moment.

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