On Tuesday, the overarching theme of the class discussion was Latin America in the 21st century. We touched on various topics such as the release of the revelatory Panama papers that have rocked the global financial and political elite, as well as recent currency and economic crises that have shaken the region. When discussing the Panama Papers, we focused on the shady practice of setting up offshore tax accounts under an LLC and the fine line between legal and illicit activity when using these financial vehicles. I was surprised to learn upon further research that one of my favorite soccer players Lionel Messi was implicated in the papers. Much of our discussion on currencies centered on Argentina. We learned about the boom and bust cycle of Argentina’s currency resulting from imprudent monetary policy on the part of the government. Professor Picone mentioned how the Argentinian government had artificially parodied their peso with the American dollar. In doing so, the government established a policy of economic shortermism that created auspicious conditions for an economic crisis further down the road. In this same vein, I presented on a topic very pertinent to 21st century America: the fissure between industrialization and environmental preservation. My source was an online article from an the environmental campaign organization called Greenpeace. In my presentation, I discussed the accelerating rate of disappearance of Chile’s glaciers in the Patagonia region due to anthropogenic climate change and more importantly, Chiles mining industry, the countries most lucrative industry. I also discussed the measures that Greenpeace has taken, including creating a micronation called the Glacier Republic comprised of Chile’s ice fields, to raise awareness for glacial preservation and to exert pressure on the government to implement what would be the first legislation to regulate the mining industry and protect 50% of the glaciers. The dilemma that Chile’s government faces in reconciling economic growth for a developing country that needs all the revenue it can get while not ravaging the environment, is one that is shared by many other countries in Latin America.
- If you were the president of Chile what measures would you take to go about addressing the dilemma of reconciling economic growth while still preserving the glaciers?
2. What else can an organization like Greenpeace to do put pressure on the government to implement greater legislative protections for the glaciers?