Stiglitz sides with Bolivia's Morales on State Oil
La Paz, 18 of May. Joseph Stiglitz, a 2001 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, today described the recent nationalization of hydrocarbons in Bolivia as a process of "return of a property" that already belonged to the Bolivian government and considered it "necessary" that Bolivia should receive a "just compensation" for its natural resources.
In contrast, from Washington, the International Monetary Fund (the IMF) warned the "far-reaching economic consequences" after the decision by Bolivian President Evo Morales, from whom it demanded compensations, and said that what happened could discourage foreign investors, according to news agencies.
...But US economist and former Vice President of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz emphasized that the failure of the neoliberal model imposed by the Washington Consensus that set out to reduce the role of the State in national economies to the minimum is evident, and underscored that Bolivia, once one of the best students of the neoliberal model, "felt all the pains (of its application) but has experienced no gains -- it's clear that it must have a change in its economic model."
In this context, Stiglitz did not wish to characterize the new energy policy of Evo Morales as nationalization, but would call it the "recovery" of Bolivia's resources, or the "return to Bolivia of a property that already was hers." Further, he indicated that Bolivia should receive a just value for the exploitation of its natural resources.
"When a person was robbed of a painting and then it is given back to him, we don't call it renationalization, but return of a property that was his to begin with," explained Stiglitz. In the same way, he questioned the existing contracts between the State of Bolivia and petro multinationals, highlighting that "in reality. there was no sale, since it was not made in accordance with laws or approval of the Congress -- where there is no property to be nationalized, there can't be nationalization."
That means that it was necessary to change the previous conditions "one way or another," added Stiglitz.
However, Stiglitz said that there are other questions on the matter: the first is if the investors receive a compensation appropriate for their investments, "and the government has said that, yes, there will be one"; and the second is that the value that Bolivia should receive for the exploitation of its natural resources is accumulating in favor of the Bolivian people, "and the government has declared that's the way it will be."