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Friday, July 29, 2005

Soccer and Trade

Interesting observations from Prof. Martin Krause:

Argentina and Brazil have a long history in the top echelons of the sport with a seemingly endless source of talented players. One only has to look at the performance of their players in the most challenging tournaments in Europe to see that their control is global. In essence, Brazilians and Argentines are able to focus their attention on the highest stage, the World Cup, because they know they are able to compete with the best at the highest level of the game. And they are willing to play by the rules.

When it comes to matters of international trade and finance, however, this confidence is noticeably absent. Both Brazil and Argentina are fearful, preferring a timid approach to compete between them at the Mercosur, before risking moving towards the FTAA, and much less, of course, with the world at large. Unlike with the World Cup their governments do not like to play by the rules...

So the real question is: will there come a time when, like in soccer, Latin America will have an institutional framework allowing it to compete with the best? As long as this is not answered, Latin America will never move beyond the early qualifying rounds.

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