I Have Lived My Life in Vain

Question on the final exam:

Today, Latin American countries suffer from high degrees of poverty, instability, violence, and racism. Draw on the knowledge of history you have gained from this course and on the readings we have done to discuss the reasons behind this.


The problem with Latin American countries is that instead of working hard and improving their lives they just sit there feeling like victims and blaming everybody else for their problems. They just need to get themselves together and stop being violent and racist to each other.

35 thoughts on “I Have Lived My Life in Vain

  1. You know, some of those Latin American countries would be better, if so many of their resources weren’t used in paying the crushing external debt AND in trying to keep drugs out of YOUR streets.

    It would be so easier just say “screw it, let the gringos poison themselves” and spend our resources in ourselves. But then you would accuse us of “not doing our part” or something like that.


      1. If “trying to keep drugs out of US streets” didn’t pay, why would Latin American countries do that? Surely, they also have an interest.

        You say it as if the moment they stop a war on drugs, a half of their problems will be solved. What would US do to them, if they really stoped? Would that really save a lot of money?

        – el


        1. They are trying to please the US. The drug consumption in Mexico has soared since Mexico joined the War on Drugs, the economy is in shambles. But Obama comes over, hugs whoever is the president, and the insanity continues.

          90% of drugs going through Mexico is pot. All this destruction is simply because of stupid marijuana.


          1. And the report by the US department of defense states that War on Drugs has made the consumption of drugs soar in the US too. This was years ago. Every piece of research demonstrates that War on Drugs solves no problems and creates many really bad ones. Yet nobody is considering stopping the insanity.

            In the countries where pot was legalized, absolutely nothing bad happened. If it were legalized in the US, many problems would be solved. But that isn’t happening because the drug cartels wouldn’t be happy.


            1. And by the way, I hate pot. And I hate the idiots who blab about how harmless it is. I have seen quite a few habitual heavy users (as opposed to recreational once-a-month users) and they have their personalities pretty much destroyed by this garbage. But if they want to compensate in this way, it’s up to them. Just like it’s up to alcoholics, binge eaters, etc. Why should the 14th biggest economy in the world get destroyed because a bunch of folks wants to do this to themselves?


      2. // And by the way, I hate pot. And I hate the idiots who blab about how harmless it is.

        Is it worse than alcohol?
        If not, than why make pot illegal and alcohol legal. I mean, how people against legalization explain it to themselves.


        1. “Is it worse than alcohol?
          If not, than why make pot illegal and alcohol legal. I mean, how people against legalization explain it to themselves.”

          – I’m not qualified to make that comparison. 🙂 During the Prohibition, crowds of people enriched themselves. One example is the Canadian millionaire Samuel Bronfman whose fortune was made in boot-legging and still dominates the Canadian economy. Now new criminal families are making fortune because of this modern version of the Prohibition. So there is no real difference other than that during the original Prohibition the US didn’t try to impose it on other countries.


  2. Has the student visited *any* lectures? If this is (almost?) the only words s/he has offered, the student simply doesn’t know any material and desperately tried to write down something, anything, to get a few more points.


    1. The sad part is that this is a really good student who always wrote the correct thing on the assignments. I guess what happened is that all of the knowledge gained in class didn’t penetrate into the place where the student’s actual beliefs are formed.


      1. Hey I am still mad about the battle of 1066 when the Norman hordes took over my angle Britain. Where is my mule and 40 acres. Send those norman b@st@rds back to France where they belong. Oh, we all share a common Britannic legacy now? Nevermind. I guess I stopped crying and got up off my backside centuries ago.


        1. “Hey I am still mad about the battle of 1066 when the Norman hordes took over my angle Britain. Where is my mule and 40 acres. Send those norman b@st@rds back to France where they belong. ”

          – Even if you feel all these historical resentments, there is no need to expect everybody to have them.


  3. I found this:

    “Perhaps the mainstream corpomedia, which has the distractibility of a 10-year-old with attention deficit disorder (especially the TV) has become bored with the IRS, Benghazi and other nothingburgers. What new bright shiny object is out there? Is a blonde white girl missing? Did someone get murdered with an element of kinky sex involved?

    Meanwhile, the true scandals of the econosphere are not being shouted about except by people like Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. Jazz — you’re into economics. Do you read Taibbi? He’s a great one for breaking down affairs which are deliberately designed to be complex, and describing them in ways that anybody can glom.


    Don’t know how good it is, but added the link. Is it really that good?


    1. Wait, there is more:

      “Unlike Latin Americans who exterminated all of their indigenous people and imported Europeans instead, in the United States we always respected all races and co-existed together in productive ways. This is why now we live so much better economically.”

      It’s like I died and went to hell where I will be tortured for all eternity with having to read this kind of stuff.


      1. Your descriptions of hell are so funny. 🙂 Put it all how it is. Seems to be a good way to deal with such.


  4. Every problem in life can be solved by having the correct FEEELINGS about it. The information in your course must have been quite threatening to this person’s worldview to bust out self help tropes on an exam.

    “Turn that frown upside down! Use your comparative advantage in dirt cheap peasant labor to send raw materials out of the country for shipping and then buy those products back at unaffordable prices! Tariffs for me, not for thee! Debt forever!” (busy 50s housewife music plays)

    Did you tell them about Guatemala, the original banana republic? That would have been quite upsetting since everyone knows that people hate America for our freedoms.


  5. Excellent examples of confirmatory bias.

    “Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study.

    Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis.”


  6. Welcome to the land of Calvinism lite, where rich people are by definition righteous and poor people are by definition immoral or stupid.


      1. If middle class or rich, the poverty is a sign of their immorality and stupidity, if they notice(Calvinism). To believe otherwise makes meritocracy a lie, and they really want to believe they deserve everything they have. If poor, believing in this myth means that you can believe you WILL be an exception. It really hurts to believe that you are not as free or unconstrained as people tell you and that you are not the sole locus of control of your own fate.

        Just this week, someone looking over my resume told me I should shorten my name because it would make people pause unfavorably. “Racism exists,” they told me. It wasn’t like I hadn’t thought about it before They’ve done studies on this. My name on my resume is a shortened version of my full legal name. Shortening my first name further turns my names into a pun. Putting a first initial and then my last turns it into a pun. Both are still “ethnic”, and it’s not like anglicizing my name completely will help because once I get there in person, I am still not white plus nobody would know me by this fictionalized name, when they check references
        Now it’s not like
        I don’t know about the supposed proof because I live it. But really, there’s not a lot I can do about my name so to be reminded of it pissed me off.


        1. My sister is a job recruiter and she tells me time and again that employers discriminate HORRIBLY based on what people’s names sound like. And that’s in enlightened Montreal.


  7. There’s truth to the statement. The prevailing conformist Christian ideology left as a legacy of the colonization period and the strong american influence are the limiting factors to achieve this stability. If they freed themselves from it they could theoretically adopt a new ideology that leaded in this direction.


  8. “Also, there’s is the more and more common discrimination by “over-qualification”, because bosses are more interested by obedient and manipulable workers.”

    Haven’t noticed that trend at all. People tend to hire candidates with the amount of experience required for the job.


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