Ricardo Hausmann from Harvard University sparked a heated debate in 2017 on the role of Wall Street in financing wannabe autocrats by calling Venezuela’s government debt “The Hunger Bonds.” Drawing from an analogy between investing in environmentally harmful companies and in autocratic countries, Hausmann’s point was simple: Is it better to invest for profit or for doing good?
While investment is essential, particularly for post-COVID recovery and to ensure shared prosperity, the core issue lies in the market’s inherent lack of discrimination between democratic and undemocratic regimes. Notably, Wall Street financed Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro while they dismantled democracy in Venezuela. This question between doing well (for financial gain) and doing good (for ethical reasons) in the context of investing still resonates across the region. Democratic institutions have been at different points in time in recent years under threat from left and right in countries like Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, and Mexico, but in all cases, financial support from Wall Street persisted, raising concerns.
Join us for this in-person event on February 6, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM EST at the Inter-American Dialogue for a panel discussion exploring Wall Street’s influence on democracy in Latin America and the broader implications for the region’s security, political, and economic landscape. How can financial markets and businesses ensure responsible investment practices that align with democratic values? In the face of ongoing threats to democratic standards, what measures can be taken to mitigate the impact of financial support from Wall Street on undemocratic regimes in Latin America?
Follow this event on X (formerly Twitter) @The_Dialogue.
OPENING REMARKS AND MODERATOR
Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@TamaraTaraciuk)
Founder, Alberdi Partners, and Former Wall Street Analyst (@MarcosBuscaglia)
Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Managing Director, TOBAM (@Bolopion)
Analyst, Economist Intelligence Unit (@NicSaldias)