The Economist Latin America October 16, 2021

THE ECONOMIST is a global weekly magazine written for those who share an uncommon interest in being well and broadly informed. Each issue explores the close links between domestic and international issues, business, politics, finance, current affairs, science, technology and the arts. In addition to regular weekly content, Special Reports are published approximately 20 times a year, spotlighting a specific country, industry, or hot-button topic. The Technology Quarterly, published 4 times a year, highlights and analyzes new technologies that will change the world we live in.

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8 min.
the world this week

Politics Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, declared a state of emergency for 15 days in two southern regions. The army will be deployed to help local police, who have struggled to contain violent attacks by indigenous groups seeking to reclaim ancestral lands. A demonstrator died during a protest led by indigenous groups in Santiago. Chile is in the process of drafting a new constitution, which may decentralise power and expand indigenous rights. A far-right presidential candidate campaigning on a law-and-order platform is polling well in a tight race ahead of the election on November 21st, in which Mr Piñera cannot stand. In Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, at least five American families connected to the United States embassy appear to have been afflicted with the Havana syndrome. The mystery illness, which causes ringing in the…

5 min.
the energy shock

NEXT MONTH world leaders will gather at the COP26 summit, saying they mean to set a course for net global carbon emissions to reach zero by 2050. As they prepare to pledge their part in this 30-year endeavour, the first big energy scare of the green era is unfolding before their eyes. Since May the price of a basket of oil, coal and gas has soared by 95%. Britain, the host of the summit, has turned its coal-fired power stations back on, American petrol prices have hit $3 a gallon, blackouts have engulfed China and India, and Vladimir Putin has just reminded Europe that its supply of fuel relies on Russian goodwill. The panic is a reminder that modern life needs abundant energy: without it, bills become unaffordable, homes freeze and…

3 min.
cheques and imbalance

THE RICH world is used to wages and prices growing slowly. In the decade after the global financial crisis, inflation rarely exceeded central banks’ targets, and wages seemed unable to grow much faster. The spending power of average hourly pay in Britain, Italy and Japan was about the same at the start of the pandemic as it had been in the mid-2000s. The fact that American wage growth averaged 2.9% from 2015 to 2019 while average inflation stayed below 2% seemed a rare triumph. The recovery from the pandemic has brought about a startling change: prices and wages are both surging (see Finance section). American hourly pay rose by 4.6% in the year to September while consumer-price inflation of 5.4% is more than wiping out those gains. In Germany inflation has…

4 min.
covid-19’s rocky road

ALL PANDEMICS end eventually. Covid-19 has started down that path, but it will not be eradicated. Instead, it will gradually become endemic. In that state, circulating and mutating from year to year, the coronavirus will remain a threat to the elderly and infirm. But having settled down, it is highly unlikely to kill on the monstrous scale of the past 20 months. Covid will then be a familiar, manageable enemy, like the flu. Although the destination is fixed, the route to endemicity is not. The difference between a well-planned journey and a chaotic one could be measured in millions of lives. The end of the pandemic is therefore a last chance for governments to show they have learned from the mistakes they made at its start. As the pandemic fades, weekly recorded…

3 min.
who should police the web?

SHOULD VIDEO websites have to review content before they publish it? Where does the boundary lie between hate speech and incitement to violence? Is pornography created by artificial intelligence an invasion of privacy? These are all hard questions, but behind them lies an even more difficult one: who should provide the answers? On the internet, such dilemmas are increasingly being resolved by private firms. Social networks are deciding what kinds of misinformation to ban. Web-hosting companies are taking down sites they deem harmful. Now financial firms are more actively restricting what people can buy (see Finance section). The digital gatekeepers are doing a mixed job. But it is becoming clear that it ought not to be their job at all. The trade-offs around what can be said, done and bought online urgently…

3 min.
building back best

LATIN AMERICA’S economies are punch-drunk from the pandemic. No other region suffered a bigger drop in GDP in 2020 or a higher death rate. Even before the coronavirus arrived, the larger Latin economies lagged behind emerging-world success stories in Asia and Europe. They were held back by poor governance, excessive dependence on commodities and protectionism. In the steepness of its barriers to trade, the region is second only to sub-Saharan Africa. From 1995 to 2015 its participation in global supply chains rose by just 0.1%; in the rest of the world supply-chain trade jumped by 19%. But the Americas now have a chance to make progress. The capriciousness of Chinese regulators, the tangled state of global trade and the trend towards reshoring and nearshoring are prompting firms in the United States…