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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

By Beatrice E. Rangel

As the Golden Arcs theory of geopolitics is torn apart by mushrooming conflicts spanning from Baltimore to Caracas and from Bagdad to Paris, herds of analysts are predicting more agitation as commodity prices take a dip thereby slicing growth in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and other commodity behemoths in our hemisphere.

But one wonders whether any of these experts has ever heard about the vegan inclination of Millennials and Cs in America and the world. One also wonders whether they have ever followed the dietary habits of the rising middle classes in India and good part of China. For should we add together Millennials, C's Indians, and Chinese, we would be facing a sizable consumer group of 823 million people (India 250; China 448; Millennials 75; C's 50). And we are not counting the vegan population in the rest of the world!!

These people will demand piles of commodities to fill their refrigerators. And this market is looking for providers and many could certainly be Latin Americans!!!

And should they jump in this development wagon, life could be fulfilling for the Latin American many .... for a change!!!! Just as it was many moons ago for Australia and New Zealand. Both countries developed on the back of European demand for commodities.

Australia ranked second in the world in the world economic index in 2013. The Credit Suisse Research Institute defined Australia as the nation with the highest median wealth in the world and the second-highest average wealth per adult in 2013.

In the case of New Zealand, beginning in the 1880s meat and dairy products were exported to Britain, a trade which provided the basis for strong economic growth in New Zealand. High demand for agricultural products from the United Kingdom and the United States helped New Zealanders achieve higher living standards than both Australia and Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.

Latin America could unquestionably follow the Oceanic path to finally master development. To be sure, enhanced farming today could bring about many blessings to the region. First and most obvious would be the ability to feed their populations.

Another benefit would be the size reduction of the megalopoli, which have become so huge that they are virtually impossible to provide public services that add to human capitalization instead of subtracting (violence; illiteracy; under nutrition, impaired intellectual potential).

Third, the countries would finally tackle the much mentioned but little executed education reform. Training for today's agriculture is tantamount to mastering the use of new technologies and the understanding of geography.

As newer technologies become affordable over the next decade, distance learning, diminutive and effective communications systems, and robotics will demand a totally different approach to learning, with technical schools becoming more important than college.

Technical schools have shorter routes to graduation and can provide continuing education in a cost effective manner, as many instructors need to take internships in the production line to preserve relevancy.

And while the effort will continue to demand the development of infrastructure to process and transport commodities, it will never be as expensive and value destructive as the traffic distributing expressways that need to be built in the Latin cities.

In the US, farmers are already resorting to robotics, smart technology and drones to cope with increased global demand, declining resources and rising labor costs. As the use of these new technologies becomes pervasive, Latin nations will begin to absorb this fresh approach to agricultural production. And this will force change in Latin America, as about 70% of technologies used in agriculture come from the US. I wonder whether the guys at IDB, CAF and the World Bank hare giving a thought to this?

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.


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