Revised project with ANOVA and Turkey HSD

This was the original proposal.  Even though the revised version is also elementary, I think it is more cohesive.  I can explore the bootstrap procedure another time in the future.

07.21.16 R Final Project – edited version

Sugarcane cane smut (“carvão da cana-de-açúcar”) susceptibility

I haven’t posted for a long time.  A lot of new things have happened within the last four months, forcing me to stop writing temporarily.

I began a graduate program in applied statistics two months ago.  Below is a very basic example of some experimental learning with R.

07.00.16 Sugarcane smut R exploration


Sugarcane Millage in Six Brazilian States

Over time the production and millage of sugarcane in Brazil has gained importance in different states.  Historically sugarcane production was concentrated in the northeast, eastern coastal regions, and São Paulo.  Even though São Paulo has remained the definitive leader in sugarcane millage between 1980 and 2015, there have been a few interesting developments.

Certain states in the Center-West (Centro-Oeste), Southeast (Sudeste), and South (Sul) have become more important in the millage of sugarcane.

regional map of Brazil

The Programa Nacional do Álcool was implemented in 1975.  It is generally believed that this served as an impetus for increased sugarcane production, and subsequently, sugarcane millage.

For the first part of the analysis, I used data collected by the União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar (UNICA).  UNICA is known as the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association in English.  I was particularly interested in seeing how the millage production increased between 1980 and 2015 in the following states: Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, and Rio de Janeiro.

I choose not to include the state of São Paulo in the analysis.  During the time period, São Paulo remained the dominant miller of sugarcane in the country, accounting for over half of the national production.  Even though the Paulista millage of sugarcane increased by an impressive 271,813 thousand tons between the harvests of 1980/1981 and 2014/2015, the overall national millage percentage captured by the state rose only 0.13% over 25 years.

In more concrete numbers, São Paulo milled 65,967 thousand tons of sugarcane out of a national total of 123,681 thousand tons for the 1980/1981 harvest.  Following the 2014/2015 harvest, São Paulo milled 337,780 thousand tons of a national total of 632,127 thousand tons.

São Paulo is clearly the key player, but I am interested in identifying states that were once insignificant players in the millage of sugarcane in 1980 that have since captured a larger share of the market.  Including São Paulo in the graphs would have not allowed us to clearly see the significant divergences that occurred between other states.

Here is a table showing the winners and losers of the national millage of sugarcane.

state millage percentages in Brazil

[This is a link to the workable data.]

The states for the analysis are highlighted in light blue.  The main sugarcane millage losers are highlighted in yellow.  Negative ratio differences for state millage production over the national millage production during the time period are shown by highlighted red cells.

As you can see, Rio de Janeiro is included within the cohort of six states, yet its share of national millage production decreased during the 25 years.

Below are two more graphs.  The first shows the gradual decline of relevance of Rio de Janeiro in the cohort.  By the late 1980’s Paraná emerges as the leader of the pack, but falls to second place during the harvest of 2009/2010 to Minas Gerais.  Paraná falls to third place during the harvest of 2010/2011 assuming its place after Goiás.  Mato Grosso do Sul seems poised to overtake Paraná’s third place position in the near future.

annual sugarcane millage per state (thousand tons)

The next graph shows the same data in a different way.  We see what percentage of millage each state captured out of the total millage for only these six states (as opposed to the national total).  Goiás captures a remarkable market share from its peers.  In contrast, Rio’s fall is just as pronounced.  Data for Mato Grosso do Sul seems to be missing until the harvest of 1984/1985.  Possibly data for the state was still maintained by Mato Grosso for a few years after the later state’s “desmembramento”.

sugarcane millage percentage per state within the cohort between 1980 and 2015

After seeing the changes at the state level, I wanted to analyze the changes at the municipal level.  I used a report produced by the Conjuntura Econômica Goiana in 2012 written by four authors.  This report was titled “Produção e preço de cana-de-açúcar em Goiás”.

This report does not measure the sugarcane millage, but rather how the price of the commodity effects the decision to produce it.  I plan on reading this report in detail, but now I want to focus on a few areas.

Portions of the Brazilian savanna (cerrado) were previously not used to cultivate sugarcane.  Over time the agricultural frontier has expanded into different portions of Goiás.

The authors claim that Goiás benefited from certain advantages:

  • Farming costs are relatively lower;
  • The harvest is almost entirely mechanized;
  • High technological investments were made;
  • The sugarcane crop varieties chosen are relatively more productive;
  • Land prices are relatively low.

If valid, these advantages may shed light over why the millage in certain states stagnated or declined, while the millage in others has increased.

It is not necessarily true that sugarcane is harvested close to the location it is milled.  However, there has been an increase in the amount of sugar mills in Goiás to accompany the increased production.  The association will be analyzed in the next blog post.

The authors included two maps of the production of sugarcane in the state.  The two maps depict the production of sugarcane in 2000 and 2010 respectively.  Sugar production is measured in thousand tons.  In 2000, there were 11 sugar mills which increased to 36 in 2010.  This number does not include the 15 additional sugar mills that were still under construction.

The key for the sugar production remained consistent between the two maps.  Production increased most dramatically in the south and southwest portions of the state.

Below are two maps showing the changes of sugarcane production in Goiás between 2000 and 2010.

2000 Goias sugarcane production map

2000 Goias sugarcane production key

2010 Goias sugarcane production map

2010 Goias sugarcane production key



Agricultural Trends in the state of Paraná

From 1970 to 2012, there have been some general tendencies in Paranaense agriculture.  I was particularly interested in the amount of land (measured in hectares) used to produce a crop and the amount of each crop produced (measured in tons).

The data was produced by the Secretaria de Agricultura e do Abastecimento (SEAB) and the Departamento de Economia Rural (DERAL) and was made available on the Paranaense government portal. Eighteen crops were considered significant.  They are listed below:

  • Cotton (bush and tree)
  • Peanut (with shell)
  • Rice (with shell)
  • Oat (with husk)
  • Potato (the sum of three harvests annually)
  • Coffee (refined)
  • Sugarcane
  • Onion
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Beans (the sum of three harvests annually)
  • Tabaco (in sheets)
  • Ricinus
  • Manioc
  •  Corn (the sum of two harvests annually)
  • Soy (the sum of the regular harvest and interim harvest annually)
  • Sorghum
  • Wheat

Certain crops such as soy and corn have become more popular, occupying more hectares relative to other crops.  The amount of hectares sown with wheat has been extremely volatile during the time period.  Farmers’ choice of sorghum experienced a jump during the middle of the period, but was relatively insignificant towards the beginning and end.  Sugarcane has gradually occupied more hectares, but has lost relative importance to crops such as soy and corn.  Beans and coffee have seen a relative decline in land used since 1970.

In general, the state of Paraná is more specialized agriculturally than it was in 1970.  However, sixteen of the eighteen crops are still produced on a significant scale.

01.26.16 Area cultivada em hectares por cada cultivo no Parana

To put these changes in proper context, here is how land use increased per hectare during the years studied.  The planting of soy is clearly occurring as the total area cultivated increases.

01.26.16 total area cultivada ao longo do tempo.png

I next wanted to see if the production of each commodity experienced a similar trend.  Below is a graph for the total production (measured in tons) for the aggregate of the eighteen commodities.

01.26.16 rendimento total ao longo do tempo.png

If we look at the production (measured in tons) per crop, a different reality emerges.  Sugarcane emerges as selling the highest yield.  Next corn and soy occupy their predictable places.  A sizeable amount of manioc and wheat are also produced.

01.26.16 production per ton.png

In general, Paranaense farmers today are more productive than they were in 1970.  Although land use has increased, productivity has increased by a higher factor.  In the interest of conserving the environment, the government may be able to provide economic incentives to cease the expansion of, or even revert, the agricultural frontier.  This may be achieved with minimal losses in agricultural production (measured in tons).  Higher efficiencies can be achieved with less land.

01.26.16 rendimento v. area cultivada.png

Another interesting note is that only two crops were essentially phased out of production – ricinus and sorghum.  Neither of these crops are commonly used for human consumption.  This may be an encouraging sign for food security in the state.  It could be true that farmers still cultivate other crops for local consumption, while taking advantage of their competitive advantages to produce other crops for export (nationally and internationally).





¿Cómo se distribuye la población de internet?

Por este medio me gustaría compartir lo que he leído de este blog mexicano.

Véase: ¿Cómo se distribuye la población de internet?

Sobering the euphoria behind the Pacific Alliance

Every day I receive dozens of articles praising developments of the Pacific Alliance.  Over time, I became disillusioned with what I read.  Each author seemed to regurgitate previous articles instead of critically analyzing new regional and global developments.

One transcending element of most reports is juxtaposing the Pacific Alliance with MERCOSUR. Arguments focus on GDP growth, future trade agreements, and foreign direct investment.

MERCOSUR has grown slow and steady, focusing first on integration within the regional trade block. Lately everyone is a critic of MERCOSUR. MERCOSUR is depicted as a “protectionist” block with socialist leanings. In reality, MERCOSUR has the scale it needs to truly develop from within and should develop strong regional industries.  My objective behind this post is to paint a sobering image of the Pacific Alliance in relation to MERCOSUR.

1.) When the economy is small, it is easy for it to grow in large percentage points.

Assumption: GDP growth is a reliable indicator for the general well-being of a country’s economy.

Suppose the following as the status quo:

Country A has one factory that produces “one unit” of GDP. This “one unit” also happens to be the only unit produced in the entire country.

Country B has four factories that each produce “one unit” of GDP. These “four units” also happen to be the only units produced in the entire country.

Suppose the following as the change to the status quo:

Country A adds two factories that each produce two more units. The first factory continues to produce the same unit as before. These are the only unit-producing identities in the entire country. The GDP effectively grew at a rate of 200%.

Country B also adds two factories that each produce two more units. The first four factories continue to produce the same units as before. These six factories are the only unit-producing identities in the entire country. The GDP effectively grew at a rate of 50%.

This growth rate may be interesting for a short-term investor, but this is less important for those committed to investing for longer periods. To get the pulse of the economy, it might be more important to know other quantitative data such as the number of new patents licensed, dispersion of factories over geographic area, and growth of median net disposable income.  Qualitative factors such popular fields of study at the university level or a happiness index rating might also be worthy of consideration.

2.) Mexico has the highest number of free trade agreements in Latin America, currently numbering twelve (Mexican Embassy in Singapore). Currently it also has preferential commercial status with the world’s largest economy, the United States.

This fact alone distorts the accomplishments of the Pacific Alliance and makes it hard to isolate which trade agreement leads to Mexican success, however you wish to define it. Mexico also acts as a Trojan horse for American or Canadian countries that seek to use Mexico as an export to countries with have free trade agreements with Mexico.

3.) Chile has been a model economy in Latin America since the 1990’s. It is well poised to guide the Pacific Alliance from the south.

However, what works for Chile may not be the answer for Colombia or Peru. When Pinochet allowed his country to transition to democracy, the Congress remained conservative. Economists were trained at the University of Chicago and returned to implement neoliberal policies. This occurred at a time when neoliberal policies were also being implemented in the “developed” world.

Historically Chile was also isolated from its Latin American neighbors. Argentina and Chile have had disputes over Patagonia and the extreme south. Chile also won a war and seized territory from Bolivia and Peru. The situation emerged since British guano businesses sought refuge in Chile as Bolivia and Peru sought policies that were more nationalistic.

Population density and social inequality in Chile now seem to be less problematic in comparison to its South American neighbors.

4.) What are the most important reasons for economic growth in Colombia?

The United States also has a free trade agreement with Colombia. Is this agreement more, equally, or less important than the Pacific Alliance?

President Santos has also taken efforts to make peace with the FARC and unite the country through infrastructure projects. The benefits from these initiatives are not observed in a bubble.

5.) There is a difference between economic development and exploitation.

As history has taught us, Latin America has often been the stage for the massive exploitation of natural resources. Today the developed world will continue to exploit the region and its labor, both skilled and unskilled.

It is rational for a country to seek to limit the perverse effects of foreign direct investment. There is a difference between long-term and speculative foreign investor. The first provides stability while the later creates the opposite. Stability has multiplier effects for society beyond the initial investment.

Any country with a coherent economic development strategy should recognize that fewer dedicated stakeholders are better than a thousand fickle ones.

6.) Some other questions include:

  • Does the Pacific Alliance partake in large development bank activity like Brazil? Is there a Banco do Desenvolvimento or BNDES? Does the Pacific Alliance seek to attract investment through foreign lenders, on its new stock exchange, or through the Inter-American Bank?
  • Will the Pacific Alliance loose its identity if it accepts extra hemispherical countries as full members that do not have cultural and linguistical similarities?
  • Will Chilean and Mexican companies dominate the investment projects in the other Pacific Alliance countries?
  • Is the group seeking neoliberal principles in an age where these are already out of use in much of the “developed” world?

I used the traditional measurement for economic growth, GDP, to determine how MERCOSUR and Pacific Alliance countries have grown over the last 15 years. The individual country data comes from the World Bank. The MERCOSUR countries include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The Pacific Alliance countries include Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

There are problems with the graph below. The first year of MERCOSUR is not included (1991). In contrast, there is a clear jump in 2011 when the Pacific Alliance was formed. It might be more appropriate to compare trade blocks with more equal maturities. An example would be to compare successes and failures of MERCOSUR to those of NAFTA or the European Union.

I also include all of the above-mentioned countries as if they were always members. We cannot appreciate the GDP growth in anticipation of joining an economic trade zone. I also did not account for the natural pro or anticyclical tendencies of individual Latin American economies in comparison to the United States. Weights or dummies would have been appropriate for a more thorough analysis.

10.19.15 annual GDP growth of all countries in current US$

Growth Rate Comparison Chart


Simple GDP data in Excel for individual countries and groups

Countries to watch in the future are Bolivia and Paraguay. It would be interesting to study the origin of foreign direct investment into these countries.

Bolivia GDP growth between 2000 and 2014

Paraguay GDP growth between 2000 and 2014

MERCOSUR y la Unión Europea: la evolución del acuerdo comercial y su racionalidad

Hay varios motivos para tener un acuerdo bilateral entre los bloques de la UE y Mercosur. No obstante estos motivos han cambiado a lo largo de veinte años al compás de la evolución de la economía.

En este contexto, el Acuerdo Marco de Cooperación en 1995 entre el EU y MERCOSUR ocurrió simultáneamente con una expansión de la zona europea hacia el este. Tres países (Suecia, Finlandia, y Austria) fueron agregados a la zona para componer de 15 países en total. Anteriormente el 42% o cinco de los 12 países tenían vínculos culturales y económicos con los países de MERCOSUR. Entre estos países europeos yo considero estos los siguientes países: España, Francia, Italia, Portugal, y el Reino Unido.

Cada vez que la UE se expandió al este, los motivos culturales para el acuerdo eran cada vez menores. Creo que un incentivo para el acuerdo entre la UE y MERCOSUR fue para llevar a cabo una estrategia privilegiada para los países excolonizadores. Estos países pudieron servir como los destinos intermodales para un creciente comercio entre la zona europea y los países de MERCOSUR. Estos tenían las ventajas de la geografía, experiencia previa de comercio, y, en dos casos, un idioma compartido.

Al principio, los cuatro países de MERCOSUR y los quince de la UE tenían sus asimetrías comerciales. La idea original era que los países sudamericanos podían abastecer a los quince países de la UE con bienes agrícolas y minerales (“bienes primarios”). En cambio, los europeos podían abastecer al mercado sudamericano con sus bienes industrializados y de valor agregado.

Me parece que esta relación hubiera extendido los vínculos coloniales entre “las madre patrias” y sus colonias nuevamente de forma implícita. El acuerdo se presentó en un momento oportuno, debido a que había un desencanto general con el modelo de la industrialización por sustitución de importaciones (“ISI”). Los líderes de estos países se alejaron de CEPAL y abrazaron los conceptos del consenso de Washington.

También existe otro problema perpetuo dentro de América Latina. Este problema es la actitud de las elites y como ellas se perciben como actores exógenos en sus propios países de nacimiento. Lamentablemente el orgullo de las elites desempeña un rol destructivo debido a que sus intereses a veces no está en constancia con las políticas para desarrollar sus países de nacimiento. En términos más francos, un aumento de comercio con el continente viejo no siempre fue buscado como una manera de mejorar el bienestar general de la población sudamericana, si bien para conseguir bienes de lujo o para proporcionar un sentido de orgullo y sentirse “mejor que el resto”. Hay que tener orgullo de ser argentino, boliviano, brasileño, paraguayo, uruguayo, y venezolano. Es triste aquellos que venderían su patria por acceder al antiguo continente.

Afortunadamente, el panorama ha cambiado mucho desde los primeros intentos para llegar a un acuerdo comercial en 1995. Hay una publicación del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo titulado “La Negociación MERCOSUR-Unión Europea a Veinte Años del Acuerdo Marco de Cooperación: Quo Vadis?” ” Esta publicación explica bien como la situación hoy en día es muy distinta al plan original entre los dos bloques. Ahora MERCOSUR no está dotado apenas en recursos agrícolas sino también de combustibles debido a la incorporación de Venezuela y luego Bolivia a la zona y la exploración de reservas por parte de los gobiernos de Argentina y Brasil. Hay proyectos de energía hidroeléctrica que pretenden incorporar los sectores energéticos de Argentina, Brasil, y Paraguay.

En Europa, diez estados nuevos fueron agregados a la zona en 2004, justamente el mismo año que hubo una transitoria interrupción. En este año el porcentaje de países con fuertes vínculos con América Latina disminuyó hasta apenas el 20% o 5 de un total de 25 países. Ahora la toma de decisiones es más difícil debido a que hay muchos actores europeos que tienen que aprobar un acuerdo.

Con la incorporación de los países de Europa Oriental, Europa Occidental tuvo que enfrentar el desafío de homogeneizar todos los estándares dentro de su propia región. El enfoque se trasladó a la agenda con enfoque casi exclusivo a la comunidad europea.

En 2010 arrancaron de nuevo las negociaciones en otro momento oportuno. La UE no pudo recuperarse económicamente sin exportar productos debido a la debilidad de la demanda interna europea. En un intento de salvar sus industrias, los europeos querían asegurar su ventaja comparativa sobre los países de MERCOSUR. La presencia creciente de China también les asustó (p. 25). No obstante, para los sudamericanos una integración económica plena con cualquiera de los dos no habría sido una acción responsable.

En acuerdo con Helpman y Krugman (1985) la ventaja comparativa sólo existe cuando el comercio existe entre países que intercambian bienes diferenciados. Este comercio sólo es posible porque los países son parecidos en su nivel de desarrollo y tienen gustos similares. También hay un proceso de aprendizaje y un intercambio de ideas. Por supuesto este intercambio es mucho menor cuando un país exporta apenas soja e importa todo lo demás.

No me opongo a los acuerdos comerciales en general ya que es evidente que cualquier acuerdo ayudará a las partes a especializarse y fortalecer algunas industrias. Una posibilidad para los países de MERCOSUR es empezar a exportar bienes agropecuarios procesados, así pueden agregarle valor antes de exportarlos (p. 49, 51). Los países europeos podrían conseguir un mayor mercado para sus productos farmacéuticos, químicos, maquinaria y equipo, vehículos automotores, y otros materiales de transporte (p. 51).También podrían continuar produciendo vinos, aceites de oliva y bebidas alcohólicas, aunque estos productos no son fundamentales para la alimentación.

Cabe preguntarnos si una especialización total estaría bien para un país. En teoría, podría parecer bien que un país no tiene un sector agrícola y todo está dirigido a servicios y a la generación de capital. Sin embargo, durante una crisis, los mismos países sin los recursos alimenticios serán los primeros para someterse a la hambruna.

Los riesgos se multiplican cuando su socio de un bien “necesario” vs. “deseado” está ubicado en el otro lado del planeta. Lo importante es que todos los sectores existen por lo menos en un grupo de países vecinos. Este tipo de comercio es más sostenible y viene con un grado menor de riesgo.

Aunque los costos explícitos de transporte pueden bajarse a lo largo de tiempo, los riesgos todavía están presentes. El uso de finanzas y de pólizas de seguro puede mitigar estos riesgos, pero los dos dependen también en algunos supuestos (ej: el mantenimiento del sistema actual anticipan una crisis de menor escala, al nivel nacional o regional.) Vale la pena leer un estudio publicado por Deutsche Post.

Hay que pensar si los mercados nacionales que componen el bloque de MERCOSUR están suficientemente ligados entre sí para considerar un acuerdo comercial con UE. Ya los miembros de MERCOSUR requieren un plazo de tiempo, tal vez de duración indefinida, para alcanzar el mismo “grado de desarrollo” como los estados europeos (42, 46).

Dentro de un bloque de comercio, cada país puede desempeñar uno o más papeles durante la misma cadena de abastecimiento. Todas las regiones y todos los países pertenecientes están ajustándose a la nueva realidad, intentando aprovechar de sus dotaciones únicas. En otros términos los países están en busca de establecer el equilibrio nuevo. Si hubiera un acuerdo entre la UE y MERCOSUR antes que este proceso ocurra dentro de MERCOSUR, los países sudamericanos pueden acabar desempeñando roles subordinados a la UE en vez de asumir roles complementarios. Sería una pena renunciar así la autonomía sudamericana y la oportunidad de finalmente abastecerse con sus propios recursos entre socios, amigos, e iguales.

Vale la pena destacar que hay lugar para una intervención gubernamental que ampare una nueva industria. Todas las potencias previamente eran proteccionistas. Una vez que aseguraron un lugar de primacía, insistieron en el libre comercio para forzar a “los países en desarrollo” adoptar sus reglas, patentes, y sistemas. Anteriormente yo escribí un poco de lo que encontré sobre estas ideas: Reclaiming Development (en inglés) y Kicking Away the Ladder (en español).

Con el tiempo vamos a ver si los múltiples acuerdos de libre comercio beneficiarán o perjudicarán a los firmantes. México es un caso excepcional debido que el país tiene la mayor cantidad de dichos acuerdos en América Latina. Me gustaría encontrar literatura que hable de un punto de saturación o “de equilibrio” para estos acuerdos de comercio libre.

También sería útil debatir si las negociaciones para el acuerdo de libre comercio siempre fueron hechas con transparencia. Generalmente hay un montón de información sobre las negociaciones pero a final de cuentas hay un lío que apenas los especialistas pueden seguir y entender. Basta tener una tabla con categorías para monitorear donde está el país o bloque en el proceso de alcanzar el acuerdo. Véase el ejemplo de Turquía como país candidato para la UE.

Por ende, soy seguidor de Dani Rodrik en Project Syndicate y ahora por su propio sitio. Por coincidencia, en su última publicación, él expuso las diferencias entre el comercio dentro de un país y entre países. Habrá que recordar que un acuerdo comercial entre dos bloques de países sería el extremo de este concepto. Rodrik nos dice que hay mucho más grados de libertad mientras dos países están ajustándose a un nuevo acuerdo de comercio libre. Los gobiernos pueden actuar de maneras no anticipadas, lo cual puede alterar los beneficios esperados de tal acuerdo. Para el acuerdo entre la UE y MERCOSUR, la situación está aún más complicado debido que hay una propuesta para que los países sudamericanas pueden adoptar medidas económicas de armonización a tasas distintas.

Él también explicó sus reservaciones sobre la ATCI (“TIPP”) anotando las diferencias en medir los beneficios previstos de un acuerdo de comercio. Es curioso leer como un acuerdo propuesto entre dos zonas “desarrolladas” puede no producir tantos beneficios a los consumidores y el “GDP” como fue calculado. Si estamos de acuerdo con Helpman y Krugman (1985) ahora ponemos en duda la racionalidad de un arreglo más armonizado entre la UE y MERCOSUR, dos regiones muy distintas ahora más que nunca.

Los Antagonismos entre Argentina y Chile; el Comienzo de Americanismo en el Continente

Soy un seguidor de La Gazeta Federal y nunca he comentado en algo escrito por ellos, ahora lo hago por una curiosidad que siempre he tenido. He aquí el articulo donde saqué algunas de mis ideas.

¿Por qué las provincias norteñas argentinas perdieron importancia para Buenos Aires y la región del sur?

¿Por qué existían los antagonismos entre Argentina y Chile?

Debido que no soy historiador ni argentino, me gustaría compartir algunos datos que yo aprendí por leer materiales históricos durante los últimos días.

  1. La parte norteña de Argentina era más importante durante la época colonial. De hecho, ésta región era más vinculada a Perú, lo cual tenía montes de oro y otros metales preciosos.
  2. El Congreso de Tucumán y la Liga de los Pueblos Libres se presentaron como una amenaza real para que el país nunca se desarrollara como uno solo. En sus primeros años, también surgieron intentos para formar algunas repúblicas independientes de ésta zona. Recomiendo que usted visite la acumulación de mapas en El segundo es mi favorito. He aquí el contenido.
  3. El perdido de la banda oriental (Uruguay) en 1828 se frustró la consolidación continua de Argentina.
  4. La provincia de Buenos Aires siempre quería mantener sus privilegios y habían guerras civiles para que la provincia bonaerense se mantuviese más rica y poderosa que las otras.

Lo que me sorprendió, era como Chile no compartía en el sentido de “americanismo” que los otros países tenían. Digo esto porque yo veo a Argentina como un país que abandonó el americanismo durante muchos años entre el fin de la primera guerra mundial y la creación de MERCOSUR. Eso es irónico, debido que Argentina fue un líder de estos pensamientos en las Américas desde muy temprano.

Entonces en la época de pos-independencia, fue Chile que sucumbió a las presiones extra-hemisféricas y los intereses empresariales de los ingleses. Fue casi unánime la solidaridad de Argentina, Bolivia, y Perú en respuesta a las agresiones chilenas.

Mientras había un ambiente de antagonismo entre Chile y los otros países latinoamericanos, la Argentina se consolidó y expandió hacia el sur. Antes de la Campaña al Desierto, la Argentina aseguró la parte sureña de la provincia que un día sería Santa Cruz. Al mismo tiempo, Chile estaba intentando asegurar el estrecho de Magallanes.

Antes de una disputa, intervinieron mediadores norteamericanos, los dos con el mismo nombre, Tomás Osborne. El involucramiento de ellos fue curioso porque aunque los Estados Unidos era en el mismo hemisferio, yo pensé que su influencia había sido poca en el extremo sur. Eso indica que los argentinos tenían respeto para el papel de los Estados Unidos como mediador durante esta época. La justificación por dar el estrecho de Magallanes completamente a Chile fue el siguiente:

Magallanes es importantísimo para los Estados Unidos porque es la comunicación de sus puertos del Atlántico con los del Pacífico, y exigen que se establezca su libre navegación a perpetuidad y no se construyan fortificaciones ni defensas militares que obstaculicen el cruce de los buques de guerra de los Estados Unidos. En esas condiciones conviene dejar todo el estrecho a un solo país, lo que Irigoyen acepta.

Durante este periodo lo que importaba más entre Argentina y Chile fue el límite de la “cordillera nevada” y la capacidad de tener un establecimiento en el sur cerca del canal de Beagle.

La verdad es que ni chilenos ni argentinos tenían interés en estas islas inhóspitas y deshabitadas. Todos entendieron que el tratado había dado a la Argentina una buena parte del norte del canal de Beagle en compensación a su renuncia a una parte del norte del estrecho de Magallanes. Y todos los mapas que se confeccionaron entonces en Buenos Aires y en Chile daban como límite sur de la Argentina el canal de Beagle.

Después surgiría el acuerdo explícito que Chile tiene otorgado acceso a las aguas pacíficas mientras Argentina se queda con aguas atlánticas. Este acuerdo era el principio de bioceanidad. De acuerdo con un tratado de 1881, la Argentina descubrió que ella tenía acceso al Pacífico en el paralelo 52 en un lugar llamado el seno de Ultima Esperanza. Los picos más altos de la cordillera permitieron que la Argentina llamara éste territorio suyo.

08.05.15 El Seno de Ultima Esperanza

En vez de perseguir este puerto en el Pacífico, la Argentina lo renunció al acercarse al paralelo 52. También Argentina no estuvo dispuesta a pedir una compensación en Tierra del Fuego o a las islas en el Atlántico.

El último punto sobresaliente de la primera parte de la lectura fue como Chile tenía la mano superior a la Argentina. Chile era capaz de sacar la riqueza de Buenos Aires pero no quería hacerlo por el miedo de iniciar un odio perpetuo de su vecino como ya lo hizo con sus vecinos norteños. Igualmente fue sorprendente que la Argentina consideraba las ventajas y desventajas de “germanizarse” hacia el fin del siglo XVIIII. En 1895, el Presidente Uriburu aprobó la Ley de Organización Militar y Guardia Nacional enfrente de una movilización general del país.

Estas acciones fueron tanto de la ideología americanista como alienígena de ella. Por suerte, Argentina acabó usando más exitosamente el arbitraje en sus disputas con otros países en vez de sus ejércitos.

As faculdades brasileiras hierarquizadas

Agora eu tenho oitenta rascunhos incompletes que ficam aqui com a poeira acumulando acima deles.  Este rascunho não vai ser apenas outro rascunho esquecido!

Aqui só quero deixar um linkspara um site que hierarquiza as faculdades brasilieras por suas especializações.  Isso servirá mais como um recurso para mim mesmo no fúturo.

A classificação das faculdades: eis o site.

Entretanto ainda estou experimentando com os cursos gratuitos pela Internet.  Será que alguém precisa pagar para realmente levar um curso a sério?  A última vez eu fracassei porque fiz uma tentativa andar sozinho.  Eu não considerei a importância de pertenecer a uma comunidade que se apoia.

Igualmente importante, devido ao fato que o tempo é limitado e eu trabalho de forma renumerada em torno de dez horas por dia (inclusive os fins de semana), terei que reduzir as distracções no trabalho e na minha vida particular.  Também eu terei que fazer mais mudanças para avançar ainda mais.

The Role of Public Reason in the clash between LGBT advocates and true believers

Typically, we assume that our character traits must be consistent across all aspects of our lives. A devoted partner is also a loyal employee. The same person must also be a dedicated pet owner and a steadfast patron to their favorite establishments. In the real world, this is not how it works. We are not consistent across all domains. We are all “hypocrites”.

Often times we watch people in the spotlight fail to be “consistent”. Politicians that espouse religious doctrines find themselves caught in the crossfire when they violate a sacred doctrine. Their opponents eagerly tear down the “façade” while denouncing the perpetrator as a hypocrite. This approach is misguided since we are not the perfect wholes that we imagine.

Rather than consider these character inconsistencies as a weakness, Libby Newman believes this is what allows us to engage and cooperate with greater society. Newman explores how we can harness cognitive dissonance, or “domain-differentiation”, and use it as a tool to teach public reason. The pedagogy of public reason requires at least a dispositional commitment to engage with others different from yourself in order to find common ground. This discourse requires a foundation of civic friendship or mutual goodwill” (97). Newman considers the skills of civility, sincerity, and patience as necessary conditions for exercising public reason (95).

Our nuances of character allow us to push beyond a single doctrine in order to find this common ground. Newman believes that through domain-differentiation, we are able to include “true believers”, who often find themselves marginalized in our pluralistic society. True believers can preserve their worldviews while actively engaging in the political process[1]

I thought it was interesting how Welton says that some worldviews can only be described in faith-based terms.  Also, he mentions the boundary between secularism and religion is violated depending on if the society is pre or post-Enlightenment.


As she discusses liberalism and its justification, Newman reminds us of the role of “true believers” in a democratic society. She challenges us to embrace these sectors of society and not dismiss them as remainders whose beliefs cannot be incorporated into our system. In this sense, she builds upon and deviates from the work done by Rawles and Honig (15).

As a proponent of liberalism, she also reminds us that the true believers are not the only ones unwilling to compromise.

“Secularism has its own true believers – those unwilling to compromise with citizens of faith whose processes of ethical judgment they regard as little more than superstition. There is no monopoly on intransigence!” (21).

By engaging with persons of faith, we make our liberal society stronger, including members most prone to be excluded (27).

This exchange of ideas can sometimes be contentious, but this is okay. A tranquil society is not a success sign of liberalism, and possibly indicates the breakdown of democracy, and the path towards suppression and despotism. “Public reason welcomes moral argumentation as the basis for identifying shared values. It offers the possibility of more productive conflicts, rather than the elimination of conflict” [emphasis added] (17). Public reason is “consensus seeking”, not “consensus establishing” (77).

Libby also follows the lead of O’Neill who seeks the “possible consent of actual agents” as justification for liberalism and as a corollary for the pedagogy of public reason (32). This third road is an alternative to the empirical public justification and normative public justification which both are insufficient on their own (xvi) and eventually self-defeating (xvii).

To find “possible consent”, citizens must be trained and institutions must be formed. This implies an obligation for both the State and citizen. Citizens must be “active” agents in society. Institutions must be designed so that citizens can “offer or refuse consent” of the current arrangements. In essence, these institutions are helping citizens develop the “wherewithal” of public reason. Ultimately, these citizens are then later able to reason away the existence of the very same institutions that “developed” these skills (32). The cultivation process of “wherewithal” or “public reason” is an active one, which is not always in the best interests of the institutions that foster them (40).

As a premise for the pedagogy of public reason, we must assume that “people are the basic units of deliberation and responsibility”, even though this is not universally seen as a truth (37). The role of the State and its institutions is to create a favorable environment to encourage the development and continuation of the use of public reason (42).

Newman finds support for character domain-differentiation in all subfields of psychology, minus from personality psychologists (Chapter 3). We commit the fundamental attribution error when we express ourselves using “global” characteristic traits (46).

Ie: Mark donates a lot of money to build a new cathedral. Mark must be a generous and charitable man. When Mark’s child asks him to fund his missionary trip, Mark refuses.

Mark may be hypocritical, but this is the usual conclusion if we view character traits as existing in purely “global” terms. It would be most accurate to describe our character in situational terms using “…if…then..” scenarios (59). Furthermore, most individuals cannot “fully integrate” their moral character without assuming extreme costs that would be unbearable for most (69).

Newman also considers other researchers who take an agnostic approach towards character and virtues. Scholars like Vranas (2005) “suggest that people are neither good nor bad, but morally indeterminate, that is, capable of great harm or good, depending on the situation” (51). In addition, character and virtues are always evolving. “Both co-regulation and moral network theory suggest that development involves interaction  between internal and external forces in our lives – it is neither the case that we are independent of our surroundings, nor that we are completely determined by them (see also Johnson 1993, 134). Rather, through networks and feedback loops, we create information and settle upon commitments that are unique consequences of particular interactions and experiences” (55).

We also change depending on our environment, the places where we are and the people who surround us. Lev Vygotsky paints this phenomenon in a positive light, calling is the “zone of proximal development” (56). Vygostky shows how we can perform better when surrounded by individuals with stronger skills in a given area, even if this exposure is short-term.

To further complicate the analysis, individual construal is also necessary to comprehend our world (61). Each one of us derives different points from the same situation, fixating on some, while ignoring or forgetting others. This process is supported by our previous experience.

Our first moral code is adopted without conscious thought (73). This includes all methods of thinking, even if not considered “religious”. However, the pedagogy of public reason helps us challenge this initial foundation, ultimately to build a stronger structure (our ability to reason). At a minimum, it helps us better understand those with contrasting views.

As a prerequisite of compromise, there must be a least some shared criteria. When we cannot think beyond our own ideas and listen to contrary ones, our “moral utterances are little more than statements of unfounded preference. Attempts to dress up these utterances as appeals to objective moral standards are merely manipulative efforts to induce others to share our unfounded preferences” (quote of Alasadir MacIntyre on page 73).

Commitment to public reason is essential for the development of a vibrant, liberal society. Newman traces Rawls’ argument for how instrumental commitment becomes principled commitment. Once actors realize liberalism can be used to their advantage, they become stakeholders in the system. Their initial self-motivated commitment matures to a principled commitment, believing in public reason as an end to its own. This is similar to Adam’s Smith argument of the invisible hand establishing temporary equilibriums to balance actions, desires, and resources.

Newman does not think we should expect all members in society to adopt a principled commitment to public reason. This is where she suggests an intermediary step between simple instrumental commitment and principled commitment. Newman calls this dispositional commitment.

“A dispositional commitment allows individuals to adopt the habits of public reason in a way that grants the everyday benefits of social cooperation and political deliberation (beyond simple political entrée and power) without requiring a larger dogmatic commitment to public reason” (78). Sometimes promoting dispositional commitments to public reason may be our best bet. It certainly is when there is a risk of excluding “true believers” (79).

Newman offers this alternative even though the “integralist position” of true believers may be exaggerated (82). Efforts to integrate character traits and moral values across all domains run up against limits, an important one being the differentiated nature of our minds (86). Another limit is the principal of noncontradiction, which we must accept if we settle on an integralist position instead of domain-differentiation.

In a separate post, I will use a specific contention point to highlight the need for public reason in contemporary society. The recent Scotus decision from the Supreme Court was seen as the victory for the LGBT movement over religious conservative groups. I argue now that there is a danger for the LGBT movement to push too hard and in effect violate the religious liberties of others. What the LGBT community needs to do now is step back and redefine itself.

I next will predict an eventual schism within the LGBT community. This fault line will occur between the “hardliners” and the younger generation who seeks complete integration into larger society. Younger members seek not just the advantages of marriage, but also its obligations. They will be worried about the image they portray to society. Most importantly, they will seek to distinguish the “right to marry” from “sexual liberty”.  Eventually this will mean the demise of symbols such as the rainbow flag and organizations that have exclusively LGBT objectives.

This post appears here.

Libby Newman’s book is Liberalism in Practice the Psychology and Pedagogy of Public Reason. Here is the summary from the MIT Press. I was also very fortunate to have Newman as a professor as the University of Pittsburgh in 2009.

[1] Michael Welton's article on Jurgen Habermas discusses how some worldviews can only be described in faith-based terms.  Habermas considers this an undue burden on religious communities in post-Enlightenment societies.  In pre-Enlightenment societies, it is the secularists that are unduly burdened by having to express their findings in non-secular terms.

Specialization and the Lost Art of Public Reason

In order to teach public reason, students should have an engaging classroom experience. They should have to defend their views and learn to master multiple domains.

Cláudio Amir Dalbosco argues that the increased specialization and “technification” of our curriculums are making students think less about the collective experience, social cooperation, common good, and public defense.   Even though we need students with this type of training, it does not serve our society well if it does not have a solid base in the social sciences. With a purely technical educational training, graduates are not necessarily taught solidarity and are unable to find common ground with others from different backgrounds. The lack of critical thinking and imaginative skills can effectively prevent them from becoming good “universal citizens”. In this critique, I will consider “universal students” in a national context (United States).

Without the ability to critically analyze their surroundings, there is a regression to the average (pressão do pares) and the blind submission to authority (submissão cega à autoridade). Dalbosco considers these two obstacles for a functioning democracy. Their absence eventually lead to the incapacity to think and the lack of responsibility to act.

As we seek consensus through productive conflicts, we learn public reason through a dispositional or principled commitment. This result is not a luxury, but rather a necessity for a democratic society. As we debate, we learn of our own vulnerability no matter how well learned we are in a given area. As Socrates stated “the only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing”. This realization puts in check our own arrogance and diminishes the probability of an individual seeking an authoritarian resolution.

Dalbosco says this skill can be learned through a “cosmopolitan” education. This is similar to Newman’s idea of an education that teaches “public reason”. Dalbosco thinks that the lessons learned from a cosmopolitan education and challenge doctrines from traditional education which are based on the idea that a good citizen blindly obeys traditions and prefers unconditional subordination to critical examination and debate.

To be fair, some of the main ideas from both authors also have major divergences. This is mostly due to their backgrounds. The “cosmopolitan” education is mainly highlights the goal for Brazilians to be globally conscious. As expected, there is added emphasis on foreign language acquisition alongside pragmatism. This is what makes Brazilians natural arbitrators in the geopolitical arena.

One novelty that Dalbosco discusses is an additional advantage of language learning and translation. This is the humbling experience one has when translating from one language to another. The more you know, the more you question, the more you hesitate, and in turn, the more nuanced your answers. This leads to a greater respect for the language learning process.

These ideas will be explored in more depth here.

English version: College Education and the challenges of shaping for a democratic citizenship

O texto em português: Educação superior e os desafios da formação para a cidadania democrática