Monday, 19 August 2013

Religion and politcs

I love Campbell and Putnam's American Grace. My hope is to replicate something like it for Chile some day. There is no question that in Chile, as in the US and elsewhere, religion continues to play an important part in politics. Recent events in Egypt are the most recent and depressing example.

The tension is between the desire to create (or maintain) secular politics while not decreeing secularism in all of society. Many people want to hold on to their beliefs. As I say in this piece, the only way to do so is to understand, as Jacques Berlinerblau has written, the difference between secularism and atheism.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Why Nations Fail (But Hopefully Not Think Tanks)

On Monday we're launching a new think tank in Chile, called Espacio Público. The keynote speaker is James Robinson, one of the coauthors of Why Nations Fail. My colleague Eduardo Engel interviewed him (in Spanish) here.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Downton Chile has set up a new blogs section, and a few of us who used to be occasional columnists now have these very nifty mini blogs. Mine is called Polítifunk. Today I published my first Polítifunk column, comparing Chilean politics and society -- and really what's going on in the rest of the world as well -- to the world of Dowton Abbey. We have one foot in one century and one foot in another, and unless we are very careful it is all going to end in tears. That's my happy thought for the day. Anyway, here's the column.

Mapuches, but not just Mapuches

Whenever I give talks on the challenges facing Chile in the near future, I always mention the unresolved tension with indigenous communities. This week, Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, issued a report that highlights the Chilean state's mishandling of indigenous issues, and warns that a continuation of these misguided policies could explode into real violence. The BBC reports.