Bolivia Boasting Ban on Coca Cola, End of Capitalism For End of Mayan Calendar

Bolivia’s minister of foreign affairs declared last week that December 21, the cyclical end of the Mayan calendar, would usher in a “new era free of capitalism,” and because he is not completely disconnected from reality, he did the media savvy thing and pegged his pronouncement to Coca-Cola, specifically that “December 21 has to be the end of Coca Cola, and the beginning of mocochinchi .

Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, previously announced December 21 as a date for a regional gathering of leaders in Bolivia in his continued attempt to emulate Hugo Chavez and try to cobble together an anti-U.S. coalition in South America.

You can be forgiven if you don’t know what a mocochinchi is, there is a short Wikipedia article that suggests it’s basically a home-made peach drink. But might Bolivia be interested in promoting a product other than the mocochinchi as an alternative to Coca-Cola? While the local drink may fit the indigenous narrative Bolivia’s president is trying to construct around his anti-capitalist coalition, it doesn’t do much for Bolivia’s bottom line. Another product, Coca Colla, might.

Coca Colla, a coca-based cola, was launched in Bolivia with state backing in 2010. Its creators claim “Colla” is a term used for the region coca is grown; Morales has been an advocate of legalizing the cultivation of coca leaves, but not for cocaine. Since being elected in 2006 he’s been engaged in a campaign of nationalization, his goal includes nationalizing all natural resources. His government’s also, obviously, seized assets of foreign companies operating in the country, most recently of a Spanish power utility operating there.

Coca Cola’s presence in the country has grown in Bolivia in the last few decades. Since 2001 consumption of Coke products has more than tripled in Bolivia, according to the company’s annual report and last year a blogger wrote that Coca Cola sent him a year’s worth of its diet products after he complained about a dearth of diet Coca Cola products in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz.

A Coca Cola spokesperson had no comment about the Bolivian minister of foreign affair’s “end of Coke” declaration.

Earlier this year Coca Cola announced it would be doing business in Burma as soon as the U.S. government lifts trade restrictions. Once that happens, only North Korea and Cuba will be without Coca Cola operations. Even Iran gets a pass, though Ahmadinejad announced a boycott in 2010.

No word on how Bolivia’s government officials feel about Pepsi though.

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  • Zeb||

    Ugh. It is always funny (in a bad way) when idiots like this talk about capitalism as if it is a policy that can simply be gotten rid of. You simply can't end capitalism. It's human nature. Hell, even North Korea has some capitalism, in spite of all of the state's efforts.

  • Hyperion||

    Human nature == BAD

    Authoritah == GOOD

  • John||

    That is only because we haven't created the new soviet man yet zeb. Once we murder all of the exploitative classes and eliminate their false political consciousness from society, that human nature problem will be solved.

  • Zeb||

    Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.

  • Proprietist||

    I'll be a contrarian/pedant and argue that laissez faire/a free market is human nature, but capitalism isn't possible without government involvement. Socialization of risk via artificial limited liability and bankruptcy laws are central to capitalism, a system that the prioritizes accumulation of capital over the assignment of risk.

    This is why many anti-capitalists are correct in noting the environmental and social injustice of externalities and how they violate the natural rights of others.

  • Hyperion||

    Ok. Sure, capitalism has its flaws. Like getting charged for bullshit because the primary goal of a business is to maximize profits. There is a safeguard on this however in a free market system. It's called competition. If you charge me for too much bullshit(like your average cell phone company, cable company) I will go to your competition. I am not talking about cronyism and government sponsored monopolies here, but free market capitalism.

    The problem with the alternative - collectivism, statism, socialism, whatever you want to call it? The problem is that you will wind up with no choices at all. Why? Because there is no incentive for anyone to fucking provide it, that is why!

    Capitalism is all we have. Just give everyone a damn 3D printer and let them print whatever they want or need. Problem solved. Until them, we have capitlism, or the shit alternative. I will take capitalism and wait for my damn printer.

  • Proprietist||

    I'm not even talking crony capitalism, I'm talking about the fundamental statism of capitalism itself. Competition takes care of price gouging and adds some marginal market pressures not to do bad things, but the moral hazards of capitalism actually are what allow prices to be as low as they are and profits to be as big as they are.

    Because they are reassigning the full cost of risk onto society instead of assuming it into the cost of business, the typical outcomes are fraud, negligence, endangerment, violations of rights, etc. Thus the regulatory state exists and punishes and restricts all businesses for the actions of the worst offenders.

    The best solution is a true free market, where owners assume full liability risk or purchase liability insurance, where bankruptcy contingency is prenegotiated with creditors instead of administered in courts and without any need for a regulatory state beyond basic fraud/abuse enforcement.

  • Proprietist||

    "Because they are reassigning the full cost of excess risk onto society instead of assuming it into the cost of business..."

    Excess being risk beyond the value of corporate assets.

  • Zeb||

    I accept your point. I am being somewhat lazy and using capitalism to mean market based commerce.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proprietist,

    I'll [...] argue that [...] capitalism isn't possible without government involvement. Socialization of risk via artificial limited liability and bankruptcy laws are central to capitalism,


    They're central to State-sponsored corporativism, but not to capitalism. CAPITALISM simply means employing savings (capital) to produce goods or services.

    a system that the prioritizes accumulation of capital over the assignment of risk.


    This is gibberish.

    This is why many anti-capitalists are correct in noting the environmental and social injustice of externalities


    Normally, these anti-capitalists know nothing about what they talk.

    First, environmental problems always stem from poorly-defined property rights. Whether certain actors benefit from this or not is not germane to the defnition of capitalism or what is capitalism. Second, there's no such thing as social justice - that's as absurd a notion as saying there'sa social preference for the color orange.

  • Proprietist||

    I distinguish capitalism from laissez faire/free market/commerce because I agree most closely with just about everything Adam Smith advocated, and he never used the word at all. It wasn't even coined until decades later. Smith was a critic of the moral hazards of corporations, which have been undeniably central to what pretty much everybody defines as capitalism ever since. I call myself a proprietist to distinguish from the status quo definition of corporate capitalism.

  • Proprietist||

    Secondly I disagree that there is no such thing as social justice. In fact, it is fully applicable to libertarianism.

    Every person has inherent natural rights, but the government prioritizes conflicts of rights. In the case of, for instance, environmental justice, government tended to prioritize the property rights of the corporation over the property rights of the resident neighbors. Social justice is rightly calling for prioritizing the rights of the weak and aggrieved over the rights of the strong and the aggressive where they conflict.

    Now I agree it is often taken beyond that to assuming that everyone deserves an equal cut of the wealth pie. The Left loves coopting and redefining words to suit their purposes, but in context social justice is a righteous concern.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proprietist,

    Smith was a critic of the moral hazards of corporations, which have been undeniably central to what pretty much everybody defines as capitalism ever since.


    Corporations are only organizations of people that pool their resources together. There's nothing inherent in corporations that causes a moral hazard. Only GOVERNMENT causes the moral hazards by giving special dispensations to certain groups, like corporations. The problem is thus GOVERNMENT, not corporations.

    Secondly I disagree that there is no such thing as social justice. In fact, it is fully applicable to libertarianism.


    You may disagree all you want, but you are still confusing the map for the territory. Society and social are concepts for facilitating communication, not a name for something unique. There's no "society", just like there's no flock of birds. There are birds, but we call a number of birds a "flock" so we don't have to be ridiculously specific. Which, by the way, makes the concept of Social Justice ridiculous.

  • Proprietist||

    Corporations are not simply groups of people that pool their money together. That's a "partnership." In a corporation, the owners take advantage of the legal ability to protect their individual wealths from liability from the actions of the business they own. Partnerships have no such privilege, and purchase insurance to offset the risk. In a free market every business would be a partnership or proprietorship.

    Which is why I attack governments for providing the moral hazard, not the corporate owners and stockholders for using the legal framework to maximize profits and remain competitive.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Page loads are really slow for me with New Reason. They weren't before. Well, except at 3:00 p.m., ET.

  • RBS||

    "new era free of capitalism,”

    I read this as "new era of free capitalism" and thought I'd gone crazy.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I had to do a double take too - I thought Evo had been hit on the head and come to his senses for a moment.

  • SIV||

    Ahmadinejad announced a boycott in 2010.

    Coca-Cola...Chick-fil-A these intolerant totalitarians are always trying to ban or boycott something.

  • Hyperion||

    They are also trying to give equal rights with humans to trees and beetles. They are insane, so don't try to understand their logic, there is none.

  • Tonio||

    Right, because choosing where to spend or not spend one's own money is exactly the same as using the coercive power of the state to deny someone the right to open a business. Hysterical much?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I thought mocochinchi was Bolivian dialect for juche.

  • mr simple||

    I read it as mochaccino. A chocolate coffee drink to replace Coke?

  • Jerry on the road||

    They're replacing Coke with Starbucks.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I first read it as monchichi. Didn't know what to make of that.

  • T||

    Well, it is so soft and cuddly.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "Officer, can you tell us anything about the shooter?"

    'Well, he said something about an ear worm and the Monchichi theme song?'

    "Most unusual! Back to you in the studio, Ron"

  • ||

    I was curious if you were quoting a TV show. So I Googled part of this quote. And this comment is already cached at Google.

    This Reason 24/7 thingy did a good job raising Reason's Googleability.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    No, I was just predicting the future report on my freak out and eventual demise, as T had pulled the tune from Satan's bowels, also known as the theme for the Monchihi toy, back into my memory after some blissful Monchichi free-decades.

  • Hyperion||

    I once heard Hugo Chavez go off on an anti-capitalist rant and then say 'And now, I will go and enjoy some hot chock-o-latt'. After that, I could never drink hot chocolate again.

  • ||

    He probably never got far enough inside his mansion to get the drink, what with Sean Penn stalking him in the corridors in his endless attempts to suck Hugo's cock.

  • Hyperion||

    True, that. I think Sean, Rosanne Barr, and Cher would love to get together and have a big orgy with comrade Hugie. Ewwww, I shudder...

  • ||

    Who says they havent? I cant say for sure, but......

  • Loki||

    In this case "hot chock-o-latt" was probably code for "fuck Sean Penn's ass with the biggest black rubber dildo I can get my hands on."

  • Hyperion||

    lmao

  • Piaggio||

    Bolivian here. Mocochinchi is not really that exotic (you can order it at restaurants and buy it at the supermarket like koolaid). It is made from dried peaches, and it's really sweet and really good (and probably as bad for your health as Coke because of all the sugar, but what do I know!). It is also not really 100% percent indigenous either, since it is originally from the lowlands, where the culture is predominately hispanic (as in heavily influenced by Spanish settlers). The funny thing is, the ruling party is strongly anti-west, pro-indigenous peoples (supposedly), and now they are talking about replacing an American drink with a local drink from a part of the county who largely opposes their nonsense.

  • mr simple||

    try to cobble together an anti-U.S. coalition in South America.

    HAHAHA. Oh noz, whatever shall we do. It's funny when the insignificant try to act important.

  • Hyperion||

    I am holding out some hope for Uruguay. At least their commie in chief wants to legalize pot. So he has one up on our commie in chief.

  • Hyperion||

    And commies or not, I think it would be great if all of Central and South America got together and told the US to fuck off in regards to the drug war.

    Of course, then I feel sorry for Africa or some other poor region who is the DEAs new personal playground. Maybe they will carpet bomb Papua New Guinea because the natives there might be brewing up some dangerous high inducing herbal concoctions.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    DEA v. the cannibals?

  • Hyperion||

    Makes sense, probably the New Guinea head hunters that made the evil drugs that are turning our innocent citizens into flesh eating zombies.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    My God, its Papuan Bath Saltz!!!! DEA...ATTACK!

  • Paul.||

    Just FYI on Bolivia to all the 'sustainable' energy types.

    Bolivia has the tow-the-lionshare of the world's supply of Lithium.

    Have fun reducing our foreign dependence on green energy!

    TTFN!

  • T||

    We'll declare lithium vital to our national interest and free the shit out of Bolivia. They'll come around.

  • Piaggio||

    The thing is, Bolivia has no means to extract the lithium, so they need foreign investment to do so. However, the government refuses to let anyone from abroad touch any natural resources because of some xenophobic idea that all foreigners want to do is rape our women and steal our god given resources.

  • Zeb||

    Hmm. Maybe if they had strong property rights, some of the actual people that live there would be able to make some money off of the resources when foreign companies come in.

  • Piaggio||

    You are right about that. The central government takes most of the profit in these cases and the people who actually live there do not benefit as much as they should. However, what is the alternative? They do not have the resources or knowledge to harvest lithium, so they need foreign capital. Of course he ideal situation would be if those with the capital had to deal only with landowners or local governments, that way people would benefit a lot more.

  • Tim||

    Whatever happened to the Jihadis plans for Mecca Cola?

    Right up there with Khomeini Cola and Coca-Castro.

  • RPR2||

    Evo Morales = Full Retard

  • ||

    I spent some time in bolivia. Once at an easter celebration in a village in the middle of nowhere, I was offered a shot glass with some thick looking moonshine in it. I think they called it by the same name 'mocochinchi'. Or something similar. It was fucking god-awful in a way that words cant describe. I asked what it was and was told that the old women of the village sit around and chew fruit or sugarcane and then spit into a pot, which is then set aside to ferment and later served up as moonshine. I guess that is what the article means by 'homemade drink'. Good luck marketing that shit.

    And yes, I puked.

    As for making coca cultivation legal, that is a fucking joke. If you drive out of La Paz over the andes there are coca fields carpeting the hills for as far as the eye can see, until you get too high in altitude for the plants to grow. They chew the leaves like we do tobacco, and you can buy it from guys on the street nearly anywhere. They have bales of the stuff as high as your head all over the sidewalks.

  • Ed||

    That process does sound like the one Wikipedia described for making the drink.

  • RBS||

    I see we've seen the same episode of The Thirsty Traveler. J/K but man that sounds pretty foul.

  • kinnath||

    The amylase in saliva turns starch into sugar. That is how they started beer when back in the stone age.

  • ||

    The second episode of Brew Masters covered a Peruvian drink called Chicha which sounds similar.

  • np||

    According to wikipedia, the coca market is already legal in La Paz. It appears he want to expand the areas of legal production.

    Anyways, I was considering investing in a silver bond down there since Evo had made noises about working together with foreign companies in the past, and one of his previous nationalization efforts failed. But shit like this and Evo's recent successful seizure and nationalization of mines made me glad I was very wary.

  • Piaggio||

    Where in Bolivia where you? It sounds like you were in the Western Highlands, which is the recommended destination for tourists (also, in the East we don't really drink that much for easter).

    And what you had doesn't sound like mocochinchi at all. What you are describing sounds more like alcoholic chicha (I agree completely, that thing is gross), which makes sense since its a very popular drink among people from the west. Mocochinchi is a soft drink from the east, and it tastes more or less like very sweet peach juice, and while it is possible to make mocochinchi at home, not many people do it, even in isolated villages.

  • Michael||

    O/T: I have absolutely no idea what the intended message here may be, but it is radiating blinding awesomeness into my eyeballs. In fact, this might actually be the greatest editorial cartoon of all time.

    http://www.trbimg.com/img-5018.....ry-855/600

  • WTF||

    I think those are two roosters.

  • Michael||

    Whatever they are, one of these androgynous fowl is clearly smoking a post-coitus cigarette. Chip Bok, eat your fucking heart out.

  • ||

    How do you know? It is not labeled as such.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    + label

  • Tim||

    This preview rated S for socialist audiences (lights dim)

    [aerial pan of mountains and forest]
    [ Shot of large crowd roaring Si! ]

    Evo Morales is out to smash capitalism, Hugo Chavez wants to drive out the Yankee imperialists and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is taking back the Malvinas. On August 15 these comrades come together and South America is never gonna be the same. (cue music, "Tequila")
    [ glimpses of a car chase, a naked woman's silhoutte against a backlit red flag, a US Drone firing a missile and an exploding Coke truck]

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Can I haz link to trailer?!

    What would you title this magnum opus?

  • Tim||

    Left and Lefterer

  • RBS||

    Is this directed by Michael Bay?

  • Brutus||

    South America loses its mind every now and then. They'll be back one day.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I think a little someone named Cancer might have something to say about that.

  • ||

    Why is the spam filter screwing with me again?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Wait. There's a South America?

  • Tim||

    win

  • Proprietist||

    While I'm not in any way condoning any sort of government bans on anything, you guys do know that Coca Cola is one of the most notorious corporate abusers of rights in Latin America, right? Using paramilitary to murder workers trying to unionize is horrific, no matter what your views on unions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....nt_murders

    If they are guilty of the crimes accused, I have no problem with the governments there taking punitive measures against the company and their executives.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Hey, if it is in Wikipedia...case closed!

  • Proprietist||

    That's the source I selected because it covers many of the accusations in one place. You can learn how to use Google if that is insufficient for you.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proprietist,

    That's the source I selected because it covers many of the accusations in one place.


    And everybody knows that if you're accused, you're guilty.

    Never mind logic, though. Anti-Capitalist romanticism has no place for reason and logic - there's too much interference.

  • Proprietist||

    Where did I say they were guilty? I was pointing out that the broad perception throughout Latin America is that they are, just like the broad perception throughout America was that O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony were guilty. We make all kinds of accusations here about cops and politicians being guilty of murder with impunity, because that is the impression we get.

    Whether they are or aren't, it explains the use of Coca Cola as the pinata of choice for anti-capitalists.

  • ||

    Coke or any company goes to some squalid south american shithole and opens a distributorship by continuously bribing the local officials. Said officials want to keep the bribe money flowing, so if the workers threaten to stop work for any reason, said officials send in the troops. Coke really has no say over the matter. That is the only way you can do business in a place like that. As an american you either turn a blind eye or get out.

  • ||

    I submitted too quickly. The governments taking punitive measures against Coke are the ones actually guilty of the crimes. Coke is the scapegoat.

  • Proprietist||

    Sure, it's a possibility, as is the potential of Coke's complicity with the crimes. I'm not pretending to know whether or not they did or did not encourage it, but I'm also not one to patently write off claims of violations of rights just because the people claiming the violations are unionists and socialists.

    My central point was more why Morales is specifically calling out Coca Cola, which, deserved or not, does not have a good reputation down there. One could assume if Coca Cola were ordering or encouraging the murder of workers in a Mississippi plant, many of us would call for Coca Cola to be boycotted, sued and prosecuted into bankruptcy and the media would be reporting it 24/7 until they were.

    The fact that it happens in a third world country doesn't justify it any more that it would be justified here.

  • ||

    I have no direct knowledge of that particular event. I have seen similar things happen several times to mining, construction and agricultural companies. It went down just as I described above. Coke is being singled out because they have money. All they have to do is pay the slimy motherfucker and he will leave them alone and go pick on someone else.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proprietist,

    Sure, it's a possibility, as is the potential of Coke's complicity with the crimes.


    I am wondering just how many of those supposedly killed by the troops were actual Coca-Cola workers. So far only a trade union has made the accusation. Having some experience with Latin American trade unions (in Mexico), their leaders and members are not exactly angels.

    Besides this, saying that "Coca-Cola hired "paramilitary thugs" as some of the more bombastic headlines from leftist blogs indicate, means little - most of the paramilitary gunmen are at war with the government and who is to say the workers weren't killed because they refused to pay protection to them or were being recruited by force?

  • Proprietist||

    The governments were fascist and the corporations likely found a mutual interest in taking out pesky unionists/socialists. That's how fascism works.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proprietist,

    The governments were fascist


    All non-Communist governments are fascist. ALL of them. You're not saying anything.

    and the corporations likely found a mutual interest in taking out pesky unionists/socialists.


    Oh, so now it's corporations, not just Coca-Cola.

    I suspected that your sudden preoccupation for the well being of trade union workers was just a front.

  • Proprietist||

    I'm not going to defend Leftist hyperbole, although most modern governments do have serious fascist tendencies. But a government is literally fascist when it is actively collaborating with corporations to literally oppress the natural rights of workers and conglomerate political and economic control. I'm using the word in it's most accurate context here.

    I can't believe anyone remotely objective would deny that corporations have been very abusive to actual natural rights throughout the developing world.

    I'm not even talking about subpar factory conditions or "exploiting" cheap labor, like leftists do. I'm talking literal murder, slavery, fraud, environmental destruction, etc. all being ignored or assisted by corrupt governments in on the take and prioritizing short term economic gains over human rights.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proprietist,

    I can't believe anyone remotely objective would deny that corporations have been very abusive to actual natural rights throughout the developing world.


    It is precisely BECAUSE I'm objective about this issue that I'm skeptical about this reputation from corporations. Most of the stories you hear is mostly from government-managed or owned corporations which have all the obvious protections from the State.

    Besides this, there are literally millions of corporations - any idiot can create a corporation. So saying "Corporations are eeeevil!" is nothing short of a grotesque exaggeration.

    Again, environmental destruction only exists because of a lack of clearly-defined property rights, not because of corporations.

  • Proprietist||

    Where did I ever say corporations are eeeevil? Many corporations are fine. I've said many times that the political-economic structure of corporate capitalism creates legal moral hazards that often result in violations of rights by evil, sociopathic individuals within certain corporations who place profits above the basic rights of others.

    Prioritization of the property rights of corporations over the property rights of their neighbors by government leads to environmental destruction. Corporations have a distinct advantage to "buy" this preferential treatment and maximize their profits with the savings from putting the costs of environmental destruction on someone else's back.

  • Voros McCracken||

    "If they are guilty of the crimes accused, I have no problem with the governments there taking punitive measures against the company and their executives."

    But are they guilty of those crimes? They weren't convicted of them in Colombia, though that doesn't likely mean much. There seems to be no smoking gun in either direction. They're certainly guilty of being anti-union.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm incredibly dubious about that sort of claim. The corruption down there is staggering.

  • Loki||

    Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, previously announced December 21 as a date for a regional gathering of leaders in Bolivia in his continued attempt to emulate Hugo Chavez

    Speaking of psychopathic politicians...

  • The Hammer||

    So are Bolivia and Argentina BFFs now?

  • Old Mexican||

    Since being elected in 2006 [president Evo Morales] been engaged in a campaign of nationalization, his goal includes nationalizing all natural resources.


    That pretty much means he wants to nationalize all property, as anything can be called a "natural resource" by anyone that wants it.

    Bolivia's minister of foreign affairs declared last week that December 21, the cyclical end of the Mayan calendar, would usher in a "new era free of capitalism,"


    I would really love to see them try that. It is clear that the good minister as (I am sure) many on the Bolivian cabinet are totally oblivious to the fact that capitalism does not mean "foreign companies" only.

  • ||

    Remember Noriega's Dingbats? Death Squads in El Salvador? Morales has his ponchos rojos. You vote the way you are told.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Suthenboy,

    Morales has his ponchos rojos. You vote the way you are told.


    You misunderstood. I didn't mean that they cannot have a successful referendum from the sheeple to get rid of capitalism. What I meant was that they cannot get rid of Self-Interest, which will manifest itself in the form of black markets, underground cottage industries and simple bribery.

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