Over the past few decades, Latin America became the very public incubator of new economic models—or at least of flamboyant variations on old ones. For a while, it seemed as if the region might just give birth to some kind of a successful hybrid: a populist, leftist formula for expanding economies and erasing poverty, powered by the free market and assertively steered by governments.
But those days are gone, and they’re exiting the stage with the same bombast and drama with which they burst onto it.
No one would suggest that the so-called 21st Century Socialism concocted by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds any appeal now that it is crumbling into chaos. Even Brazil’s milder form of redistributive leftist capitalism has driven itself into a wall, smashed up like a drunk driver by the intoxicating power of corruption.