MPRI Investment Opportunity

Thomas Kruse tkruse at
Fri Oct 16 10:56:07 PDT 1998

>From Tom Lehman:

>Whatever happened to the Peace Corp?

I know this was posed more as comment than query, but what the heck.

Here's in Bolivia the Peace Corp is alive and well ... though I'm not certain that's good for Bolivia. I have friends in the Corps bureaucracy here, honest folk trying to do a good job. I have, however, a very low opinion of the Corps overall. Missionary zeal, which is rife in the Corps, always gives me the willies. With the Corps all too often such zeal aims to "structurally adjust" local peoples into "rational market actors" and otherwise funcionalize people to the system; part the development appratus that James Ferguson aptly dubbed an "Anti-politics Machine" (Cambride U Press, 1990). Development fads abound: microcredit, gender-and-everything projects, etc. etc.

I also tell my undergrads to stay away from volunteers here. The best way to impede good relations with communities here is to be pegged as a Corps member. They also do all the typical gringo crap: flaunt wealth, talk too loud in English, dress like slobs (folks here have never understood why people with money would choose to look like shit), and do drugs. The latter is mentioned not in some puritanical spirit. Rather, doing coke nad making that scene here only underscroes class/cultural differences, and draconian anti-drug laws here (written by the US Embassy) presume guilt until innonce is established, which can prove to be a practical problem.

On the other hand, I'll note some very good work done by volunteers in AIDS education, in coordination with the local gay community! Such "partnership" gave the local gay (male exclusivley) community some real support and affirmation, something they have never gotten from any Bolivian agency or group.


Tom Kruse / Casilla 5812 / Cochabamba, Bolivia Tel/Fax: (591-4) 248242 Email: tkruse at

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list