Friday, September 14, 2007

Heresthetics in Action!

When Mungowitz and I were little lads in grad school, the late great William Riker was a frequent visitor to Wash U. Riker coined the term heresthetics to refer to the art of changing political outcomes without changing people's underlying preferences. One way he claimed this could be done was by introducing a new policy dimension into the debate, which is pretty much exactly what the Anti-Evo movement in Bolivia has been able to do.

I don't know how much they read Riker, but somehow by starting a seemingly frivolous campaign to have the capital moved back to Sucre from Morales stronghold La Paz, the anti-Morales folks have effectively stymied Evo's bid to re-write Bolivia's constitution in a way that improved indigenous rights and also allowed Evo to remain in office for the forseeable future!! The million strong Evo "street team" is reduced to demanding that the capital stay in La Paz rather than demanding restitution for centuries of abuse at the hands of the Santa Cruz elite.

Somewhere, wearing a deafeningly loud sport jacket, Bill Riker is looking on and smiling.