Tuesday, August 9

Carlos Alberto Montaner: Balancing democracy, market economy

Great piece by Carlos Alberto Montaner that sheds light on why it is that such a large percent of the populations in Latin American nations think that capitalist democracies do not work.

Montaner says, "
If half of the population of Latin America is miserable and lives in mud and tin shacks, in societies organized as self-described capitalist democracies, it is natural that a good many people think that the model doesn't work. That is why neither populism nor antidemocratic attitudes fade away." As he clearly points out, it is not what you call it that matters, but what is being applied and practiced. It isthe application of democracy and government that makes a real difference in the lives of individuals.
How do we ensure that the happy combination of market and democracy will eventually produce in Latin America the same fruit that it has produced in countries such as Holland, Denmark, Ireland and even Spain and Portugal?

The answer may lie in the Chilean experience, or the Spanish experience after Franco's death. It all begins with forging a clear consensus within the largest segment of the sensible ruling class, to the right and left of the political span.

That consensus involves an agreement based on the preservation of the four basic pillars of the system, just as they exist in the 20 most successful nations on the planet:

· Respect for the rule of law (which implies the end of impunity).

· Democracy as a method to make collective decisions (that cannot violate individual rights).

· Private property and market (instead of statism and planning).

· An opening to the exterior, for the purpose of interrelating decisively with the First World in the fields of finance, technology and trade.