Friday, September 23, 2011

the limits of super-markets?

"The limits of superman" is the title of a blog article from FT appeared couple of days ago. It basically proposes that the historically high levels of popular rejection to the Chilean president Sebastian Piñera are related to his lack of charisma, "despite his many assets", what constitutes a failure of technocracy.  It also points that people discontent is related to his way to run the country, "like a corporation and not a state".

This last point is the critical issue. But this is not just Piñera´s fault. Chile was privatized almost completely during Pinochet times (except for part of the copper mines), and now people want to have a more active role of the State in education, health, pension system and other crucial aspects... the problem is not the limit of technocracy, but the limit of markets as substitutes of the State.

Don't take my wrong. Markets are crucial for development, and the excessive participation of the State can be very harmful, as we know from long time ago. But the same argument goes in the other direction, extreme market freedom can be equally harmful. And Chile is the paradigmatic example. An important lesson for development theorists and practioners.   

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