Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Enfermedad de España

Alvaro Vargas Llosa has noticed the same thing HSIB has;
Chile’s outgoing center-right government under President Piñera has been among the most successful in the country’s history, if we judge it by the statistics that serve to measure these things. ....
The economy grew at an average rate of more than 5 percent in his first three years and is growing more than 4 percent this year—against a 3.3 average rate under [Michelle] Bachelet’s previous government. Poverty has been reduced to 14 percent of the population and almost one million jobs have been created. Under Piñera’s predecessor [Bachelet, again], unemployment had grown substantially. Behind this success is an investment rate that nears 25 percent of GDP, four points higher than in the days of Bachelet. Foreign investors poured US$ 30 billion into the country last year, almost half of what Brazil took in despite an economy that is nine times bigger.
¿Qué pasa?
Mauricio Rojas, a well-known analyst, thinks this is “the best and least loved government in our history.” He points to “the malaise of success”, a material progress that multiplies expectations a lot faster than the ability to meet them. I agree. I watched a similar process in Spain, where a large middle class that was the child of the booming post-Franco economy eventually became complacent and placed on the system redistributive and egalitarian demands that were incompatible with a prosperous society. The result was, in part, Spain’s recent crisis.
Now that Michelle Bachelet has been elected for a second time--with active support from the Communist Party of Chile!;
Could the same happen in Chile, whose progress has made it an emblem of the emerging world? .... A significant segment of the middle class seems to have fallen for the siren song of old-fashioned socialism.
Herein lies a tremendous lesson for the rest of Latin American and the emerging world. The malaise of success can be a much worse enemy of the free society than its ideological foes.
Not that the disease is confined to native Spanish speakers, as the inaugural speech of Seattle's newest City Council member proves;
I wear the badge of socialist with honor. To the nearly hundred thousand who voted for me, and to the hundreds of you who worked tirelessly on our campaign, I thank you. Let us continue.
The election of a socialist to the Council of a major city in the heartland of global capitalism has made waves around the world. We know because we have received messages of support from Europe, Latin America, Africa and from Asia. Those struggling for change have told us they have been inspired by our victory.
To all those prepared to resist the agenda of big business – in Seattle and nationwide – I appeal to you: get organized. Join with us in building a mass movement for economic and social justice, for democratic socialist change, whereby the resources of society can be harnessed, not for the greed of a small minority, but for the benefit of all people. Solidarity.
Because Kshama's ideas have worked so well everywhere they've been tried.

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