A few weeks ago the ex pdte. Ricardo Lagos, speaking before an audience of executives and businessmen gathered in the Monetary Club, invited to reflect on the future of Chile and the type of country that we wanted to build. I think for many it was refreshing to hear him talk, among other things, about technological change, the importance of social networks and the transformations that all this brings in the world of economy, power and how people relate. He also spoke of “smart” applications that are already available in the fields of electricity as well as health, among others. Frankly, an abyss of difference with what we hear, see and read daily, whose subject matter is dominated by headlines associated with judicial processes, formalizations, observers and legislative frenzies. It made me at the same time recodar what Harvard professor Michael Sandel had exposed in the Congress of the Future on issues such as justice and democratic argument. And added two additional ingredients: confidence and uncertainty derived from the end of the supercycle high commodity prices.
All of this reminds us of the tremendous challenge we face as a country to overcome the trap of middle income in order to make the leap to the longed-for dream of being part of the club of developed nations. A challenge that seems to become increasingly complex and difficult as evidenced by the high levels of rejection with which public opinion punishes the performance of the “political class”.
For this reason, it is now more than ever necessary to deliberate intelligently about the “public issues” necessary for the generation of prosperity, social cohesion and justice. And in the opinion of some, among whom I am aware, this requires important transformations on at least four fronts: quality education connected to the development of the skills required by the world of this century; More flexible labor markets that increase the employability of those who work and those who want to work without precariousness; A dedicated effort in innovation that improves the way we do many things today, make us more productive and increase pay; And, finally, real improvements to the government of both private and public institutions. With regard to private institutions, this has to do with a real improvement of corporate governance of companies, which means strengthening levels of transparency, accountability and, in general, putting into practice practices that generate value In a sustainable way with all that it demands in its different fronts, interrelations and counterparts.
As far as the government of public institutions is concerned, the challenge is the magnitude of what the former expressed. Pdte. Lagos as it requires a state with quality management capabilities and technical sophistication throughout its structure. I would add that we also need to make a calm reflection on the functions that the State must fulfill in a country of the 21st century. The list of public goods that it is required to provide is no longer exhausted in the administration of justice, police and defense services, but must be expanded to include, inter alia, competitiveness and infrastructure, open and competitive markets, A political activity that promotes the greatest possible participation and the generation of ideas of quality, among others.
The market-state binomial needs to be revitalized and put back in the loop. We must abandon the course of moving forward without thinking that it has been installed (a remastered version of the old advance without compromise) to pave the way for a reflexive deliberation of the issues that are the future of our country: how our economy grows according to its potential in A scenario in which the price of its main motor that is the copper has fallen in the middle; How we make the prosperity that is generated be distributed in an equitable and meritocratic way; How we recover the tranquility that has taken away the nefarious drug-delinquency duo; And, what are the rights and duties that each Chilean correspond to. History reminds us again and again that for this there is no magic or shortcuts. It is only possible that we do well the catch.
To see this column in Diario Financiero, click here (Spanish Version)
Juan Pablo Bórquez Yunge
Lawyer and Economist.
Professor of Economic Law University of Chile.