I'm sorry I keep writing about this guy, and not about RPGs (for those of you who'd rather hear about RPGs than about latin american policies), but it seems that now that Mujica is on his last year as President, he's decided to tell some very 'inconvenient truths' to the latinamerican left. And I think that considering how many Fashionable Liberals denizens of G+ or Facebook or the blogosphere idolize the guy (as I said yesterday, they idolize him for the wrong reasons! He deserves to be idolized but specifically because he's NOT the kind of leftist-hero they want to imagine him to be!), its important from my slightly privileged position as someone who is rather closeby to him to report on how he really is.
In an interview yesterday, Uruguayan president Pepe Mujica said some
very interesting things, while he took pride Uruguay's enormous growth over
the past decade, its huge increase in social mobility, its proportional
rate of per capita increase in prosperity. He acknowledged that his government did not, in its economic policy, follow the standard economic theories of the extreme south-american Left, and instead encouraged investment and promoted Capitalism, and that this was the key of his successes.
He said (quoted and translated from Spanish): "Uruguay learned
various important lessons, all of these policies you see around out
there: controlling the exchange rate, inflation, operating with two
different values for the Dollar, we've tried all of these in the past 60
years; and well, we developed some collective wisdom and have some clue
of what can be done and what absolutely should not be done."
All of the (disastrous) policies he mentioned are policies being
presently enacted by the failing economies of the Argentinian and
Venezuelan governments. In other words, he was specifically calling them
out (without going so far as to say the word) as idiots who've learned
nothing. Uruguay has succeeded, and all the "bolivarian revolution" countries who followed Chavez's idiot-leftist war drum have failed. And the reasons are obvious: following leftist ideology, all the latter followed economic plans that have been a DISASTER every time any government anywhere in history has tried to impose them (and they have now fallen into totally predictable economic crises as a result); while Uruguay (under Mujica, and Tabare Vasquez before him) did not; in spite of being run by a leftist coalition, in spite of having a president who 50 years earlier fought in an anti-democratic guerilla movement trying to impose those very policies. He looked at the history, and realized that the marxist economic model is a failure.
He also spoke of the role of the State in modern societies, stating that
he thinks that the Tupamaros (The maoist-communist party of Uruguay,
which he heads) needs to hold firm to its values but radically change
its way of thinking "(Socialism) needs to change its ideas; its that
because of this pattern that you create its very easy to unleash a
cataclism: you nationalize this, you nationalize that, suddenly your
production starts to drop, your figures start to plummet, and then
people have to wait in line for products, and do without this and that,
and people end up suffering for it. I would rather go a slower route.
Make peace with Capitalism, let it do its thing; yes, you have to
complain to capitalism a bit, and get your cut, but not kill it, because
if you kill capitalism you kill the goose that lays all the golden
eggs. You have to use it (at the same time as you allow it to prosper)
to make other changes in non-economic areas."
"The state has to handle certain things; like social security; there's
always groups in society that will be disadvantaged. Who will take care
of the handicapped if not the public service? There are some things
that inherently need to be taken care of by the state."
"Capitalism is formidable for generating wealth but doesn't do a great
job of spreading it around. You have to complain to it and gripe to get
your due because Capitalism is always stingy, and it cries crocodile
tears when it has to give up as much as a drop to the public. So the
State sometimes has to put some screws on it to get it to share, because if not
there's a group of people who will get buried under the force of
Capitalism. BUT, if you pull too much in that direction, Capital gets scared and
stops investing. And if it doesn't invest, its like you don't have seeds
to plant with. So you have let Capitalism win; you have to let it
invest and in the long term if you encourage Capitalism it will end up
having a bigger payoff, because it generates more wealth. But you
always have to be complaining to Capitalism so that it doesn't forget
about the weakest people. So what you have to do is (not to strangle
capitalism) but to develop a parallel social economy. And you have to
make very sure that you fight every day for the State to be more
honorable, and more efficient!"
"But I don't like bureaucratism. I think that anytime someone has a
secure position (ie. can't get fired), he'll 'pig out'. I can't say
everything I think about this or they (his own party, and the unions)
will want to kill me!"
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Volcano + H&H Beverwyck