14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, 23 November 2015 — The victory of Mauricio Macri in Argentina is the triumph of common sense over strained discourse and failed emotions. It is also the arrival of modernity and the burial of a populist stage that should have disappeared long ago.
There is a successful way of governing. It is the one used in the 25 leading nations of the planet, among which should be Argentina, as it had been in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Everyone hopes that Macri will lead the country in that direction.
Which are those nations? Those recorded in all rigorous manuals, from the Human Development Index published by the United Nations, to Doing Business from the World Bank, to Transparency International. Some twenty compilations agree, however they stack up: the same ones always appear at the top of the list.
There is a successful way of governing. It is the one used in the 25 leading nations of the planet, among which should be Argentina
Which ones? The usual suspects: Norway, England, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, United States, Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, and the usual etc. How do they do it? With a mixture of respect for law, clear rules, strong institutions, markets, open trade, reasonable administrative honesty, good education, innovation, competition, productivity and, above all, confidence.
Sometimes the governments are liberal, Christian democrat or social democrat. Sometimes they combine in coalitions. Despite disputes, they all form a part of the extended family of liberal democracies. What is usually discussed in elections is not the form in which society relates to the state, but the amount of the tax burden and the formula for distributing social spending. The economic model, on which productivity rests, is not in play in the voting booth, nor is the political model which organizes coexistence and guarantees freedoms. On this they agree.
They are nations, in short, that are calm, without upheavals, without saber rattling and rumors of chaos, wonderfully boring, where the voices against the system are too weak to be considered, and where you can make long term plans because it is very difficult for the currency to suddenly lose its value or for the government to hijack your savings in an infamous and illegal seizure.
That does not mean that there are no crises and speculative bubbles, or that some, like Greece, engage in underhanded practices and need to have their chestnuts pulled out of the fire. Of course this happens, but they overcome it, and the economy recovers without breaking the democratic game. There are inevitable cycles, which are produced in free markets, where every now and then greed distances buyers and sellers. The leading nations have learned how to overcome it and move forward.
Everyone hopes that Mauricio Macri will move in the same direction for the good of Argentinians, but given that it is the largest and best educated country in Latin America, one can venture that his victory will have notable consequences across the whole continent. For now, it is very important that Argentina has abandoned the drift towards Chavism introduced by Kirchnerism.
Macri’s victory will have repercussions in the Venezuelan elections, to which the democratic opposition will come with the certainty that it has a new and valuable friend who will refuse to validate the fraud being prepared by Maduro
Macri’s victory will have repercussions in the Venezuelan elections on 6 December, to which the democratic opposition will come with the certainty that it has a new and valuable friend who will refuse to validate the fraud being prepared by Maduro, much less the oppressive Civil-Military Junta he has threatened if the polls don’t go his way.
It will have effects on the Brazilian electoral landscape, strengthening the center right forces that oppose Lula; and on Chile, when Mrs. Bachelet, whose popularity is in the basement, calls new elections in which she cannot be a candidate.
Not only is Mauricio Macri, as rightly pointed out by Joaquín Martínez Solá in La Nación, the expression of the generational change this country needs—with men and women who didn’t suffer the trauma of the military dictatorship nor the guerrilla barbarity of the armed opposition—but he can be the one who will lead the fight in Latin American for democracy and freedoms. Someone who leads the country into the 21st century, which began almost 16 years ago, and gets it out of the old populist morass in which Peronism mired it for many decades.
Few rulers have begun their mandate with so many national and international dreams resting on their management. It is a great country that deserves a great president.