Trending

Newsletter

39 Steps for Creating a Healthy Latin American Government

By: Antonella Marty - @AntonellaMarty - Apr 28, 2016, 7:58 am
(Antonella Marty) reglas gobierno gobernante
The state produces nothing. Only taxpayers’ money can do that. (Antonella Marty)

EspañolGiven all of the recent corruption cases in Latin America (see: Brazil and Argentina) as well as widespread accusations of censorship (see: Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador), it might be useful to remind ourselves what a healthy and successful administration for a Latin American government might look like. Here’s a list.

    1. Do not interfere in people’s personal lives, and respect their civil rights.
    2. Do not seek to curtail property rights, and do not cling to the trend of expropriations. Do not forget the incentives of private property.
    3. Do not try to control the media. Freedom requires diversity of independent media and information circulating without government intervention.
    4. Do not imprison someone for thinking differently. Different opinions help us grow up, and enrich our culture. Which means no political prisoners.
    5. Do not look for an enemy or a scapegoat to blame for the ills affecting your country. Stop blaming American imperialism or globalization. Accept the mistakes made by previous administrations and protectionism, and don’t encourage the usual populist measures of impoverishment.
    6. Reduce public jobs. Massive public employment results in a lack of productivity because it encourages poverty and a stagnant society. At the end of the day, all those salaries will be paid by taxpayers.
    7.  Try to reduce poverty with quality education, with economic opportunities, with private investment, leading to the creation of a number of productive jobs and thinking people.
    8. Do not interfere in the courts, it must be independent so the rule of law can be developed in a correct and just way.
    9. Don’t let state bureaucrats manage companies, because eventually you’ll have companies without business people, but rather parasites dependent on taxpayers’ money. Remember that the State should not have any kind of entrepreneurial inclination.
    10. Raise your voice in response to abuses against civil, economic and political freedom in the world. Do not stay silent and not be an accomplice.
    11. Don’t take from some to give to others. Do not forget: wealth is not capped. This is about increasing the size of the cake; don’t divide it into smaller pieces.
    12. Promote free trade. Open markets. No country grows under protectionism or by imprisoning people. Don’t let that tempt you, because once you fall there’s no turning back. Liberalize the economy.
    13. Do not use social plans to get votes. This kind of populism will make it so citizens become dependent on the government, and it will only create a parasitic society demanding more, and it will erroneously interpret it as “rights.”

  1. Eliminate the anti-capitalist speech, and do not forget that, as Ludwig von Mises said, “everyone, no matter how fanatical they are when it comes to the fight against capitalism, implicitly pay tribute to it by passionately demanding its products.”
  2. Let educational institutions free from your influence. Make colleges and universities compete against each other.
  3. Don’t raise taxes, they will always fall hard on the poorest, and eventually will create an unproductive society. Let them save and reduce taxes as much as you can.
  4. Do not increase public spending.
  5. Don’t waste people’s money promoting measures that will impoverish them, like using it to get rich yourself.
  6. Stop printing paper currency, it will only generate inflation.
  7. Encourage private investment. Let society’s wealth increase. Entrepreneurs are those that generate productive employment. Do not put more obstacles on them.
  8. Stop bureaucratic barriers and endless paperwork. An individual’s time is worth a lot.
  9. Do not use the state as a source of employment for your family and friends.
  10. Do not make your team of economists fix market prices. Prices are signals, and when you interfere in that process you distort daily life. Leave it up to the powers of supply and demand. With that control comes shortage.
  11. Do not divide society if it can be avoided.
  12. Protect your citizens from drug trafficking, and never give in to terrorism.
  13. Do not let your citizens be unsafe. If someone steals or kills, it must not go unpunished. Do not make prison a transitional place of one or two nights for people who commit these crimes.
  14. Forget about state media.
  15. Remember that “state money” doesn’t exist. The state does not produce anything, there is only the money of individuals.
  16. Do not use nationalistic thinking as a tool for your benefit.
  17. Don’t manipulate elections. The same way you arrived, the same way you’ll have to go. The presidential seat doesn’t last forever, so forget your temptation to perpetuate power under the typical indefinite reelection of Latin American populism.
  18. Do not change the rules. This is important for relations with different parties, investors, citizens and other nations.
  19. Listen to think tanks, interact with them, consider different opinions, feed yourself with an intellectual thought and never impose a line of thought on public opinion.
  20. Don’t fulfill the role of “father and mother.” Treat people as adults and don’t take a statist paternalistic side.
  21. Prohibition is never the magical solution it seems to be.
  22. Remember that a country’s development is only possible if it is not anchored to a constant government almsgiving.
  23. Be careful with labor unions.
  24. Promote meritocracy, don’t start to hand out privileges.
  25. Forget about personalism: fulfill your term, and worry about leaving a legacy. Make your policies be continued by parties other than yours, and those correct public policies will lead the country on the right track in the long term.
  26. Remember the government must obey the laws and be constantly accountable. You came to take orders from your people, not to tell them what to do and turn it into your personal flock. Society must be made by individuals, not subjects.

If you can meet these principles, then you’ll have a successful administration, and even more, you will promote citizens to develop their lives to the fullest. Do not make the mistake of falling under 21st century populism. Global experience has shown this. Don’t make the mistakes of the past. Be different and put freedom into practice.

Antonella Marty Antonella Marty

Antonella is founder and project coordinator of the Youth Foundation for Liberty in Argentina. She has worked as an intern at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Cato Institute, The IFEF, and Cedice Libertad. Follow her @AntonellaMarty.