Instituto Juan de Mariana, – At this stage in the history of humanity, successive governments repeat themselves in the goal of inclusion. It is about ensuring that everyone, the rich and the poor, have equal access to education, health, pensions and other so-called public services.
We think differently. The objective of public policy should not be for everyone to have equal access to all public services, but for each person to be able to provide themselves and their loved ones with the services they want.
By placing the discussion on this final objective, some desire dependency, which in turn allows them to buy votes, and thereby win the elections and perpetuate themselves in power. Our goal, however, is to end this dependence, offering everyone the possibility of accessing the services that for each one – within the framework of their own subjectivity – are important.
Thus, a government opening new hospitals and public schools, or expanding subsidies and aid programs should not be cheerfully celebrated, as it takes us away from the ultimate goal. If in emergency situations, such policies are implemented, then they should have an expiration date, since the maintenance of these programs will create dependency and individual irresponsibility.
The question then should be how to create the conditions so that people, within a framework of freedom, can undertake projects that allow them to create value, jobs and achieve the resources they need to fulfill each of their dreams. These conditions have been studied centuries ago by many authors who have focused on institutions, in the institutional framework: fiscal, monetary and exchange rate balance, low taxes, economic openness, low levels of debt, low corruption, stable rules of the game. , a constitution to limit the power of the governments of the day, among many other aspects that are worked in depth in various columns that are published here.
Under this framework of rules, entrepreneurs will create projects, and these projects will be associated with multiple jobs, which will create value and a better quality of life for everyone. Under this context, more and more people will be able to work by really inserting themselves into society as people who contribute to creating value, without the need to resort to the plans and subsidies that benefactor governments are always willing to offer, in exchange for enslaving them in poverty. and homelessness.
We need a new framework to define which public policies contribute to development and progress. From the Academy, economic science can offer an appropriate framework to show when we are moving away from the ultimate end, and when we are approaching it. Adam Smith, David Hume and Adam Ferguson among the Scottish classics, Ludwig von MIses and Friedrich Hayek in the Austrian School, James M. Buchanan, Gordon Tullock and Jeffrey Brennan in the School of Public Choice, Douglass North in the New Institutional Economics, Ronald Coase in Law and Economics, Vernon Smith with his Experimental Economics, Elinor Ostrom with the Bloomington School, or Angus Deaton with his studies on poverty and inequality. I think that they enrich – together with so many other authors that we do not mention here – what we today call the Mainline Economics: a tradition of ideas that from different fields and fields of study offer answers to the usual problems, with a different framework of rules from the one that offers mainstream economics. In short, it is about relying more on spontaneous orders, and less on the institutional design of a few great minds with exaggerated power.
Originally published on the Juan de Mariana Institute Portal, February 4, 2021.