Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chile 2015: What went wrong?

In the latest years, Chile has become a darker if not a falling star, and it seems that its path to be the first developed country among its peers, has melted away. There is not a single field, which Chile has not deteriorated its performance: competitiveness, corruption level, business social responsibility, political institutions, ethic rules on civil servants, public policies focus, Governance standard. Such a negative scenario , has a lot of explanations and it may be the usual blame each other game. While Government claims that inequality was a moral shame, and it was not possible to delay reforms, the opposition claims that those reforms were technically wrong designed such that spoiled economic growth, business expectations, and investment. However, to be fair neither side of the political spectrum can walk away from explanations to the current citizens. Oligopoly, in the Chilean economy did not fall from the sky. Besides, quite on the contrary to the usual view, the Chilean economic model foundation was far enough, to be labeled as a neoliberal one, because there was not neither really effective (sufficient) political, nor economic freedom, nor efficient institutions, to make possible economic democracy. The usual comparison, with others Latin American economies was somehow misleading. In fact, concerning freedom limitations, Neoliberals may say “We told you so”. Let take a brief review to support this approach. The cost of oligopoly (competition among a few), is very well known in basic economic. Besides, if it is coupled with a political oligopoly, both become complementary, and the risk of collusion between business and politics increase, and with it corruption is inevitable. Thus, the premise of self regulation did not apply, and efficient institutions become a “must”. But, as long as few politicians were the guardian of the “economic Model”, they delay any change either to open politics to a keener scrutiny and competition, or to improve the quality of regulation to take care of the welfare losses arising from oligopoly , or to make more efficient the financial support for entrepreneurs and small firms, and the protection to consumers. At the same time, some of them had financial support from private firms to constraint their ability to work on improving laws. Chilean economy has become a case study, of an Oligopoly failure. But it is not only about oligopoly by itself, it is also about weak ethics rules to design the boundaries of doing social responsible business. Some Chilean firms ( a few important ones), went far beyond what it was expected from them, which is basically to create wealth for the benefit of its owners, the stake holders, and the shareholders, but not for expropriate it from others either directly or indirectly. At the end of the year, it looks like many Chilean leaders lacked the character to change course for the benefit of the ones who trusted them. This has nothing to do with neoliberals proposals.-