Injured Parties

Luis Rubio

When Don Quixote discovers windmills, he says to his squire “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we will begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from the face of the earth is a service God will bless. What giants?” asked Sancho Panza. “Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms well nigh two leagues in length.” Take care, sir” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.” He then proceeded head on, screaming: “Fly not, ye cowards and vile creatures! For it is only one knight that assaults you.”

The “fourth transformation” advances in the same manner, rapidly and without surcease, leaving injured parties everywhere. As with Don Quixote, the advance is neither smooth nor free from conflict, though there is no doubt that creating conflicts to confront comprises part of the plan. But inasmuch as the injured partied mount up, the sources of anger, economic lag and eventual opposition also grow.

The list of the injured is mushrooming and impacting: with the cancellation of daycare, children who are being deprived of a place to stay during the day safely and creatively while their mothers work, as are their mothers who are unable to work outside the home, affecting the family’s sustenance. Avocado exporters who watch their product going to waste due to the slowness with which the U.S. Customs operates in this regard, without the Mexican Government doing anything. The residents of the border regions who see tens of thousands of Central American migrants arrive without there being the infrastructure for lodging them nor the opportunities for hiring them. Those fired by the government who, without rhyme nor reason, were thrown out on the street without compensation nor alternative opportunities. Those who have seen their salaries decimated, losing their acquired rights by a decision hastily announced in one of the President’s daily morning press conferences. Women who undergo intra-familial violence and who no longer have safe havens to go to. Newborns who have no opportunity to ensure them a successful life -newborns with  correctable birth defects- thanks to the termination of neonatal screening. The organizations of the civil society that, complying with legitimate functions, are attacked and under-cut. The citizenry that stops being able to count on means of protection with the disappearance of key counterweights for the functioning of the economy –in matters of energy, hydrocarbons, competition, education- and now with the potential loss of a Supreme Court independent of the executive branch. The concessionaires in matters of energy that, fulfilling their commitments, find themselves under threat. The children who will not have the opportunity of a better education, all to serve abusive unions whose interests have nothing to do with education itself and even less so in the digital era. The decline of consumption, which affects the poorest. The attempt against economic growth by the elimination of sources of certainty and investment. The former top-level government functionaries -in their majority honest and upright, responsible professionals- damaged in their person and their reputation, who suffer consequences that the President cannot even begin to understand.

The injured parties multiply and are many more than the President himself imagines, many of them –in fact, the overwhelming majority- part of his natural political base. Those who suffer most because of the multiplication of attacks are precisely those who urgently require an increased economic growth rate and the benefits accruing from this in the form of incomes and jobs. The president is absolutely committed to achieving a better economic growth rate but, as an old Irish joke goes, you can’t get there from here.

There is no way to get there attacking, undermining, destroying and setting land mines in place at each step. As a political project, attack is a way to advance, but not so as an economic project in this era of the worlds’ history. Growth is built on investment and the latter depends on the investor’s willingness to assume the risk that his project will be successful, that there is a market for her products, that new barriers are not erected against the growth of his enterprise, that the borders will not be an obstacle to the exports of her goods or to the importation of his inputs, that the bureaucracy will not invent impediments to his progress and that the workers, employees and proprietors of the entity will not be unjustly besieged and reviled. It is not by chance that literally all of the world’s governments dedicate themselves to attracting new investments and companies, with carefully articulated strategies and resources. The exceptions, such as North Korea and Venezuela at present, say it all.

The lists of injured parties and the values and counterweights that erode or are eliminated day upon day endeavor against the economy and the country in general. We won’t get there from here.