CRONISTA – In August of 2013 I published in this same space a note entitled “The greatness of a society is determined by the way in which the needy are treated”. It was based on the fact that many beneficiaries of the social plans had not finished their primary education and most had not completed their secondary education. That is why I was asking myself, why not demand from all beneficiaries of a social plan that they resume their education as a requirement to collect the allowance? Imagine if something like that had been implemented then. How many fewer citizens today would depend on a social plan?
Today, almost five years later, the Minister of Social Development, Carolina Stanley, said that more than 60% of people who receive social plans have not finish high school, so her minestry works on an initiative for all beneficiaries to complete their studies, establishing education as a mandatory requirement to collect the allowance.
The initiative can not be more auspicious, it represents a formidable step against the assistance that condemns many compatriots to go through life without any expectation.
As I stressed in that distant column, in the words of Benedict XVI, in his Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, being without work for a long time, or prolonged dependence on public or private assistance, undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and their family and social relationships, with serious psychological and spiritual damage.
How to avoid it? John Paul II provides the answer in a speech delivered in Santiago, Chile, before the delegates of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, in 1987: “Stable and fairly paid work has, more than any other subsidy, the intrinsic possibility to reverse that circular process that you’ve called repetition of poverty and marginality. This possibility is realized, however, only if the worker reaches a certain minimum degree of education, culture and job training, and has the opportunity to also give it to their children. And it is here, you know well, where we are touching the nerve center of the whole problem: education, master key of the future, path of integration of the marginalized, soul of social dynamism, right and essential duty of the human person”. The message is compelling, education is the answer.
Today, the government of Mauricio Macri is taking a significant step in the right direction. Returning once again to that 2013 note, in the words of Pope Francis, “the measure of the greatness of a society is determined by the way it treats those who are most in need.” The initiative announced by Carolina Stanley can become a milestone in the transformation process that Argentina requires. To become effective in practice would be in a whole consistent with that sentence of Pope Francis.
Written by Edgardo Zablotsky
Consejero Académico de Libertad y Progreso, es Ph.D. en Economía en la Universidad de Chicago
Published by El Cronista