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Power controls and limits is key to clarify cases of corruption in our countries

August 21, 2018 2:37 pm A+ / A-

EL LIBERO – The academic highlights the performance of justice in Brazil and the Argentine press in the Lava Jato processes and the “notebooks of corruption”. Invited to Chile by the “Fundación para el Progreso“, the defender of liberalism also comments on how the Bolivarian option should be retreating in the region.

Phrases like “To question even the monopoly of the State and its existence”, are the ones that place Martin Krause as one of the references of liberalism in the region. This week he was in Chile to participate in the seminar “Leadership for progress in the 21st century”, organized by the Fundación para el Progreso, held in Santa Cruz, VI Region.

In conversation with “El Líbero”, the Argentine economist, addresses corruption cases uncovered a few days ago in his country. And it also deepens aspects of liberalism that it considers should be taken into account, such as non-dependence on the State. “There are many problems solved by society itself. Putting the State in is like putting an elephant in the bazaar, generating more problems than you want to solve, “

 In Argentina, the “Cuadernos de las Coimas” case that affects the former President Cristina Fernández, and part of her environment, was uncovered. In addition, her vice president is imprisoned for another accusation. In Brazil, Lula Da Silva behind bars by Lava Jato. Does that see it as something positive in the sense that institutions work? Or negative apparently it is the destiny of the countries of the region?

Clearly, it’s a good thing. What all these cases are showing, not only that of Argentina, is that there are some elements that have worked, that we could call “institutional quality”. It is basically the control of power, which is in the essence of liberal ideas. Control the power and limits to it. This is key to clarifying the cases of corruption in our countries.

 What do you mean by “institutional quality”?

Institutional quality is seen through different mechanisms, many of which we have known for some time as the division of powers, the independence of justice, the press, etc. And, in a way, everything that is happening has to do with any of these elements. For example, in the case of Brazil, the Lava Jato is the result of reforms in the Brazilian judicial system that gave the Judiciary a little more independence and as a result, you had a judge who said “I will continue investigating this” and today you have a former president imprisoned. And in Argentina, there was no “judge Moro” but journalists who did a spectacular and remarkable job. Years ago with Lanata, then other investigations and now this, the notebooks that are the result of a long task of a journalist who gathered material, went to court, gave them time to confirm the data. And when the justice is going to take the ones implicated as prisoners, then he publishes his findings.

What all these cases are showing, not only that of Argentina, is that there are some elements that have worked, that we could call “institutional quality”. It is basically the control of power, which is in the essence of liberal ideas. “

 Would these be the factors to stop these cases?

There is another element that is seen in these Latin American scandals, which is the “Competition between jurisdictions” that is a consequence of this globalized world. Many international businesses can choose which is the headquarters where they make their contracts. So, in commerce and personal finance, justice is also in competition.   Investors go where there are better justice services, and something that looked monopolistic like the justice of each country enters a competition. And now cases are beginning to emerge that have a high impact, but that actually arose from research in other countries. For example, the President of Peru or the Vice President of Ecuador falls, not because of something that the justice of those countries has done, but because of what happened in Brazil. Or some guys fall in Argentina because FIFA Gate was uncovered in the United States and Switzerland. And more they fall in countries where you would not have expected that investigation to be made. Now in Argentina, we are going to see what the Lava Jato brings us because in these days the agreements between the Brazilian and Argentine justice have been completed to share information.

 Why is Cristina Fernández still supporting the electorate?

In the case of Argentina, there is a 25% that supports Cristina Kirchner. These people are not something that matters these cases of corruption. Normally they are hard-line Kirchner militants or poor people who live off receiving some type of public program.   See the notebooks or see the bags with money does not produce anything, do not change their mind. The rest of the population sees this with repulsion and is waiting for something to be done once and for all. The typical opinion that you find in Argentina is “to see if they are ever imprisoned”. There are several already prisoners of the previous government, ministers, vice president. The shots get higher and higher and if this continues, they will arrive. It will be historic when Cristina leaves prisoner.

This globalized world now gives an opportunity to countries like ours, which suddenly do not have good justice, to achieve something with the justice of other countries. “

“Policies should not be imposed on everyone equally because we are different.”

 You talked about the strength of institutions. In Chile every so often we talk about the modernization of the State. How do you think we can advance in that? Or should we first rethink the role of the State?

The role of the State as such must be discussed. After you define if you need to do something, well there it is better to do it more efficiently. That is the vision that the government of Macri had at the beginning. “We have come to make this State more efficient and more modern”. Sorry, but what happens is that here there are many things that the State should not be doing. Why would you make something more efficient that should not be done? I, personally, am willing to go to the end.

 What does it mean until the end?

To question even the monopoly itself and the existence of the State. I do not think it’s something I’ll see in my life, but I’m not afraid of the idea.

Why should there be a national health policy? It can be different by regions, by cities, and let’s see which one works. 

 When you say that the State should not exist, what happens, for example, when it fulfills a function of help to those who do not have certain benefits?

The first attitude that I would advise people to have, is not to make the immediate jump that, because there is a problem, the State must solve it. Not so, there are many problems solved by society itself, ourselves. Putting the State in is like putting the elephant in the bazaar, generating more problems than you want to solve. I would use public policies in the end, others may be cooperative, voluntary, community solutions. First, to see how a problem can be solved and just, in the end, to discuss some type of policy if there is no satisfactory solution and deepens:

“While I do not like to impose solutions maybe we should move forward in a decentralization way. That there are many possible experiments and that we see what works. For example, Why should there be a national health policy? It can be different by regions, by cities, and let’s see what works. Or in Education, one will want public schools, another all private. In others if you want them to teach Marx only. Okay, get together there and express yourself among yourselves, and the others will want something else. And so it will be seen which one fits more. But do not impose policies on everyone equally because we are different.

“The Bolivarian option, as an alternative, is finished. The drawer needs to be closed. “

 If on the one hand, it is positive what is happening with the clarification of cases of corruption, on the other, there are governments in Latin America where rights, freedoms are not respected, like what is happening in Venezuela, Nicaragua… At what stage do you think What is the region?

There are waves in Latin America in which certain directions coincide. In the 80 policies of high inflation, the policies of privatization coincided in the 1990s and after those waves, two roads were opened in Latin America. One was the path of the Pacific, with Chile, Peru, Colombia (and also Uruguay although it is not in the Pacific) and, on the other hand, the Bolivarians. And this opportunity to compare results is interesting. It would seem to be clear that the Bolivarian side is in retreat. It is in retreat in Argentina, in Ecuador, we are going to see what happens in Nicaragua, it should retreat if there are no dictatorial brakes. It should clearly in Venezuela.

Interview with Martín Krause Academic Freedom and Progres Council

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