Austin Powers and dumb State

In Austin Powers, Dr. Evil (Mike Myers), newly descriogenizado a dream 30 years, offers its followers to steal nuclear weapons and blackmail the world asking for a million dollars!, until his lieutenant, Number 2, he says that means inflation, that’s less of what they do daily in their front companies. In February 2014, the Secretary of Commerce, Augusto Costa, announced fines on companies that failed to meet price agreements for a million pesos!, less than what some of these companies billed in one day. The same could be said of fines to the telephone companies, transport and electricity: the rhetorical gesture of a helpless state, unable to guarantee the quality of regulated services.

All essential fronts of public policy, the state is perhaps the least ganchero. The debate usually issues of size, or the sudden effectuation of political cadres months before the elections, a classic public sector is limited.

The size, in fact, is relative: no big government or small, according to their functions. The State of Scandinavian or Canadian welfare, providing transportation and security, public health and education of quality for all, is great in terms of national product, but small in terms of product public sector. On the other hand, continuing the trend of technological unemployment, the state can only grow, whether by increasing public employment (teachers, doctors, police), the price of public services (in relation to the declining price of manufactures) or, in the worst case, the public unemployment benefit.

And while it is true that most of those appointments resort to exceptional (ie, they are assigned to people who do not satisfy the conditions for the post contests by name) and could lead transiently to Lebanonisation device state, state the problem more precisely, the lack of capacity estatal- is deeper and persistent than suggested these alarms. The problem goes further by the accumulation of geological layers of organizational and casualization of public employment and the delay in competitions, thinning functions and discourage the employee: today the Argentine government policies abound cicadas willing to jump to the next station in six months; but missing civil servants to understand and push the patient work of ant development.

The problem also involves the dismantling of regulation and control agencies, and by the same state as the guiding moral: what good is creating new rules and institutions if those responsible for carrying them out are indifferent or complicit? How are we going to implement a plan of infrastructure or education reform, stimulate investment and innovation, without officials who write contracts, manage resources, monitor performance, regulate markets, facilitate the creation of social value? Without qualified staff, functions, and well-defined incentive compensation, proud to belong to a public elite, a corrupt economic and operational sense state we have. Big and dumb, dull and incapable.

It is unthinkable, and even counterproductive, move human resources in the manner of rationalizations noventistas. The next government should work, order and improve what is there. But it is easier to solve the stocks and exchange rate appreciation to reform the state to be an engine for development.

The state is the muscle of public policy; without state power, any strategy will stay in wishful thinking.

By Eduardo Levy Yeyati

Source: La Nación