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Si no eres rico….

“Si no eres rico, por favor, no envidies al rico. Si deseas ser rico, trata de serlo mediante tu esfuerzo personal.  Y si no lo deseas, trata de vivir en paz, contigo mismo, y con tu projimo.”

La creencia de que la buena fortuna de otros es tambien la de uno, no es algo que el ser humano entiende muchas veces. Sin embargo, es una nocion muy importante. Es la anti envidia. Es la clave para la prosperidad de una sociedad.

La única manera, para una persona o país pobre, de salir de la pobreza,  es el trabajo arduo, la creatividad, la innovación, el riesgo, la fe en el futuro.  En el ámbito individual, para obtener una movilidad ascendente, el individuo debe trabajar mas arduamente que la clase por encima de su status.  En el ámbito de países, un país tiene que trabajar mas, educar mas a sus ciudadanos, promover el desarrollo de una economía privada, y garantizar un estado de derecho y libertad.

No solo la riqueza no trae la pobreza general de un pais, sino que una causa importante de que un pais no prospere economicamente es que exista entre el pueblo de ese pais el concepto de que la riqueza trae la pobreza. A este concepto erroneo se le añade el odio al rico, el deseo de expropiar, de nacionalizar, el concepto de que la propiedad es producto del robo.

El concepto de que la riqueza crea pobreza es ampliamente aceptado por muchos pueblos. El odio o envidia al rico. Las expropiaciones, o la  oposición a las privatizaciones, el pensamiento de que toda propiedad adquirida fue robada. Sin  embargo, donde quiera que estos conceptos e ideas predominan, la  pobreza se extiende y se prolonga. No, la riqueza no trae pobreza. Lo que causa la pobreza es el concepto de que la riqueza es la que la causa.

Tenemos que entender que nada es gratis. Todo gobierno, cuando provee servicios como educacion y salubridad, obtiene los fondos para los mismos de impuestos monetarios recaudados del pueblo, o de la venta de productos y servicios producidos por el pueblo. Se debe aprender tambien que el gobierno no produce riquezas. El gobierno debe limitar sus funciones a estimular el crecimiento de la industria privada, que es  la creadora de las riquezas de un pais.

La riqueza de un país, a su vez, consiste en los bienes que prometan un flujo futuro de ingreso. Los ingresos producidos por una industria-petroleo, recursos naturales, turismo, manufactura, mineria,  serviciosetc.- no representa riqueza si no se convierte en capital remunerativo de industrias, escuelas, carreteras,  puertos, acueductos, viviendas, en fin, una infraestructura completa que provea un desarrollo económico estable.

Igualdad de oportunidades? Si, es otra ley dorada de una democracia y de una libre empresa. Igualdad de resultados? No. Cada persona, dada la condición de igualdad de oportunidades, logra lo que su esfuerzo, dedicación, intelecto, interés, estudio, lo haga posible.

Si, la riqueza crea mas riqueza. Tanto en el ámbito individual como nacional, asi como en el  material y en el espiritual.

Dr. Manuel Cereijo is an electrical and computer engineering professor who holds patents in manufacturing, telecommunications and control systems. He lectures at the University of Miami.

¡Nos fríen a impuestos!

Este gráfico muestra cómo ha subido la presión fiscal en Estados Unidos. Los impuestos altos ahogan el crecimiento económico y la iniciativa empresarial. La economía está paralizada con tanto impuesto y regulación. A todas las investigaciones hechas por la Fundación Heritage y otras instituciones, ahora también se une la voz del American Legislative Exchange Council que advierte claramente que impuestos más altos, más gasto público y más deuda solo empeoraran la crisis financiera.

En estos momentos, los líderes de la nación andan de reunión en reunión para hablar sobre justamente sobre eso: Impuestos, gasto público y el límite de la deuda. Cada uno da una versión distinta de los hechos y hasta ahora no hay ningún acuerdo.

Mucha gente exige que haya un acuerdo amigable ya y se quejan de que los bandos demócrata y republicano son como niños chiquitos peleando por un juguete. Pero hay algo que a veces pasa desapercibido entre tantos dimes y diretes: La ideología juega un rol muy importante porque es un factor determinante a la hora de escoger la acción política a seguir y como dice el dicho: “Todo depende del cristal con que se mire”. La ideología es ese cristal a través del que los políticos buscan soluciones a los problemas y por eso hay recetas diferentes para el mismo problema. Y también por eso las elecciones son importantes y tienen consecuencias: Ud. está escogiendo qué acción política se debe seguir.

En líneas generales, el bando demócrata cree fervientemente en más impuestos, más gasto público y más regulación. El bando republicano cree en todo lo contrario. ¿Cómo pueden ponerse de acuerdo dos bandos tan antagónicos? Aunque el espectáculo de políticos acusándose mutuamente no sea tan edificante, en el fondo eso es bueno porque es parte del proceso democrático. A fin de cuentas, recuerde que la democracia se inventó para compartir el poder de forma civilizada, sin tener que matarse por él.

Con $14 billones de deuda y estamos discutiendo si nos endeudamos más o no y si lo pagamos con más impuestos o no. El presidente Obama y su partido dicen que sí. Los republicanos dicen que no. La confrontación está servida. Esta semana seguramente nos enteraremos de quién gana esta “lucha épica”, si acabaremos más o menos endeudados y si nos freirán a impuestos un poco más o no.

Miryam Lindberg is a political analyst, foreign language expert, and writer. She specializes in terrorism, security issues, and transatlantic relations. She currently serves as a policy and foreign language consultant to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an American policy institute focusing on terrorism and Islamism. She is also a terrorism analyst and longtime contributor to the prestigious Strategic Studies Group, one of the preeminent security and defense think tanks in Spain. Ms. Lindberg is a regular contributor to TheAmericano.com, and her columns are among the most widely read features of our publication.

FTA is the Way

Trade has been throughout history the cornerstone of relations among states. It has also been a tool to boost economic growth, generate employment, mobilize investment and stimulate social transformation. Over the centuries the world has experienced periods of trade expansion and periods of strong protectionism claiming the need to stimulate local industries, protect employment or simply for domestic political circumstances.

Latin America suffered from 1970 to 1990 a period of extreme protectionism derived from the import substitution policies. Under this theory based on developing strategic sectors, many problems took place. Uncompetitive industries became highly protected, exporters relied on Government subsidies, lack of competition, state capture by economic interests and lack of incentives for industrial transformation, were the common denominator.

During the 90s trade liberalization became a vital element of Policy Reform across the region. Some countries took the wrong approach of unilaterally opening their markets without a coherent policy to expand exports based on stable long-term rules. This approach harmed local industries and more importantly the agricultural sector when facing subsidized competitors. Acknowledging the consequences of unilateral opening, intra-regional trade agreements began to emerge simultaneously with the creation of the WTO in 1995.

During the decade between 2000 and 2010 LAC began to search for more long-term stable trade relations, and in 2003 the FTAA was launched in Miami. Unfortunately the agreement did not evolve due to domestic interest from strong political players in the region. At the same time a Global Agreement under the WTO was not moving at the desired pace.

Considering that the FTAA had derailed and that a Global Trade Agreement lost momentum, a round of bilateral trade agreements became the only feasible route to develop access to markets. Countries like Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, the Central American and Caribbean Countries began to engage in bilateral, intra-regional and extra-regional trade agreements.

Fatherly control on grandfathers’ funds

When people give up money in order to save for the upcoming, the least they expect to have in the future is the same amount of capital or more, not less. The Bismarckian pension system, diffused all over the world, nowadays works exactly the opposite. Beneficiaries are not getting what they expect making this collective capitalization scheme bear with all kinds of difficulties.

It faces a political problem given that the government has the monopoly of the Social Security and it occasionally uses the workers’ money for political purposes. The monthly contributions workers make by law go to a common fund that governments are meant to merely “administrate”, but that sometimes they employ for other purposes leaving no funds for the future.

In Ecuador, for example, the government has always counted on this fund to invest in public bonds or whatever other investment the incumbent administration chooses. Certainly, employees feel entitled to all the benefits that politicians have promised them, but sometimes they don’t get them. For instance, in order to extend the submission of benefits to workers, Spain is one of many countries to recently strategically plan for baby boomers by delaying pension collection. This is an example of measures governments take when they don’t have the payback.[1] Currently, the U.S. is short $1.26 trillion in paying for public employee pensions and other retirement benefits.[2]

Also, the system deals with a demographical trouble as the world’s trend is to have aging societies: while born rates are decreasing, medicine and technology is extending life expectancy.[3] This results in less active workers contributing to the financing of an increasing demand on elderly pensions.

Saving the American Dream

What does the American Dream mean to you? Is it fame and fortune? Many Americans see it this way. But perhaps the American Dream is simply the essentials — a steady job that covers the basic expenses while providing the best life possible for your children.

As our country continues to weather one of the worst economic recessions in our history, it is perfectly appropriate to contemplate our future and ask ourselves if we are headed in the right direction. Moreover, it is worth studying whether the policies from Washington, D.C. are actually helping or hurting our chances for a better tomorrow — and our chances to live out our American Dream.

For the majority of us, the promise of a job and economic security was the biggest reason we left everything and everyone behind. For some of us, skyrocketing unemployment rates, inflation and corruption are just some of the horrid conditions we experienced first-hand in Latin America. And we count our blessings to live in a country with a high quality of life founded on liberty, freedom and democratic principles that continue to be celebrated and protected.

We Hispanics are an optimistic lot. Perhaps that’s why a recent poll conducted by Allstate National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll concluded that despite faring worse than non-Hispanics during this economic recession, we continue to remain optimistic about our future.

Unfortunately, there is a real cause for concern in both the short-term and long term for all Americans, including Hispanics. Beyond the immediate need to reduce the unemployment rate, unrestrained federal spending is poised to threaten our livelihood even more unless Washington lawmakers act, and fast. The sobering reality is that the federal government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends.

Libertad Política vs. Libertad Económica

¿Es la democracia lo que necesitan los países subdesarrollados para salir de la pobreza? Gary Becker,  Premio Nobel de Economía (1992), realizó un análisis reciente en el que explica cómo en países subdesarrollados la democracia debería servir para promover la libertad económica. Lamentablemente, pocos son los países pobres que gozan de esta libertad, aunque vivan en democracia.

Becker empieza aclarando que al referirse al término democracia, no lo hace como el sistema de gobierno ideal sino como una comparación frente a formas de gobierno que no gozan de libertades y carecen de instituciones.[1]

Según Becker, por ejemplo, existe una baja correlación entre las tasas de crecimiento del PIB  y las democracias. Es decir, no necesariamente los países democráticos son países que crecen económicamente. En el caso de India, con una democracia desde su independencia, no fue hasta que salió del socialismo (cuarenta años más tarde) para abrir camino a un gobierno promotor de políticas de libre mercado, que empezó su rápido crecimiento. Por otro lado, algunos absolutistas han logrado crecimientos extraordinarios, pero no son la regla sino la excepción, dado que por cada Pinochet que produzca un rápido crecimiento económico hay siempre un Stalin con funestas políticas planificadoras que llevan el país a la quiebra.[2]

Con respecto a la creación de la riqueza Becker menciona países como Taiwán y Corea del Sur en los cuales hubo un rápido crecimiento bajo las dictaduras y que al convertirse en democracias se volvieron países aún más ricos. Para exponer la correlación entre riqueza y democracia cita al sociólogo Seymour M. Lipset quien explica que no es que los países democráticos sean más propensos a crear riqueza sino al revés. Según Lipset, los países ricos son aquéllos que buscan democracias pues quienes viven en países desarrollados, una vez que gozan de libertad económica, van a demandar como es lógico, libertad política también.[3] Es decir, para Lipset, la riqueza crea las condiciones para la democracia.