Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On Calderón and the Business Class

From Leo Zuckermann last week:
Later, Calderón criticized the businessmen for their campaign against the fiscal proposal that "weakened the chances of a better package". Well what did the president expect? That the businessmen would behave like Mother Theresa in Calcutta instead of defending their interests?

If that's the case, there's a lot of naivety in Calderón, who shows that he is overcome by an ideological posture common among the panistas: that of the common good. Based on the writings of Saint Thomas and the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, it holds that individuals are on the Earth to build a better community. The parishioner acts for his parish. The contrary is anathema. You have to reject individual, utilitarian, selfish ideologies in which the parish serves the parishioner. Ivonne Melgar was correct in her comments on the president's declarations showing anger with the business class. The Excélsior presidential reporter states: " He has reasons for speaking this way. His father, Luis Felipe Calderón Vega, founder of the PAN, passed on to him a very harsh view of those who accumulate wealth without worrying about the common good".

This is, then, an ideological posture from the president. Respectable, but very questionable from the point of view of the political climate. Because confronting the business class in such a way, Calderón is losing one of his allies in a critical moment during which he is also confronting the left over the liquidation of LyFC. Beyond the ideal world of Saint Thomas and the "common good", from the point of view of a rational actor that minimizes costs and maximizes gains, it seems to me that the president wins nothing by fighting with the businessmen.
For Calderón, there is without a doubt something of a short-term price to be paid for hostilities, but big business in Mexico is a major barrier to modernization. Those who would pay no taxes and operate in protected industries forever must be confronted eventually; for a president who prides himself on being a modernizer and who recognizes the need for profound changes in Mexico's economic structure, either he confronts business and pays the price, or he exposes himself as a fraud.

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