One of the negative consequences of catastrophes, global crises and national emergencies is the growth of economic nationalism. This perversion of the natural preference and love of each one for their land and their people, has as its base and foundation the fear of the population in the face of this extraordinary and dangerous event and, consequently, the blind handing over of the baton of command to the government by of civil society.
After the 2008 crisis, we could see an increase in the distrust of our Western society towards the markets, especially the financial and banking markets, despite those who, like Daniel Lacalledared to write in his defense, with titles like We the marketswhich did so much good.
However, beyond the economists and journalists who have tried to point out the complicity of the rulers, the wrongdoing of those responsible for monetary policy, the mistaken role of saviors that the central bankers self-appointed, it must be recognized that the battle for the story, we lost it.
The rich, the investors, the freedom of the market, the desire for profit, speculation as the basis of market logic, are ideas reviled, accused and condemned by a large part of the population, worldwide. The appearance on the international agenda of climate change has finished presenting economic progress as the cause of the destruction of life on earth.
The rich, the investors, the freedom of the market, the desire for profit, speculation as the basis of the logic of the market, are reviled ideas
The pandemic and the subsequent crisis are generating a deepening of this drift in public opinion. As a preliminary step, the tensions between the United States and the Chinese giant, the strange position of Europe in this situation, began to exacerbate the attitudes of a less moderate right that claimed economic sovereignty. Look for “ours”. But what we are witnessing on social media in 2021 is much worse.
Supporters of the once more liberal economic party, according to what they themselves boasted on networks, today recriminate a person like Juan Ramon Rallo, who, apparently, has become a dangerous “stateless person” in their eyes. I imagine that I must look like the Pasionaria to them. “The only way to defend the workers from your dirty hands and those of the exploiting businessmen is through state control. You liberals would sell your father for a day’s wages.”
Those words do not come from a podemita profile, but from a person clearly sympathetic to Vox, who was responding to a criticism by Juan Ramón Rallo of the union associated with the party of abascal, Solidarity. Not the worst thing Rallo has been told, of course. It has no more significance, in that sense.
I am more concerned about the reflection of the businessman and friend, Miguel Garcia Tormo: “Falangism has returned, and is still the same as socialism.” A very true phrase that is corroborated by writings of recognized Falangists such as Jose Garrido San Romanpresident of the national socialist union UNT and deputy secretary general of the Spanish Falange and the JONS.
In this sense, Garrido establishes as current economic principles of his movement, among others, the nationalization of public services, the prohibition of speculation and usury, the nationalization of banking, the intervention of the market based on indicative planning ( in the purest Francoist style), or trade protectionism.
The second part of Miguel García Tormo’s comment is even more revealing. Faced with an insidious tweet stating “You like Chinese liberalism better”, Miguel replied: “Chinese socialism is tremendously nationalist, the Falangists would probably love it”. Effectively. What comes from China is tariff manipulation to maintain the leading role in the international economic balance, economic control for the good of the nation, and above all, that fear of the other, that need to defend oneself, to protect oneself economically.
We return to the mercantilism of the 17th century, to the dictatorship’s distrustful gaze abroad, to the control of prices, profits, investment, because economic freedom implies opening up, exposing oneself, competing, improving, seeking excellence. A horror. Much better to protect yourself, even if it is at the expense of the consumer, who is the taxpayer, those of us who finance messianic ideas.
Nor is it that government policies help: energy prices, Covid border control, the manipulation of information that confuses and frightens the population, the singling out of those who do not think the same, the deconstruction of the judicial system.
They say that tyrants prefer ignorant peoples. There is something better: ignorant and afraid citizens. The extraordinarily politicized educational system, which follows a spurious and empty agenda, penalizes the new generations and weighs down the economy, but ensures indoctrinated voters. The degradation of the institutions derived from these situations captures our attention that does not look at what is happening in the real economy.
While we academics ask ourselves if we are facing a conjunctural increase in prices, which will pass in less than a year, or a more serious inflationary process, while we continue to wait for the government to allocate European funds “well”, businessmen are drowning before the unstoppable increase in the electricity tariff, the threat of strangulation of the value chain for different reasons (the complicated relationship with China, the shortage of containers, the last fringes of the imbalance caused by Covid).
And, more specifically, Spanish businessmen are considering whether Spanish demand is going to be able to sustain the supply crisis that is definitely hitting the world economy.
The tax increase in our countryexceptional in our environment, the refusal to throw away nuclear energy, despite the fact that it is the cheapest and cleanest solution, and the irresponsible and petty partisan struggle both in the government and in the opposition, leaves those of us who pay the party completely powerless and exposed.
How to combat this dangerous nationalist drift? Perhaps it is necessary to turn to neighboring countries that, like Ireland, for example, have managed to overcome severe crises by adapting the principles of economic freedom to their specific case.
Bad times to bet on competition, which is, paradoxically, the sustainable lifeline of our economy in the long term.