Armando Mendez writes in El Dia:
The perception of the people about the role of the State
The so-called “neoliberal” period in Bolivia did not change the way of thinking of the Bolivian people. Since the thirties of the last century, intensified under the denominative from the ‘national revolution’ in the 1950s, led to its zenith in the first Government of Hugo Banzer in the 1970s, in Bolivia the people expects everything from the State. People think that it is good that there are State-owned enterprises. But not only this, but it also hold that the State is responsible for creating jobs for the people. This is the conclusion of the interesting “second survey of the metropolitan area of Cochabamba, citizenship and Regional Forum”, of December of the year 2013.
To the question: how are Bolivians in agreement regarding that the State is the owner of the large industries? one can say that most people are in agreement. A 52.3 per cent, some more enthusiastically than others, are in support; against an smaller percentage (47.8%), also with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
This ideological statist vision in Bolivia is confirmed much more when this survey asked if the State should be responsible for, rather than the private company for jobs. An overwhelming 89 percent, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, declares conformity, against a minority, 11 percent that are not.
The privatisation of public enterprises that were made in the “neo-liberal” period, which surprisingly quickly reverted the Government of President Evo Morales, not only means that the famous “capitalization” of the public corporations, during the Government of Sanchez de Lozada, was very badly done, but that that decision was not the result of a national decision, a policy of the Bolivian people evolution, but was the result of the change in credit policy in the financial international agencies, such as the World Bank and the IDB, who decided to not give more credit to public enterprises in Latin America. In this situation, there was another option for public companies to survive. They are privatized or closed. The Government of those times that came out of the trauma that had meant the hyperinflation of the 1980s, so the Central Bank was not able to be the financial entity of public enterprises. In this context, had no other choice than its privatization.
The Government of President Morales has returned to the view state of the economy and with the support of the people. The Banco Central de Bolivia, which has never of abundant resources, has already granted credit to public enterprises by more than $ 1.5 billion.
* Member of the Bolivian Academy of Economic Sciences
People who think and expect the State to solve their problems and even give them jobs… are just wrong! We are supposed to generate jobs, wealth and then with our taxes expect that public services be provided to those who weren’t as fortunate as ourselves… crystal clear! not dependency, not lack of self-esteem! So we need to study, prepare ourselves, be more competitive and abandon those ridiculous ideologies that did not work anywhere else in this world!