Custody of the common good

The businessman Ignacio Torras said it a few days ago in La Vanguardia's Contra: “Private initiative looks after the common interest just like the public administration.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 04:39
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Custody of the common good

The businessman Ignacio Torras said it a few days ago in La Vanguardia's Contra: “Private initiative looks after the common interest just like the public administration.” The other day Jordi Gual also hinted at it from a more reflective position in the presentation at the Cercle d'Economia of his book Trust is Priceless (Debate). An interesting text for the content and the person who writes it. The basic idea is that civil society itself would have to begin to take charge of some of the traditional functions that until now have been in the hands of the public sector, in the face of political confusion. If in the past the company's entry into this world was that of corporate responsibility, it is now suggested that this action may even include the beneficiary of social protection policies.

Starting from the fact that the market left in the hands of God fails, until now we understood that it was the public sector that, with its policies, had to correct the collusive tendency and 'going their own way' of businessmen. The aim would be to ensure social efficiency through regulatory means and equity and social peace through redistributive means. The entry of liberal schools of thought began to question this premise. The toughest ones (Chicago, for example) began, on the one hand, to question whether the failures of public action, with its inefficiencies and procrastinating or clientelistic practices, were not worse than the market failures that were said to be disappearing. to correct.

Other tendencies in favor of the social market economy have also proposed that the definition and management of certain social protection instruments be left in the hands of the companies themselves. They come to say: remove taxation from the company and it will be in charge of certain elements of health policy; give good tax deductions to patronage and it will be the private foundations, in which large capital is present, that will fight on behalf of the most needy; similarly in research and development and let's not talk about mercenary armies to defend a country.

This drift is dangerous, and, as I think Gual would also agree, it has to be discussed carefully. I say this, furthermore, from a well-known vision, mine, favorable to public-private collaboration in the provision of certain public services; against those who say that because money is public, both provision and production must always be public, and carried out by direct civil servant management. But one thing is the management of the service, and another is the implementation of the associated policies and benefits. Certainly, the discredit of politics today is widespread. But to me it seems like a very daring step to translate this finding as the definitive renunciation of the improvement of the public function at the service of social objectives, to enter the unknown world of companies and employers that can establish themselves as caretakers of the good. common.