Coming out of the crisis, democratic traps and neglected rural poverty

In this issue we address three topics of major importance. Struggles among powerful interests are influencing the exits from the crisis and the challenges our countries will have to face. There was a time –when the crisis burst and significant public intervention was required- where the possibility to adjust the course and improve our way of functioning was really great. However, panic, the weigh of the interests that were being affected and the ideological inertia of the helmsmen privileged bailout over transformation. It was said that later, always later, there would be time to improve the systemic functioning. What some did not foresee and others calculated perfectly well was that those who led us to the crisis, once they were a little away from the abyss, would recover their capacity to decisively influence the course to follow. Today the effects are plain to see: an economy that promises to recover but leaves behind a heap of new unemployed and greater social inequity. In this context it will not be easy to revert the situation and find a more sustainable development path, even though we surely need to try it.

No democracy is perfect and there are democratic traps in all of them (as the one we have pointed out in the previous paragraph) that jeopardize its fundamental tenets. While some disown democracy out of frustration or political reckoning, many others toil away to overcome its wounding problems by deepening it and addressing the resolution of democratic traps as best as possible. Improving democracy is a long-standing process, always incomplete, always perfectible, to which each generation adds the changes it is capable of delivering.

Rural poverty was a very high priority in the development agenda at the beginning of last century. Yet once the most acute expressions were overcome in the affluent countries, their main centres of strategic thinking lost interest in it. By contrast, in our countries of the Southern Hemisphere rural poverty prevails seriously and it is an ethical and economic imperative to address it: there nests a tremendous wasted human and productive potential.

Until next month. Cordial greetings,

The Editors

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