lunes, 7 de diciembre de 2009


By Felipe Argote

The nobility of the people is legendary. After being deceived they always give politicians another chance.

Although in the past four years from 2004 to 2008 the economy grew at an average of more than seven digits, the Panamanian population is not enjoying this bonanza due to an increase in the prices of staple products known as the food basket of more than 35%.

To repair his woes the noble people entrusted their hopes to the owner of the largest supermarket chain in the country. Contradictory.

In the nineties Perez Balladares government implemented in our country the so called neoliberal model. This is a reissue of approach of the Austrian Carl Meger, Ludwig Von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, among others. The theory is that by lowering tariffs, prices of imported goods would be cheaper than national. This would depress prices and consumers would be beneficiaries of this reduction in costs because domestic producers would be forced to lower prices by raising their efficiency because they would have more competition.

The reality was different. The importers took for their selves the difference between the price and the cost of imported goods without crossing the reduction in the price to consumers, instead set prices depending on what was indicated by domestic products, not imported, as claimed neoliberal economists.

The biggest beneficiary was undoubtedly the largest supermarket chains in the country and therefore the largest importer of consumer goods.

This policy initiated by government and Perez Balladares was continued by the next government of Arnulfist Mireya Moscoso and then the PRD of Martin Torrijos.

The people upset to see the deterioration of their living standards despite the country's economic growth reject the neoliberal policy makers and surrender all their hopes on a candidate who ran as an independent, not linked to the old politicians and that among other things promises to lower the prices of the products in the basket in 30%.

However, this policy is nothing less than the owner of the largest supermarket chain in the country, the biggest beneficiary of the reduction in tariffs and that refused to pass this decrease in costs to final consumers, taking advantage of the policy of free supply and demand of the neoliberal model implemented by the last three administrations. Did he need to be president to lower prices? Is it possible that the owner of supermarkets pursue a policy of price reduction that goes against their own interests and the nature of merchant whose goal is to buy the cheapest possible and sell with the most profit? Some clever guys after my question told me that the new president will have to fulfill their promise because otherwise the country will be involved in a social whirlwind. This will be very inconvenient to their interests as a popular uprising would be negative for the economy and thus for their own business. That is not going to kill myself politically and economically.

This leads me to quote you the fable assigned to Esopo but sometimes claimed to be a story of the African country of Niger.

There was a very noble frog in the Niger River that helped animals to cross the river to those who lacked the ability to cross by their own. So crossed mice, lizards and flies up to have their wet wings could not fly. One evening he saw a scorpion who asked her to cross. The noble frog told how he thought she was going to cross him that nobility did not mean stupid. That being a scorpion, he will stick his venom in her back. The scorpion assured him that was different and in no way he will endanger their lives because the murder would sink in too Deep River. He convinced the frog with his argument and she asks him to climb on her back. When they were in the river the scorpion venom poisonous nail her back. As they sank into the river, the frog asked him how he was so stupid that now both would die by drowning. The scorpion said very seriously ... What do you want me to do I am a scorpion it’s my nature, and then both of them sank to the bottom of the mighty Niger.

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