OPINION
Text in which the author defends ideas and reaches conclusions based on his / her interpretation of facts and data

Enterprise and graft

There is a direct correlation between the neoliberal style of government, and the phenomena of bubble, corruption, crash and cutbacks

Just when the opinion polls tell us that corruption is high on the list of public concerns, the government announces a law to foster entrepreneurs: another myth of our time. Our deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, gets her photo with Angela Merkel, in which she beams like a nun seated by the pope: the very image of an insecure government, more concerned with German approval than with Spanish voters.

The reigning neoliberal governmental style is built on the use of the state for the commercialization of human relations, the extension of market culture to all areas of life, and the reduction of the citizen to an economic man, without other attributes. The state's principal tasks are to facilitate enrichment without any hindrance to the abuse of economic power; to ensure legal security (a euphemism for widening the ambit of the impunity of money); and to provide public infrastructures and law and order. It isn't hard to see how, polyvalent man having been reduced to a single dimension, the economic one, and politics being promiscuous with money, corruption has become systemic. The complement is a culture of indifference, which mutilates the human being's political condition. As Peter Greenaway puts it, "having eyes doesn't mean you know how to see." Money offers only disincentives to the will to see injustice and denounce it.

Don't look for a job, create one for yourself," the government says with insolent impunity

All the talk about entrepreneurs is the media-and-educational correlate of this model of government. The citizen as entrepreneur of himself. "Don't look for a job, create one for yourself," they say with insolent impunity. A recent media debate on the new and holy condition of entrepreneur came to a brilliant conclusion: the principal source of the entrepreneur's financing is friends and family. That is, if you don't come from a good neighborhood, you're up the creek without a paddle.

There is a direct correlation between the neoliberal style of government, and the phenomena of bubble, corruption, crash and cutbacks. If money is the only criterion of social esteem, if everything legal is moral, what can we expect? Simply, that everything seems possible, from bribery to the most improbable real estate investment. Rationality loses its footing in a climate of impunity. The neoliberal model of government has had effects so de-socializing, that it has taken three years of crisis for people to recover their power of speech. Only when injustice is so flagrant as in the evictions, have people begun to react.

True, not all politicians are corrupt. I even believe the honest ones are a majority. Where society is not organized politically, then mafias rule, and powers-that-be. But corruption is no longer a problem of individual behavior; it is structural in a system that has closed politics to society, and created a political, economic and media caste. Passivity is also a form of corruption. Hence public trust in our leaders has fallen to a point where we cannot even have a civilized pact of democratic distrust: "We have no great illusions about your promises, but don't take too much." Indeed, the neoliberal model has attained one of its objectives: the discrediting of politics, rendering it ineffective as a lever for change. Either the politicians are capable of overhauling the system, or they will wear themselves down in blind defense of an established order in which they have settled for an ancillary role. The possible scenarios are threefold: thorough overhaul of the regime, with a serious redistribution of power and a weakening of caste-based bodies; perpetuation of the status quo by means of post-democratic authoritarianism, neutralizing the democratic instruments that ought to serve against the abuse of power; and an upsurge of social conflict and polarization, unpredictable in its consequences. What happens will depend, as Isaac Rosa said, on to what extent fear changes sides, and the powerful discover that they also have to hear those who have no power.

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