All power to the public management enterprises

It was very fortunate that Mrs. Le Pen was pulverized at the polls. Macron’s vote was twice hers. Fascism and communism, its first cousin, are always bad news.

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It was very fortunate that Mrs. Le Pen was pulverized at the polls. Macron’s vote was twice hers. Fascism and communism, its first cousin, are always bad news.

In any case, Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French elections is another symptom that the conventional political parties are dying. The voters don’t want them. They take it for granted that professional politicians are “rent-seekers” and that the parties are an ignoble amalgam of generally incompetent people in quest of fortunes based on corruption.

Macron was elected because he promised honesty and efficiency. He is seen as a doer, a man capable of taming France’s heavy bureaucracy. He has said repeatedly that “All public services related to the citizens [hospitals, schools, courts of justice, social services, etc.] will be required to publish their results in terms of quality of service [waiting time, satisfaction surveys, etc.]”

Today’s political parties emerged spontaneously in the heat of the American revolution of the late 18th Century. Nobody predicted their birth. They were a necessity of representative democracy to mediate between the voters and the elected, and to embody different points of view, mainly between Federalists and anti-Federalists or Liberals and Conservatives.

Nevertheless, with time and experience, almost all democratic nations slipped into a similar mode of governance, whether they were republics or parliamentary monarchies, although with different variants based on the intensity of public spending as related to the GNP (32 percent in Switzerland, 53 in France.)

By this time, after the criminal failure of the totalitarian experiments of the 20th Century, almost no one questions the fact that sovereignty rests with the individual persons, who must make their decisions through rational and peaceful means expressed in secret and universal elections in accordance with a Constitution or written laws.

Simultaneously, those documents limit the authority of the public servants and establish the need to respect human rights, the importance of the separation of powers, as Montesquieu wished, and propose, as Locke believed, that the basic function of the State is to guarantee the right to life, liberty and property.

Until that point, the discussion is minimal. That’s how the exemplary Scandinavian nations behave, sometimes governed by the democratic “right,” others by “the left.” Such has been the case with Roosevelt’s or Reagan’s United States and Labour leader Harold Wilson’s or Conservative Margaret Thatcher’s United Kingdom. That’s why there is no contradiction when German Christian Democrats pact with the Social Democrats. It’s not a question of choosing among parties but among “public policies.”

If the parties disappear, what institutions will take their place? In my opinion, the parties will slowly transform into a center of some very reduced initiatives that will be offered to the voters as “public management enterprises,” more or less in the way that — in condominiums or urban high-rises — neighbors periodically elect those who will manage the collective property or hire some company that deals with it, limiting themselves to supervise the work.

These governments or administrations will be less interventionist and possibly can be remunerated in line with the results of their work. If the promises of reducing unnecessary spending, paying the public debt, lowering the unemployment rate, reducing poverty and limiting corruption are fulfilled, why not pay them a bonus?

That’s what people in Singapore do with specific key ministries, and they enjoy an amazing level of growth and quality of life, with an extremely low public expenditure (9 percent of the GNP), although I’m talking about a non-democratic order whose excesses we should never imitate.

The enemies of “public management enterprises” will shout to the heavens and denounce the privatization of governments, but in reality we’re dealing with collaboration between society and private enterprise to better manage the areas of common good, in view of the repeated failure of the traditional parties.

Many societies today, exhausted by centuries of mismanagement, select through bids who will distribute water, build roads, ports, airports, schools, universities, prisons or pension plans. It’s only a question of going up one step and tightening the screws. Some of this is what happened in France.

*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*