Portugal’s economic stagnation: genetics or disease?! (2/2)

Mafalda_democracia

Well, it’s indisputable that the political parties, namely PS and PSD, hold the monopoly of political agenda setting in Portugal. These are the 2 entities who effectively run the country. As stressed before the great majority of public office duties, not mention big companies boardrooms, has been filled with people affiliated with these parties so what track record do they have to boast about?!

Let’s put it in simple terms: an overly indebted country with a feeble over burdened economy with taxes and a myriad of levies, over reliant on imports and held hostage by anti-patriotic and rogue vested interests. There’s more: income inequality is among the greatest in developed world and productivity is racing to the bottom. But isn’t life any better since the end of the dictatorship regimen? Of course it is. Quite a lot, indeed! However if it wasn’t for the tonnes of money coming from the EEC and the over easy access to funding markets nothing much would be accomplished. Which is the same as saying that a lot of money was misspent, misused or simply stolen. Again from the above mentioned article (my emphasis).

It’s an economic whodunit without any clear culprits [yeah, right!]. Yes, Portugal has real structural problems (which we’ll get to), but so do Spain and Greece, neither of which slumped before the slump. For his part,[Ricardo] Reis [Columbia University professor] speculates thatPortugal’s immature financial sector is to blame: it misallocated the foreign capital that poured in to low productivity, non-tradable sectors like wholesale and retail trade. In other words, it wasted money on things that never had a chance of paying off.  

“Easy unearned money corrupts” could be one’s reading but remind me who has been at the helm all these years?! I have a better reading: make things happen with current easy and plentiful money is a no-brainer. The same isn’t truth when that easiness vanishes, like recently has been the case, and therefore, once again “dial IMF for help”.

Now, let’s turn our attention to some loose ends to mull over. But first, from the very same article (my emphasis):

Of course, Portugal still has to fix its structural problems. This can often feel like a hand-wavey catchall, but, among other things, it means making it easier to fire permanent workers who are very much so; making it easier to start and expand a business; and making it easier to enforce contracts.

  • Does anyone profit from laws that prevent companies to increase their scale?! The economy certainly doesn’t given that it restrains competition and consequently caps productivity growth. Who wouldn’t want competition? Large companies with strong interests in Portugal (national or foreign)?! Is that why they hire people strongly linked to the prominent political parties, chiefly those that have already had a governmental role?!
  • Why is there too much regulation?! Is it warranted?! Is it why there are so many bureaucrats?! Is that also why bureaucracy takes ages to produce an outcome?! How can businessmen unblock any unnerving bureaucratic issue?! Any clues? If bureaucracy were to be curtailed would bureaucrats be fired?!
  • Why are courts of law so clogged?! Is it for the excess of regulation on the Procedure’s Code?! Is that why do they take eternity to issue a verdict on high profile cases involving public figures and most of all members of political parties (especially PS and PSD)?! Some of them even lapse. And what to say about the lacking of convictions on white-collar crimes that are strongly linked to the most prominent parties?! Who writes and approves this codes/regulations?! Coincidences?!
  • Why are there permanent workers in civil service?! And why do they, on average, have higher wages than the rest of the economy?! And can someone explain to me why do they have extensive social benefits unlike the rest?! And why have the civil servants ranks increased exponentially since democracy’s green shoots (until 2010) to the point that they could stumble in each other’s?!?!?! It sure doesn’t help productivity nor Portugal’s fiscal deficit woes!  Why don’t they fire them outright?! Would the dominant political parties treat this issue as very delicate from the re-election point of view?! Using the same argument: why are there 308 town halls and 4269 (give or take) “village halls”?!?!?! Who are they employing?! Why don’t they downsize them right away!?!?!?
  • Why do political parties (all of them) ward off any attempt of creating new political forces or independent candidacies to any public office seat?! It has become clear that political parties are not much of competition lovers, but is it why their runs to any public office seat are state funded and independent ones not?! Is it why they are exempt of VAT and others don’t?! Is it why they always keep it down when it comes to talk about their funding sources?!
  • Are these political parties that polarizing to recruit the brightest and sharpest of the individuals?! If so, why is Portugal so marred with perennial structural problems that successive governments fail to address!?

And the most fat of these loose ends…

  • WHY ARE ALL THESE ISSUES BEING ADDRESSED (EXCEPT THE UNWARRANTED EXCESS INFLUENCE OF THE DOMINANT POLITICAL PARTIES) UNDER THE GUN FROM THE TROIKA (IMF, EUROPEAN COMMISSION, ECB), NOW THAT FINANCIAL MARKETS STARTED TO SERIOUSLY DOUBT THESE PEOPLE CREDIBILITY?!?!?! WERE THEY ALL MORONS NOT TO REALIZE THE EXTENSIVE LIST OF PORTUGAL’S PROBLEMS THROUGHOUT THE YEARS?!?!?!

It has become clear that Portugal effectively is ill. If its economy isn’t growing and is not showing any signs of improvement is sick! Nonetheless, after a pertinent diagnosis one can relate it with the strange bodies found in Portugal’s gut that obviously don’t share the same DNA. This parasites – roundworms maybe – are leaching its host to its anemic condition. With these organizations running the show there a too many uncalled-for middlemen who are always seeking ways to get a piece of the action and have no regrets to get better off at the expense of everybody else. Right now these parasites are seriously imperiling Portugal’s future. They better be stopped or at least contained!

FOOL/FAIL US ONCE, SHAME ON THEM! FOOL/FAIL US TWICE, SHAME ON US!!!    

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