Editor's Note: This article was originally published in Spanish on infobae. It has been machine-translated to English and posted with the author's permission.
Argentinian Antonella Marty is a recognized liberal intellectual, lecturer, political scientist and internationalist. "The facts show that where there is greater economic freedom there are better wages and a better quality of life," she stressed in her contact with Dinero. She was in Santa Cruz to present her book 'Capitalism: An antidote against poverty'.
From the Bolivian government they speak of 'neoliberal' as a dirty word. What is the difference between liberal and neoliberal?
The idea or concept of neoliberalism is a word used by the left, socialism, communism to refer to liberalism in a pejorative way, identifying it with something that is not liberal. Because many of the measures applied in the 90s and to which they refer were privatizations that were carried out with corruption, patronage, financing with tax pressure and higher taxes.
So, neoliberalism is mercantilism, it is not liberalism. It is a word that the left uses to discredit.
As a strategy, populist governments always look for enemies, so what is this liberal movement facing in Argentina?
Yes, populists always look for internal enemies such as businessmen and the media, and external enemies such as globalization, the market, the US, the empire.
The strongman character, the messiah always finds an enemy to blame for the evils that were generated by bad policies. That can be seen in Argentina with Alberto Fernández and the Kirchner family, with a vice president like Cristina who enjoys impunity. So, for this reason, we need objective and independent justice in Latin America that helps us to put limits on politicians who want to assign themselves roles or tasks that are not theirs.
In Argentina we live in a complicated situation because these politicians never live the way they say they think, they fall back on hypocrisy. They continue to fill citizens with obstacles, redistribution of wealth that punishes businessmen who are the ones who generate wealth and jobs.
Speaking of wealth redistribution, are the bonuses and subsidies that were criticized in your country harmful?
The bonuses break with human dignity, they make the person feel that they are not capable of getting ahead on their own and they enter into a toxic relationship with the government. She becomes dependent on a government that distributes and gives you crumbs. In the end, the beneficiaries are the politicians who distribute. There is a phrase that I like: "The populist breaks your legs, gives you crutches and tells you that without him you cannot walk."
So, the populist government needs one to be poor because they live on it.
Why is it so difficult to seduce with the liberal movement if it has been successful, generates wealth and the countries have better human development indexes?
It is very difficult for us in Latin America because we have a vision of the messianic State. We see the State or the person who faces the State as a leader who must create and increase the size of the State. And that's one of the big obstacles, we give it too much power. So we are at a crossroads where power increases and it is more difficult to remove them from power.
We must stop deifying politicians and start celebrating businessmen, entrepreneurs, not just those in suits, let's think of the ironmonger, the baker, the one who generates work, employment that does it to get ahead with human dignity. We must start celebrating success instead of destroying and demonizing it.
Why are populist governments forgiven for corruption?
Look at Argentina, Cristina Fernández has many causes of corruption and today she is vice president. A model that embodied corruption and we fall again because we are in a toxic relationship, one normalizes this type of events and events. And on the other hand, there is no incentive to stop stealing because justice is not independent. He who is corrupt is not punished.
It is said that the mistakes of the right make the left stronger...
The populisms of the right and the left constantly feed each other.
If you have seen what economic situation Venezuela is in, why is it still opting for that populist current?
Generally we do not learn from the experience of others and until we live it we do not cause a change. For example, in Brazil the right-wing alternative did not meet expectations and there is Lula, who was imprisoned for corruption, again about to assume power because he appeals to the messianic figure. I clarify, the liberal is neither on the right nor on the left. He will never accept a dictatorship of any kind. Liberalism is putting limits on those who govern us.
Antonella Marty is the Director of Sociedad Atlas and Senior Fellow at The Atlas Society. She is also the Associate Director of Public and Influencer Relations at Atlas Network, as well as the Latin American Policy Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center, and host of the Hablemos Libertad podcast. She has also authored several books including The Intellectual Populist Dictatorship (2015), What Every Revolutionary of the 21st Century Should Know (2018), Capitalism: Antidote to Poverty (2019), The Libertarian Handbook (2021), All You Need to Know (2022), and Objectivismo: Preguntas y Respuestas.