La USAC beneficia a individuos y sociedad por igual

Image result for tricentenaria usacLa educación superior es fundamental para fomentar el crecimiento, reducir la pobreza e impulsar la prosperidad compartida; lo anterior es algo que antes, yo no creía ni aceptaba. Mi falta de perspectivas y mi visión objetivista sobre el uso de los recursos públicos me hacía pensar que era irresponsable el uso del erario para pagar por educación y salud pública. Sin embargo, mis perspectivas evolucionaron y se complementaron con otras visiones que me han permitido comprender el importante beneficio que recibimos los individuos de la asignación del erario público para atender a servicios públicos como la educación pública en todos los niveles.

De la Educación no solo nos beneficiamos los individuos receptores, sino todo el sistema social en el que vivimos. Actualmente, la carencia de una educación adecuada es alarmante en los países en vías de desarrollo y Guatemala es uno de los países con las tasas más altas de niños y niñas que no asisten a la escuela. Revertir esta tendencia e invertir en educación para todos los niveles es esencial en países como el nuestro y es el principal factor para reducir las tasas de pobreza, la falta de empleos y reducir los índices de criminalidad; entre otros resultados sociales que consolidan un desarrollo sostenible.

La educación superior es fundamental para fomentar el crecimiento y crecer la USAC es un requisito que no podemos negar. Desde su creación, la USAC ha ofrecido una fuerza laboral altamente calificada, con una educación sólida, y que ha dejado muchos resultados positivos en nuestro país. Personas que no podían pagarse estudios superiores gozaron de este servicio y postiermente ofrecieron sus servicios a la población en general. Antes y aún ahora, los ricos con capacidad económica para pagar educación superior privada de calidad son menos del 1% de los guatemaltecos y no se darían abasto para atender las necesidades de este país. Negar lo anterior es simplemente ignorancia, ceguera y egoísmo por quienes no lo aceptan.

La educación superior beneficia al individuo y a la sociedad. Los graduados de educación superior son más conscientes del medio ambiente, tienen hábitos más saludables, son menos susceptibles de actuar de forma irracional y criminal, tienen un mayor nivel de participación y conciencia cívica, son más susceptibles a respetar las reglas y normas y conocen más y mejor sobre su rol individual en un contexto global. Además, el aumento de los ingresos por impuestos provenientes de mayores ingresos es un retorno social y el trabajo social que realizan muchos de estos profesionales es algo que ha beneficiado a miles de personas.

Los rendimientos económicos para los graduados de educación superior son los más altos en todo el sistema educativo. Según un estudio del Banco Mundial, el retorno económico como contribución al PIB de los graduados de educación superior es de un 17% más en los ingresos en comparación con el 10% para los graduados de educación primaria y el 7% para los graduados de educación secundaria.

Image result for tertiary education third world

Conforme nuestro país continué creciendo en su PIB y población, los ingresos de la USAC se empezarán a hacer cada vez más reducidos y se requerirá de más y mejores controles al uso de ese presupuesto debido al aumento de la población estudiantil. La evidencia de otros países en vías de desarrollo nos demuestra que a medida que la población juvenil aumenta y las tasas de graduación en educación primaria y secundaria aumentan, habrá como resultado un aumento en la demanda de acceso a la educación terciaria. Lo anterior implica que la USAC deberá de ampliar sus instalaciones no solo en la ciudad de Guatemala, sino en las otras sedes universitarias en los distintos departamentos del país.

Los gobiernos del mundo se han dado cuenta ya que todo el sistema educativo, desde la educación infantil hasta la educación terciaria, debe reflejar las nuevas necesidades sociales y económicas de la economía global, pareciera que solo en el gobierno de Guatemala se busca conseguir un retroceso al camino que durante tantos años se ha intentado conseguir.

En el proceso de mejorar la educación universitaria debemos aprender del camino emprendido por los países más exitosos en sus índices de graduación de profesionales. Entre los factores más importantes están.

  • Descentralización y ampliación del alcance de la educación
  • Adaptación de los pensum educativos a las necesidades de cada región
  • Mejoramiento de los títulos de técnicos y postgrado
  • Evaluación del uso de los presupuestos
  • Mejora de la retención de los estudiantes
  • Establecimiento de políticas de acceso equitativo para todos los guatemaltecos y otorgamiento de becas de estudio
  • Creaciones de planes a largo plazo que trasciendan a los Rectores, Decanos y Directores para el mejoramiento de las universidades

Finalizo con una reflexión del artículo elaborado por Lucía Ixchíu para Nómada titulado “Debemos recuperar la Usac, estamos cerca de perderla” en el cual explicaba la urgencia por recuperar y limpiar la universidad.  Según Ixchíu, “limpiar nuestra casa de estudios, de limpiar la corrupción interna infiltrada en la Universidad de San Carlos. El presupuesto ha sido mal utilizado, la calidad académica es mala y prevalece la mediocridad burocrática en cualquier espacio. No podemos como comunidad –estudiantes, docentes y trabajadores– idealizar y negar la realidad que nos toca vivir.” Estoy de acuerdo con esta opinión y creo que nos queda un largo camino para recuperar y limpiar nuestra educación universitaria para crecer y aumentar sus beneficios para toda la sociedad y no solo para el beneficio de unos pocos.

Image result for tertiary education third world

Advertisements

El censo bajo un lente libertario

guatemaltecosLa importancia de un censo para la construcción del Estado es tan importante como conocer la mezcla necesaria de cemento para construir las columnas de una casa fuerte y sólida. Si usas muy poco cemento en tu mezcla, lo más probable es que la estructura colapse. Si usas demasiada materia prima, terminarás desperdiciando recursos que muy bien podrías utilizar para construir en otros lados o ampliar el terreno de la casa.

Durante siglos, el censar a la población ha sido una herramienta fundamental para la construcción del Estado. No solo sirve para tomar decisiones inmediatas y establecer planes a mediano y largo plazo, sino que también sirve para replantear la aplicabilidad de la teoría e identificar cómo diversos y múltiples factores de la conducta humana hacen de unos países ricos y otros pobres.

Para Guatemala, la actualización del censo poblacional tendrá muchos beneficios y oportunidades de mejora. Así como amenazas del abuso de esa valiosa información que podría darse de caer en malas manos. Algunos ataques libertarios y anarquistas se han hecho escuchar ya explicando que el censo solamente fortalecerá el tamaño del Estado para crecer y extraer recursos. Sin duda, un censo fortalece a un Estado pues le da más herramientas para crecer en números donde el Estado era ausente. Sin embargo, hay muchos otros beneficios tales como el aumento de la eficiencia y eficacia del trabajo estatal y el gasto del erario. Mi invitación a las personas partícipes del liberalismo clásico es a que se fijen no en el crecimiento del Estado post-censal sino en su fortalecimiento y en cómo estos datos eficientizarían la toma de decisiones públicas. El reto que nos queda está en la elección de los políticos y en los usos que de esa información los mismos harán.

Elaborando con el lente de la teoría de la Opción Pública, el censo nos será de utilidad para interpretar las fallas que ocurren en el terreno político actual. Y tal y como lo explica muy bien la teoría, en lugar de sugerir lo que debería ser, en base a evidencias realizar un diagnóstico desapasionado para actuar. Este análisis utiliza al censo para que, con base en una cuidadosa observación y análisis de las acciones de los distintos actores políticos, se tomen decisiones de forma democrática y participativa para todos los actores políticos.

Algunos de los beneficios que nos dará este censo en Guatemala son:

  • Establecer la densidad de población y permitirá al gobierno conocer las áreas con un número grande o pequeño de personas. De especial importancia es esta información para situaciones de crisis como las ocurridas recientemente en el volcán de Fuego donde al día de hoy el Estado no conoce con exactitud la cantidad de muertos y desaparecidos.
  • Determinar el número de guatemaltecos y guatemaltecas con mano de obra disponible en un momento determinado y en un área determinada del país para identificar zonas de desarrollo agrícola, industrial o manufacturero.
  • Proveer de un sistema de atención de salud eficaz con el número de doctores y hospitales y centros de salud requeridos para las poblaciones en territorios determinados.
  • Proveedor de un sistema de educación eficaz basado en un buen conocimiento de la diversidad de la población de nuestro país.
  • Reconocer el número total de personas por su etnia, edad, ocupación, distribución geográfica. El Reconocimiento de las poblaciones es importante para conocer sus necesidades y fortalecer la presencia del Estado de acuerdo con estos grupos culturales. Desafortunadamente, en este censo no se incluye el de identidad sexual y dejamos a una importante población fuera de ser reconocida.
  • Realizar una mejor planificación económica y de desarrollo a mediano y largo plazo requiere de cifras que solo se consiguen en censos poblacionales.
  • A través del censo, el gobierno podrá saber el número de adultos imponibles y esto ayudará en gran medida a la estimación de los ingresos esperados anualmente. Además, le permitirá al gobierno conocer el tamaño real de la economía formal e informal y los territorios donde esta brecha puede reducirse.

El aspecto más importante en cualquier sociedad es el capital humano. El censo es importante porque este proceso ayuda a compilar un perfil numérico de quiénes somos “Guatemala”. Esto, a su vez, informa la toma de decisiones en todos los niveles, tanto en el gobierno como en el sector privado. Recordando al célebre Henry Hazlitt, es cierto que el gobierno es incapaz de darnos algo sin despojarnos de algo más y para esto el censo se convierte en una valiosa herramienta de aumento de eficiencia y eficacia. Quedará en nuestras manos que, como ciudadanos educados con esta valiosa información, presionemos e induzcamos a los políticos a actuar en pro de la maximización del bienestar colectivo.

The gated community motto: Come and live in a lie while ignoring life!

The papers, books and studies related to the urban development of gated communities in the Global South have provided lots of information by problematizing the history and politics behind the imaginary of these projects. Urban developers all over Latin America, Africa and Asia are building hundreds of communities and apartment buildings that imitate European and Western Styles of construction, lifestyle, norms and regulations. This morning I got my hands in one more of these advertisements for a housing project located in a recently developed dormitory city near Guatemala City, Guatemala.

The community is called “Residenciales Pasaje Español” and the development aims at replicating the lifestyle of a Spaniard ideal of a community  (while, of course, ignoring reality about Spain’s complexities).  The advertisements are all directed at the appeals of the growing middle-class market in Guatemala which is backed by a search for: affordable housing, accesible parks, gated walls around the housing project, 24/7 private police service, white houses that offer access to parking spaces for family-sized cars.  All of this providing a “theme-park” feeling that enables you to transport yourself from the violent and insecure life outside of the gates.

plano del proyecto

Guatemala City and the dormitory cities around it are inhabited by aprox. 3.5 million people with more than 1 million cars and the figures are quickly rising. Many of the gated communities are 1 or 1.5 hours away from most of the office and industrial areas and traffic jam is a constant worry for this people. Alienated from crime and lack of rule of law, these gated-communities offer an escape from public worries to taxpayers and an excuse to ignore the country’s multiple problems.

torres de luz

But as any other theme-park there are many flaws and dangers in the aim to replicate the “ideal society”.  The complex is located straight next to a line of huge power towers that represent a health menace to the people that will live in the houses. Also, the gated-community is surrounded by hundreds of new houses and dozens of new gated-communities that once completed and sold will represent an increase in the traffic jam outside of the “housing dream”.

Perhaps it is still time to Rethink the future of our cities. We still have time to further problematize our development model and think about the contradictions behind these city-building dystopias. And bring to light more information regarding how these gated-communities further weaken collaboration, cooperation and citizenship in our societies…

The never-ending cycle of revolutions

via: http://www.activistpost.com

“A revolution is the climax of a long philosophical development and expresses a nation’s profound discontent; a Putsch is a minority’s seizure of power. The goal of a revolution is to overthrow tyranny; the goal of a Putsch is to establish it.” Ayn Rand

The day after Revolution the streets were in silence. Anarchy was the rule and a no man’s land emerged. The protests against the ruling party had started several weeks before. However, as my grandmother recalled, the problems that had ignited the most recent uprising had always existed: ” these were the very old unfulfilled promises long inherited from Colonial times.”  Indeed, these promises were the idea that Government was here to rule over Us, to give Us and to provide Us for our needs and to care for our frailties.  The Global South has known dozens of revolutionary movements, dozens of attempts of revolutions and a handful of sanguinary coup d’états. Unfortunately, not much if anything has changed after the uprisings.

Around the world today conflict  continues in many areas that were once colonized or controlled by Western European or Soviet powers. The source of many of these protracted conflicts, in large part, lies in past colonial  policies, and especially those “regarding territorial boundaries, the treatment of indigenous populations, the privileging of some groups over others, the uneven distribution of wealth, local governmental infrastructures, and the formation of non-democratic or non-participatory governmental systems.”

It is therefore essential, if one wants to understand current revolutionary movements, intractable conflict and its causes, to examine not only the issues and problems of the moment, but also influential historical factors and actors – most notably, past colonial policies and today’s ruling power of these metropolis over former colonies – and their lingering effects.

The idea that the government should provide for our needs is more accepted in post-colonial governments that inherited institutions of dependency and granted privileges by the metropolis.  Imagine yourself traveling 200 years back in time to the period in which colonies were ruled by Western Capital. Interestingly, you will find yourself observing almost the same institutions and the same old problems that societies in the Global South still face today in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe and South Asia. The problems in these societies are the result of a long list of misguided decisions all centered in one fatal conceit: the conceit of revolution by force, not in defense, but in violation, of individual rights.

The colonial institutional heritage of the Global South is built around the abuse and violation of individual rights. Not a single revolutionary movement in the Global South has really aimed at restoring individual rights but to the granting of privileges for a minority.  The minority groups have taken many forms, received many names and have taken many slogans. They have been revolutions organized by and in contraposition of one minority group versus a majority: of the poor versus the rich, of the middle classes versus oligarch classes, of national interests of capital versus foreign interests, of enlightened groups versus conservative groups, of different ethnic groups against each other, of indigenous groups tired of being exploited, and many many more.

In order for a revolution that aims at restoring individual rights to take place it would be  necessary for all citizens to first redefine their code of values upon principles that allow them to pursue happiness without violating the rights of others.  This means that for a “revolution and not a putsch” to take place in the Global South we need first to understand that today’s revolutions have no moral justification and are all gang warfare.  As such, in order to change our immoral systems of government we require to first our own immoral code of values.  This means that we need to learn our history and fix all those immoral decisions taken in the past by our former enslavers.

I believe that the ideal way for starting to learn which is the code of values that provides for a consistent philosophy of life that protects individual rights and allows for humans to pursue happiness is the philosophy of Objectivism and the Objectivist Ethics.

If successful, most probably, the ongoing revolutionary movements in the Middle East, Ukraine and Venezuela will reflect to be nothing but immoral putsches of the very same old privileged groups that they were supposed to fight.  Corruption will take a new name, the citizens will be again defrauded by their leaders, immorality will again reign.  the power currently upheld by immoral leaders is not a simple system of domination of one specific group but it completely traverses the entire social body.  When social relations are not based upon a consistent and ethical code of values its result is “the immanence of force” that Foucault widely studied.    In this game of power, the incessant struggle and confrontation will be reinforced, transformed and reshaped without any meaningful outcome.  This never-ending cycle of revolutions will encrust and institutionalize itself if it hasn’t already. I truly believe that a Peaceful Philosophical revolution is Possible.  It is up to you reader, to chose wether to start it or not.

Is Globalization finally saying “STOP!” to the Catholic Church?

https://i2.wp.com/www.catholicworldreport.com/Content/Site140/Articles/05_01_2009/724PopeBenedict_00000000427.jpgAfter only seven years as Head of the Catholic Church, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is an astonishing news.  This may be a message on how Globalization affects such global organization.  The election of Pope Benedict XVI followed all the rules of the Church but did not listen to the “new” rules imposed by globalization: which include good advertisement, global awareness, and above all intercultural appealing to standards of ‘universal friendliness and empathy’, among others.  I wrote an article titled “Parishes Fail to Market Catholicism to Hispanics (pdf available here)” (National Catholic Reporter, Vol. 43, No. 12 2007) discussing how the Catholic Church has failed to Market Catholicism among Hispanics.

Benedict XVI was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. Today, February 11, 2013, Benedict announced that he would resign the papacy, effective February 28, due to age and ill health.

His health may be have been an issue.  However, it seems to me that the real problem started when the Papal conclave of 2005 elected him above the other contestants for the Pope position without taking notice of all the changes that institution has gone through centuries.

Currently, Catholics are 17.77% of the total population in Africa, 63.10% in the Americas, 3.05% in Asia, 39.97% in Europe, 26.21% in Oceania and 17.09% of the world population. (Further information: Catholicism by country)

Distribution of Catholics by World Region, 2004, 2025, and 2050
Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.
Source: Author’s calculations based on data from PRB’s World Population Data Sheet 2004 and accessed at http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org.

Globalization is slowly forcing them to adapt to this new demographics and the election of a Latin American (a Mediterranean look would suffice) or African Pope could bring some new Fresh air to this archaic institution.  The Latin America region already represents 42 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion-strong Catholic population, the largest single block in the Church, compared to 25 percent in its European heartland.

In 2005 among the “popeable” (one who might become pope) where also the cardinals Carlo Maria Martini, who died last year and obtained 40 votes in the first ballot versus the popular Italian cardinal Camillo Ruini who also was a contestant for the position in that initial ballot.  Cardinal Ruini has been very active in the mass media and was one of the cardinals who most often appeared on Italian television, newspapers and magazines.  I would suppose that his election as a new Pope in the Conclave of cardinals that will choose the next pope in mid-March is very high.  Camilo Ruini is very popular among the “Reformer” side of the Catholic Church as the news inform (he is also more photogenic and could appeal to the Hispanic followers easily).

Lets see what happens in March, 2013 with the new Papal Conclave.  Meanwhile, I share with you a documentary on the new face of this Eurocentric organization that is finally (slowly) changing its own look!

The Catholic Church and Africa

RIP James M. Buchanan (October 3, 1919 – January 9, 2013)

Nobel laureate and Classical Liberal economist James M. Buchanan has died today.  He was one of the most important economist of the 20th. Century and will be long remembered for his work on the principles of economic self-interest and their use to understand why politicians do what they do.

He received a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree from my home university at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in 2001 (link to video of his visit to UFM) and his books were some of the most important ones in my education during my college years.  At UFM I learned about Buchanan with Carrol Rios de Rodriguez.  Prof. Rodriguez is one of my favorite teachers and she was the former Director of the a Center for the Study of Public Choice, where the ideas of Buchanan and Tullock first were taught to me.

Here are some interviews to remember the work of this great man and I invite you all to read his books and continue learning!

Hayek and Buchanan: Rawls, Egalitarianism and Social Justice

James Buchanan on Chicago School Thinking: Old and New

James M. Buchanan on Economists and the Great Recession

James M. Buchanan on “Institutional Sources of America’s Fiscal Tragedy”

buchanan521

Rest in Peace James M. Buchanan

(October 3, 1919 – January 9, 2013)

Gun control, school massacres and state-failure

The article “More Guns = More Killing” By came to my attention as a good reference of how sometimes more “global approaches” to what we could explain as “local problems” results in sophistic arguments that are of no use.

The article is astonishingly confusing and misleading because the author arguments that it is more/less guns what results in more/less deaths.  And as such, that only by decreasing the amount of available guns the deaths can be reduced.  In order to defend this position she tries to defend her position by bringing a sometimes useful comparison of explaining local problems (those of the U.S.) by comparison to more global regions (in this case, Latin America).

Rosenthal does not propose a better solution than the one she is trying to question and which was proposed by the NRA (National Rifle Association) to President Obama.  Truth, “A society that is relying on guys with guns to stop violence is a sign of a society where institutions have broken down”. Why? Because the bureaucrats and the NRA consider as she does that it are guns the ones that “kill” and as such, it are guns the ones that “give life“.  Neither of the cases can be more false.
The parallels between the Latin American countries with high homicide rates and the US Massacre of schools kids cannot be correctly understood behind the “more guns/less-more deaths” causal relationship.

Then, how? As usual in this times of miss-integration of concepts.  The events in Latin American countries with high homicide rates and the US Massacre of schools kids have no parallels.  The high homicide rates in Latin America are the result of a failed War on Drugs and the institutional decay caused by corruption, state failure in providing rule of law and the reconfiguration of power relations amongst many other causes.  In this case the guns are not a cause nor a solution.  The massacres in U.S. schools are in my opinion the result of a decay of family values and a philosophical problem of identity that can only be solved behind an urgently much needed moral revolution.  In this last case it is not guns or the state which can do much about to change things.

Future massacres in schools can only by stopped from happening when the roots of family decomposition are diminished (divorces, unemployment, family violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, among many others).  The murderers in these schools were seeking for revenge from society and saw that killing kids was the perfect way of enacting revenge on those he was angry with.   Until we understand this things I see no probable hope for future improvement of any of the cases. As well, for as long we have journalists with a philosophy of life that relies on the State as the “giver” or “healer” of society’s problems things are also going to continue going in the wrong direction…