Publisert av: Yngve Sætre | juli 20, 2012

Studiebrev fra Harvard 12/12


Boston, Cambridge, 19.07.12.

Idag hadde jeg midterm eksamen i Corporate Governance. Den varte bare 1 time og 15 minutter, men spørsmålene var likevel forholdsvis omfattende. Vi får tilbake eksamen allerede på tirsdag, og det blir spennende å få resultatet fra min første eksamen her på Harvard Summer School.

Forøvrig har det vært lange dager på biblioteket i det siste, så det er derfor noen dager siden jeg har skrevet noe her på bloggen. Jeg har brukt ganske mye tid komparativ politikk, og Mexico har vært et av temaene den siste uken. Her er noen tanker rundt utsiktene til demokrati i Mexico basert på to artikler i henholdsvis The Washington Post og The Economist:

What are the prospects for Mexico’s new democracy?

The election on July 1 resulted in a comeback for the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party)/ green party that won 38, 2 percent of the votes. According to The Economist the president elect “looks and sound like a modernizer, but plenty of old-fashioned party dinosaurs lurk around him”. The two articles describe a challenging future for the new president.

The big problem for Mexico seems to be the trust gap described in the article from The Washington Post.  The people have weak level of confidence in public institutions, and there is also low trust between citizens. Mexico is near the bottom in a ranking of how much trust the citizens have in others. In a poll only 6 percent said they had high trust in the police and only 20 percent had trust in their co-workers and classmates.

If think the trust gap is a huge problem for the democracy in Mexico. Democracy is dependent on a certain amount of trust from citizen to institutions, from institutions to citizens, between institutions and between citizens. I think a lack of this trust will undermine the whole democracy.

Democracy is based on the citizens giving away some power to democratic institutions, but to make the system healthy they need to trust that the institutions will use this power in a good and fair way. Also economic development is based on a certain degree of trust between citizens and citizens/ institutions. This is essential to establish good business conditions and solid property rights. Why invest in a property or business if you don’t trust that your fellow citizens and institutions will respect your ownership?

If Mexico is not able to strengthen the trust between people, and between people and institutions, I think the democracy in Mexico is going into difficult times. Establishing such trust is a long process, but a good start is to fight crime and to establish trust in the police, the institutions and the elections. To do that the police must fight the criminals – instead of cooperating with them, and the cheating in the elections must stop.

Yngve Saetre


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