Archive for May 8th, 2003

Off for a while

May 8, 2003

I will be travelling for the next three weeks and have no idea whether I will be able to connect or even have much to say about what is going on here. If anything happens I will try to post comments and my brother may do it also. See you June 1st., hope things are quiet (my last three trips have been anything but quiet)!!

The Destruction of Social Capital

May 8, 2003

Maruja suggested I translate this very good article which appeared in today’s El Universal, she was right, it should be read:

The Destruction of Social Capital

by Axel Capriles M.

To recover from the damage produced by the Bolivarian revolution will take a few generations. We have not only regressed on all aspects of life. It is not only a matter of paralysis or being behind materially or intellectually. It is, above all, an emotional fissure that has produced the political use of resentment, the continuous attack to the fundamental emotions of society. No previous Government had spent so much time using such bad faith for the destruction of social capital.

All societies need shared values, rules and regulations that allow the interaction among individuals without too many frictions in order to subsist, work together and develop as a social group. It is what Friedrich von Hayek denominated “the extended order of human cooperation”, the set of informal values shared by people that allows them to collaborate together. If anything has been clarified by the studies of economic development is that the formation of social capital is the decisive factor for the progress and well-being of nations. And we understand as social capital “that total provision of cooperative relations based on the norms of honesty, reciprocity” and the mutual trust needed to function in an efficient manner and assume common challenges. That intangible of development can be built in a very short time, but it takes generations to be formed or reconstructed.

The trust (so stranged from hate and resentment), the reciprocity and the norms for cooperation are fundamental for rational economic behavior. They are indispensable to reduce transaction costs, negotiations costs, and the control of contracts and, as a consequence, to achieve more productivity without adding costs. Even though social order and the rules of cooperation can be created hierarchically, most of them appear in spontaneous and decentralized fashion as part of social interactions and are part of the internalized culture of individuals. When people have to continue living together in the same geographical space, when difficulties ask for cooperation and collaboration to achieve a minimum of well being, both collective and individual, the worst crime that a ruler can commit is the destruction of social capital.

Maruja sends picture of graffiti

May 8, 2003

Maruja sends this picture of a graffiti with the word in Spanish for hunger (misspelled) interlaced with Chavez’ party’s letters MVR: Tenemos haMVRe: We are hungry

Laelia Purpurata Vinho

May 8, 2003

Another beautiful Laelia Purpurata from Brazil, the shape is not great, but look at that red color!!

Salam Pax is back

May 8, 2003

Salam Pax is back in his blog if you want to get a look at what it felt to be under the bombs and not over them. I also think his absence proves he was no fake. He provides a description of the whole time he was gone through an e-mail that he sent to Diane.