Diario Extra – The hegemonic narrative and its problems

The hegemonic neoliberal discourse in the current Costa Rican political campaign seeks to expand freedoms for the rich and restrict them for the poor, making those below believe that this is the only option and that public services are their enemies. With the discourse of job creation at any cost, pro-rich politicians are fighting for deregulation in favor of big capital, protected by the metaphor of the cup that overflows and reaches everyone, despite the evidence that shows it. contrary. In short, the hegemonic narrative has been so effective that it has managed to turn many workers against their own interests.

Neoliberal politicians and some big businessmen want the ordinary working day to be extended to 12 hours without pay for the extras, without human considerations that already eight hours of work are exhausting, thus putting the worker and those who depend on their tasks at risk. No one is served by an exhausted and stressed worker, as they endanger themselves and others. The eight-hour day is a matter of dignity, balance, common sense and humanity, but they want to legally break it to exploit more and extract more profit from the worker, without regard for their value as a human being, or their needs, or physical limits.

This hegemonic discourse also struggles to remove the school salary. But the fight in favor of the worker’s interest should be exactly the other way around: improve conditions for the entire working class and create school wages for all workers. This measure would also be a mechanism for economic reactivation, since by spending their income, workers contribute to boosting the economy, since they leave these additional resources in various businesses whose goods and services they require, while improving their quality of life and helping that aggregate demand drives employment.

As David Card, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics, has shown, raising minimum wages does not increase unemployment. Rather, it can increase employment, as improving workers’ incomes increases their purchasing power and creates economic reactivation. As the also Nobel Prize winner in Economics Joseph Stiglitz has said: if the rich are given additional income, they save it and accumulate it, but if they give it to the workers, they must consume it, thus generating economic reactivation.

Let’s think, for example, of all the businesses that closed in the pandemic and would not have done so if their customers had consumption capacity. By improving wages, a dynamic of greater economic feedback is created that does not harm, but benefits employers and the economy.

Let us remember that, at the time, businessmen and their media were opposed to the bonus and if they could, they would push for it to be removed, since they see it as a factor of loss of competitiveness. In fact, some hegemonic media fight every day to worsen the conditions of the working class, because for them the competition is to try to offer the worst possible conditions to the worker and for this reason they demonize all the benefits for this, which no longer even they want to call this and that is why they use the euphemism of “collaborator”, precisely to subtract as much as possible the class consciousness and the rights of the worker.

Some hegemonic media fight for the rich and the super rich to pay less or not pay taxes at all. When the Panama Papers and Pandora Papers came out, these media did report them, without providing the coverage and thorough follow-up that the issue deserves.

But the truth is that, although the dominant narrative does not recognize it, we live in times of brutal inequality and Costa Rica is already one of the 10 most unequal countries in the world, and Latin America the most unequal region in the world. These high levels of inequality have led to the proposal of a 15% tax on transnational companies, which has already been agreed internationally by the world’s largest economies, as there are sectors that extract multimillion-dollar profits from society, but do not contribute proportionally. .

The news of the hegemonic media seeks, as always, to discredit any alternative narrative and scare, as in the times of the referendum of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, with the old known narrative that “the investment “, without realizing that what some want is that they never collect taxes progressively, that is, that the rich be charged as rich and the poor as poor, where each one gives their fair share. Under the slogan of “no more taxes”, neoliberal politicians hide their true interest: no more taxes, but for the rich.

The pandemic has been charged mainly to those who have the least, whom the Costa Rican government abandoned by removing the Proteger bonds, while a greater contribution is not requested from the business sectors that have profited from the health crisis. This is unfortunate, because after progressive taxes the rich would still be rich, but there would be more resources to help those who need it most.

The attraction of investment must be done from a perspective of equity and justice, since it is a mistake to make ourselves “competitive” solely on the basis of becoming cheaper when the country offers very attractive and strategic conditions in the region. It is time to negotiate with dignity before big capital, weighing what we give as a country versus what we receive. Otherwise, we will keep getting more and more unequal.

The government of Carlos Alvarado and its allies agree to worsen conditions for the working class and not to improve them. If it were for actors like these, the bonus would not exist because it is a “privilege” under the neoliberal and savage capitalist logic that they defend. And if it were true that the private fully supports the public as these agents maintain: why is there no developed country without a broad and robust State? What we require is a fair balance between what is public and what is private, where the social interest is above the private.

The pro-rich theses that govern us are wrong, since wage earners help economic reactivation. For example, the Christmas bonus creates thousands of new seasonal jobs. So if this reduces unemployment: why not keep these kinds of policies all year long, for example, expanding the school salary to the private sector and approving the minimum living income for women heads of households in poverty? When minimum wages are raised, unemployment does not increase, but tends to decrease, since the increase in the purchasing power of people increases the demand and therefore the need for personnel, as explained by the investor Nick Hanauer, one of the founders of Amazon, who has recognized that the investment occurs not by a simple liberalization of conditions, but and fundamentally by a greater probability of obtaining returns, and this is explained more by the purchasing power of the people than by removing taxes.

The hegemonic narrative has been very effective, since it has managed to put workers to fight to improve their own working conditions, for the benefit of those who accumulate more and more profits. But what benefits the majority the most is protecting positive conditions for the working class, since they are a win-win-win, since they favor workers, employers and society as a whole.

As Yanis Varoufakis has explained, things do not change not for economic reasons, but for political reasons, since the elites prefer many unemployed, since this way they will be able to play more with the need of the people to have power over them. So, more than a technical issue, we are dealing with a matter of maintaining hierarchy and hegemony, that is, the status quo.



Wednesday December 15, 2021

HOUR: 12:00 AM

CREDITS: Pablo Chaverri Chaves

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Diario Extra – The hegemonic narrative and its problems