Petro: We are going to develop capitalism in Colombia!

On June 19, the day that Colombians elected him as the next president, Gustavo Petro said this phrase in his celebration speech, as a summary of what, together with the consolidation of peace, he promised would be his management in the next 4 years .

In the first interview, after his election, in the prestigious CAMBIO magazine, he indicated his interest in receiving advice from the economist Mariana Mazzucato, stating that “The theories of this woman will be decisive for world economic development and would put Colombia on the path of growth, prosperity and equity.”.

The assassination of Jorge Eliezer Gaitán, the victorious presidential candidate, on April 9, 1948, unleashed a wave of indignation and social violence (the “Bogotazo”) that caused destruction and losses estimated at 500 million pesos, at a time when, as noted a prominent communicator, “the minimum wage did not exceed 50 pesos and a pound of meat cost 63 cents”. Since that fateful day, Colombia has experienced more than 70 years of political and social violence.

I don’t think it is necessary to recall Petro’s trajectory in that tragic and complicated political dynamic in Colombia, colored by the most extreme violence. But it is worth remembering that violence, poverty and social inequalities have led to his electoral victory. They have tragically marked the history of Colombia. It is noteworthy that Petro emphasizes the intimate link between these phenomena, which constitute the axes of his programmatic proposal (“Colombia. World power of life”), and that he has managed to make the majority of Colombian voters understand the need and feasibility of overcoming violence, consolidate peace, reduce social inequalities, strengthen the economy and raise the standard of living of the Colombian majority. All of which, according to his proposal, requires simultaneously developing the productive forces, the production of goods and services, and a more equitable society; which, according to his words, is only possible, in the current circumstances, “developing capitalism”. That is to say, freeing the Colombian capitalist economy from the obstacles imposed by the concentration of wealth, the debasement of work and daily life, the destruction of nature, the weakening of the State and the government, and the emphasis on the appropriation of value. rather than in its production. Without a doubt, a post-neoliberal discourse.

Thus we can understand Petro’s hope of having the advice of Dr. Mazzucato. What are the ideas of this Italian-American doctor, educated at Princeton and Tufts Universities, who heads the Institute for Innovation and Public Value at University College London and studies the Economics of Innovation at the University of Sussex, Honorary doctorate from prestigious universities and the Frederich Eberth Foundation, awarded by the European Academies and with the Leontief Prize “for advancing the frontiers of economic thought”; that she is beginning to be mentioned as a possible candidate for the Nobel Prize in Economics, that she advises Pope Francis, the English Labor Party and several world leaders?

Among his works that I have begun to review, with the limitations of not being an economist, I highlight: “Let’s not waste this crisis”, referring to the Covid 19 pandemic as an opportunity to reform economies and states. The challenge, she notes, “it is not to return to the previous normality, but to build a new capitalism”; “The state undertakesr”, focused on the need to redefine the role of the State in the generation of value and its interaction with private initiative and the market; “The Value of Things”, in which he questions the traditional ideas about who are the creators of value, what wealth is and where it comes from, which activities create value and which do not; and lays the foundations to rethink the contemporary economy (post-neoliberal); “MissionEconomy. A Moonshot to changing capitalism”, edited in 2021, dedicated “For all who have dedicated their lives to bringing the public interest and the common good to the heart of how to create value”. This recent book focuses his interest on “rethink capitalism and economic theory itself to confront the current directionality of growth, in the real world”, how to make governments different and their role in the economy, beyond repairing market deficiencies, moving towards being “co-creators of value” And ultimately “a new way of understanding the welfare state”.

Certainly, and not just because Petro has said it, the ideas and proposals of Mariana Mazzucato deserve to be better known by those of us who, in one way or another, feel connected to or have the responsibility to guide, educate or make decisions on public development policies. economic and social. We will come back in other articles on some of his ideas and proposals

We wish to thank the writer of this write-up for this outstanding content

Petro: We are going to develop capitalism in Colombia!