Looking Forward to the Future
On the first of July, the citizens of Mexico clearly expressed themselves at the polls, deciding that that the time had come for a change in how the country is led. In a few weeks, Andrés Manuel López Obrador will assume the position of President of the Republic and our duty as citizens is to look to the future with optimism and responsibility. Mexico is a great and strong country, full of young people with huge hopes for building their own future. Your enthusiasm is the unstoppable force that will propel us to development. Together we can build much; divided, chaos lurks.
The challenges facing our country are considerable: from insecurity that never ceases, an educational system that does not produce results, to rampant corruption. There are entire regions of our country that remain stagnant in underdevelopment and others that live under the terror that organized crime sows. All this is unacceptable and must change.
The challenges facing our country are considerable: from insecurity that never ceases to rampant corruption.
United we must support the incoming government to overcome our difficulties. Let's think about the Mexico we want. From my point of view, we need four basic things: (1) freedom, (2) rule of law, (3) prosperity and (4) cultural change.
Manuel Azaña commented that "freedom does not make men happy, it makes them simply men." With this phrase, Azaña reminds us that without freedom humanity disappears. In my opinion, among all the freedoms there are two that are the foundation of the others: (1) freedom of expression and (2) freedom of enterprise. Without freedom of expression, we will be unable to defend with arguments all other freedoms and without freedom of enterprise, we will not have material independence from the ruler.
The opposite of freedom is authoritarianism and this is something that we must avoid at all costs. Fortunately, Mexico is fundamentally liberal: Mexicans love our freedom, but we must also move away from the extreme of anarchy, which destroys the Rule of Law.
Mexicans love our freedom, but we must also move away from the extreme of anarchy, which destroys the Rule of Law.
Rule of Law and Rule by Law
Under this concept I include governability and security. Terribly, today we do not have either of the two. The Rule of Law is fundamental because it prevents the freedom of each one from interfering with the freedom of all others. The State's reason for being is to provide security to people. Unfortunately, governments, at all levels, owe the people a great deal on this issue and we have to force them to hold us accountable.
Although some deny it, in the last 25 years Mexico has advanced a lot in this matter. In the 70s and 80s, crises were recurrent and growth was negative. In today's Mexico, although the national product –measured by antiquated methods- shows low growth, the progress is constant and in some regions linked to free trade, the development is remarkable. Just consider states like Querétaro, Guanajuato, or Nuevo León, which demonstrate entire regions with spectacular dynamism. The contrast of prosperity in these areas with the poverty that prevails in states that are disengaged from free trade, such as Oaxaca or Chiapas, is brutal.
But beyond macroeconomic stability, we must seek a lasting well-being for families. We know that stability is a necessary but not sufficient condition, we need something more.
Many times, the most important obstacles we face in finding sustained prosperity are in our mind. Changing our "mental chip" will help us achieve much of the first three elements we need to move forward. When talking about a change of mentality, I refer to aspects such as "culture of legality," our perception of the relationship between effort and wealth, education and the urgent need to strengthen an entrepreneurial culture. Our foundation to achieve a true cultural change, at Grupo Salinas, are initiatives such as Plantel Azteca, Limpiemos Nuestro México, and Esperanza Azteca Orchestras.
Many times, the most important obstacles we face in finding sustained prosperity are in our mind.
Four years ago I read a very interesting book written by Niall Ferguson: "The Great Degeneration." For this author, the four main pillars of modern society are collapsing around the world: (1) representative government, (2) the free market, (3) the rule of law and (4) organized civil society. Throughout the world we see the same challenges. Some of them are more serious in our country— especially the third, where the collapse is very clear.
Organized civil society is a fundamental pillar to solve our common problems. Whether or not we voted for him, we must give the President Elect the opportunity to show that he will fulfill his promises of justice and honesty. Let's move towards the future with confidence and unity. In this way, we will do better and we will have a Mexico with Inclusive Prosperity, which is what we seek for our children and grandchildren.
It is our obligation to imagine a better future and then find a way to reach it.