A new definition of bad governments is spreading fast on the internet: Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) -- a system where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable to succeed, and where the least capable to succeed are abundantly rewarded with goods and services for electing the least capable to lead.
I have to admit that when I first read this definition in an e-mail from a Latin American friend who is in the financial business, it sounded a bit too right-of-center for my taste. I happen to believe that governments should play a significant role in helping the most needy get the tools -- education, health and nutrition -- with which to rise up from poverty.
But the fact that the term is gaining ground as a new addition to
A recent survey by Latinobarómetro, a
Polls show that Latin Americans are mostly concerned about their governments' failure to reduce crime levels. Fifty-five percent of Latin Americans -- including 71 percent of Guatemalans, 67 percent of Venezuelans, 61 percent of Mexicans and 60 percent of Argentines -- believe that living in their respective countries is becoming "more insecure every day," Latinobarómetro figures show.
Economists say the big reasons behind some Latin American governments' failure to deliver good services is a "negative vicious circle" involving taxes: people don't pay taxes because they think their government will steal or misspend their money, and governments can't provide good services because they can't collect taxes.
"The state is back in
So what do you recommend to make
Munoz responded that it will take a combination of political leadership and greater consensus strategies to carry out long-term policies that go beyond a particular government's term.
"Governments want to do everything in four years, because they are under electoral pressures to show results," Munoz said. "But to fix things such as citizens' security you need long-term policies. There must be leadership to tell people the truth: that solving these problems takes time."
My opinion: I agree. There is an urgent need for long-term consensus strategies to fix our biggest problems, not only in
In the case of many Latin American countries, one of the main characteristics of inefficient governments is that they try to start everything from scratch.
Every new government sees itself as the new founder of the fatherland and undoes whatever it received from its predecessor, instead of building upon it, and trying to forge national agreements on key issues with the opposition. In the long term, little gets done, and people start seeing their governments "ineptocracies."
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