Wednesday 4 May 2011

The bad side of the package

After the "big bad wolf" said that they could solve Portugal's problems without firing government employees or even further lowering their wages, the political ability for any party to defend these policies went to zero. One of the many reasons why signing these deals before, rather than after elections, is a bad idea


  1. Although most of the time I sign along your ideas,
    in this case, I actually prefer a deal before the elections,
    using the veil of ignorance argument - what need now is stability
    to move forward, not the uncertainty of the political process - parties
    promise a couple of things, unfeasible with high probability, one of them
    gets to form the next government, and then either complies with unrealistic
    campaign promises, or fails to meet the platform it used for election - whatever the case, it will not be good...

    perhaps the difference is that you believe parties will do
    a campaign oriented to solve the problems, while I fear they will
    do what it takes to win the election?


  2. Pedro,
    Yes, I still believe strongly, and perhaps naively, in democracy and elections.

  3. Don't we all? Your (co-authored) letter to the FT was simply brilliant. But it probably couldn't have been done otherwise. And the next government can always renogotiate marginal aspects - which anyway would be the most they could do even after elections.

  4. Would the memorandum be significantly different after elections (regardless of the government)? If not, then it's probably far better to get this "out of the way" now rather than take the chance of an electoral campaign conducted under false premises.

  5. Ricardo,
    :) good answer, for a politician -but my the question is: do you prefer
    a) elections and democracy, with a "constitutional agreement" for the next three years set before the election, under the veil of ignorance?
    b) elections and democracy, with everything decided afterwards, knowing that elected party may use "surprise after in office" to change promises
    that took him to office (eventually)?

    fine to have different views, but I wanted to make clear that elections and democracy were not the issue...

    I guess that next you say the agreement should be more an electoral platform that a sort of "constitutional" pact (?) ;-)


  6. "a) elections and democracy, with a "constitutional agreement" for the next three years set before the election, under the veil of ignorance?"

    Pedro, are you assuming that, under the veil of ignorance, every party (or at least the three relevant ones) participated in the definition of what you call "constitutional agreement"? Is it not more reasonable to assume that only one party is defining the "constitutional agreement" and that the other parties have to agree with it?

  7. Luis, now it is "game over" for this; but the point is that I would prefer a genuine effort of the relevant parties to set that "constitutional agreement" together with the IMF/ECB/EC and doing it before the elections.

    The discussion was "wishes" not the reality as it emerged now.