Thursday, 1 April 2010


Piñera thinks that his first three weeks in office have been a tremendous success. In fact, he thinks he has already equalled, or in fact surpassed, the Concertación's record of achievement. That's great! Good for him. It just shows how efficient he is.

However, as I suggest here, sometimes in the interest of efficiency one can commit all sorts of mistakes that then come back and bite you on the head (or elsewhere). That is why most of last week was dominated by the errors committed in political appointments, some of which had to be rescinded, and the extraordinary sight of a Supreme Court judge saying that some formal legal steps had been missed in the implementation of a new law. Who cares? It's efficient!

To be fair, this week was a far better week for Piñera than last... he managed to sort of regain control of the message. But there is a fundamental problem that underlies everything that has gone wrong. In the private sector, one tries gain the maximum advantage in order to sell things, make things, earn money, etc. The law is often an impediment to efficiency, and certainly to profitability. But in government, the maximum advantage, the raison d'etre, is the law. One cannot bypass the law in order to do something else, because if it goes beyond the law, that something else is not only illegal, it is probably not something that government should be doing in the first place.

That is today's fight. They're still learning, and as I have repeatedly said here, it is unfair to criticise too much at this stage, given the lack of experience in government. Tomorrow's fight, however, will be when the Piñera government figures out how to work within the law and still maximise its advantage. When that happens, fasten your seatbelts.

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