Jorge O. Moreno: 2021, information, responsibility, action and the way forward

Jorge O. MorenoJorge O. Moreno Source: Courtesy

Inform yourself. Stay constantly updated with new information available. Deduct the veracity of the information depending on the prestige of the original source. With the above, take action within your capabilities prioritizing your health and that of yours and, later, the healthy administration of the resources you have; that is, let responsable. One day at a time, accepting what cannot be changed, and navigating in this new context that we must travel from now on, with mask and healthy distance included.

Why start the column with such simple phrases, and some that may already sound very hackneyed? Simple, because these ideas are the summary of my recommendations to start a year no less uncertain than the previous ones, but that if it draws us an economic and financial panorama codependent on a single fundamental issue: the control of the pandemic.

2021 is a year that, at best, will be recorded as one of partial economic recovery. With the main national and international authorities announcing estimated growth rates At 4% per year, some openly subject to the control of the pandemic, we are talking about a partial recovery that places us 6.4% below the level of value creation, measured by real GDP, that our economy had in 2019.

With sectors that were strategic for growth such as tourism and recreation services still closed, and a December period that did not represent the expected boost in sales, but did bring a significant contraction in formal jobs in addition to the acceleration in cases of contagion, This new year must be, above all, a call for prudence, but also one that allows us simultaneously to stop the destruction of wealth in the form of human capital (in terms of lags in education and health) and to advance in the reconstruction of the damaged tissue social, recognizing that it will not be a task that can be resolved immediately, nor probably in the remainder of this six-year term.

However, the most important thing in this path that we travel together will be the responsibility of each member of our society before the call to implementation of sanitary measures, because being today in the most complicated part of the pandemic, the actions of each and every one of its members matter.

Sadghuru, the Hindu philosopher of this new millennium, precisely defines the term “responsibility” not in its common connotation of “obligation”, but in terms of the words that compose it in the English language: responsability = response + ability, that is, “Ability to respond.” Being responsible is staying alert and having the ability to react to a particular situation, accepting that our action may have a field of impact limited by our environment, also choosing inaction as a responsible alternative (For example, not going out if it is not absolutely necessary, or not following up on false news that distorts our understanding of reality, are also part of our responsibility).

Responsibility is preserving the ability to decide action and inaction, based on accepting the scope of impact of our decisions, something that economics teaches very early in each introductory course as a budget constraint, or a production possibility frontier. Accept, in the words of the same author, that “what you can do, you can do; what you cannot do, you cannot do ”will be fundamental both to become aware of the importance of individual health measures, and to begin to identify necessary development opportunities in social areas damaged by this pandemic.

It is possible to list responsible actions on the upcoming public agenda using the evidence we have in matter of economic development and on public policies that guarantee long-term development conditions from the individual.

In the current context, let us find a way to help protect the health sector and all its members (starting with the vaccine, without discrimination of any kind, in health personnel), and then design and implement new strategies in education that allow us to reduce the growing gap that we are beginning to observe in the educational gap, which affects the most vulnerable households relatively more.

Also, and as an immediate and historically unsatisfied demand, let us put on the table the need to transform and modernize public transport, which is necessary and fundamental in economic reactivation but also in containing the pandemic spiral; a fact that was demonstrated by the recent incident in the CDMX Metro due to lack of investment and maintenance of its lines, and the impact it had on the economic activity of the city and the saturation of the few alternatives.

In conclusionUsing the reflections in this column, information-responsibility-action will be the way to maintain sanity in these complex and oppressive times, and move one day at a time in the right direction on this path that we do not choose, but it is up to us to travel together .

This is an opinion column. The expressions used here are the sole responsibility of the person signing them and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of El Financiero.