Carlos Alberto Montaner at PostGlobal

Carlos Alberto Montaner

Madrid, Spain

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a Cuban-born writer, journalist, and former professor. He is one of the most influential and widely-read columnists in the Spanish-language media, syndicated in dozens of publications in Latin America, Spain and the United States. He is also vice president of the Liberal International, a London-based federation devoted to the defense of democratic values and the promotion of the market economy. He has written more than twenty books, including Journey to the Heart of Cuba; How and Why Communism Disappeared; Liberty, the Key to Prosperity; and the novels A Dog's World and 1898: The Plot. He is now based in Madrid, Spain. Close.

Carlos Alberto Montaner

Madrid, Spain

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a Cuban-born writer, journalist, and former professor. He is one of the most influential and widely-read columnists in the Spanish-language media, syndicated in dozens of publications in Latin America, Spain and the United States. more »

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United States, Banana Republic

The United States' economy will regain the world's confidence when its government (first Bush, now Obama) stops behaving like a banana republic.

When it behaves responsibly in fiscal affairs. When it ceases to print currency without a parallel increase in production. When it no longer interferes in the market with arbitrary rescue operations to bail out companies, like General Motors, that are condemned to disappear because of the rejection of consumers, the pigheadedness of labor unions, and the insensitive stupidity of management.

In sum, when it follows the prescriptions of the Washington Consensus that the technicians at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund used to recommend to Third World nations that had undergone financial crises. The worst kind of hypocrisy is to preach one thing and do something completely different.

Having said that, the rest of the world -- even though it feels that the U.S. government is not reliable on financial grounds -- doesn't have a better option, either. Eighty percent of all financial transactions are conducted in dollars, the U.S. continues to produce between 20 percent and 25 percent of the world's GDP, and the intangible capital of the American nation (the operation of its institutions, its human capital, its civic capital) is the greatest in the world.

Naturally, that huge might, real and potential, accumulated over centuries, will gradually deteriorate if the nation continues to spend more than it produces, if its government substitutes the market as a form of assigning resources, and if society surrenders to the protectionist temptation that is seen today among many public figures and influential communications media.

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