A ministry of human capital, by Josep Maria Ruiz Simon | Entertainment | The USA Print

Lakoff's elephant, by Josep Maria Ruiz Simon

The victory of Javier Milei in the Argentine primaries has led to a certain debate about the divergences between the approaches of the extreme right that are gaining positions in Europe and America. And since, in general, the protectionist and interventionist touches of these approaches are overstated to the detriment of their important elements of continuity with respect to the traditional proposals of the liberal-conservatives in economic and social policy, there has been a tendency to underline the spectacularly neoliberal orientation of the State reform plan presented by Milei himself as if rowing in a completely opposite direction.

One of the points that has stood out the most in its program, which proposes to drastically reduce the weight of the State and eliminate most of the existing ministries, is the creation of a new ministry of human capital to replace those of Labor, Health and Education. . To understand the meaning of the proposal, it is advisable not to lose sight of the fact that it is articulated with other measures, such as the school voucher, which aim to leave behind the way of understanding public services characteristic of the social State and fundamentally rethink the role of the government in these areas. The theory of human capital, forged to erode the classic conception of the welfare state, invites us to think of individuals as entrepreneurs of themselves who can benefit from the capabilities they have and the skills they acquire. And the school voucher is an education financing system that presupposes this theory and in which the government “invests in the human capital” of citizens by assigning an amount to the families of their future entrepreneurs to enroll their children. in the public, private or subsidized centers they choose, so that the centers receive more or less money depending on the students they manage to recruit. Both that theory and this method were promoted decades ago by the Chicago neoliberal school of Gary Becker and Milton Friedman, who, in their defense of the check, enshrined the demagogic discourse on “the freedom to choose”, the same one used by Vox, which, although it does not waste time talking about human capital, has turned this financing system into the flagship of its educational proposal.

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It is important not to lose sight of the fact that this proposal is articulated with other measures, such as the school voucher

Unlike his supposed disciple and the Chicago boys , the libertarian economist Murray Rothbard, who is described as Milei’s main ideological reference, was against the school voucher, which he considered interventionist and very illiberal. He defined it as a program financed by taxes to favor private schools. As could be seen in the Chilean dictatorship that was imposed half a century ago yesterday, the social policies of the Chicago school have always combined well with the extreme conservatisms that want to enhance the role of religion in the State.