Publicador de contenidos

Back to Autoengaño y realidad

Jaume Llopis, Professor, IESE, University of Navarra

Self-deception and reality

Wed, 19 May 2010 10:28:39 +0000 Published in El Economista (Madrid)

Jean Paul Sartre said that people have a great capacity for self-deception. He said: "I lie to myself. Myself first of all. It is indispensable for me to be my first deceived".

And to be honest, what is totally true in our recent political, social and business environment? Even though a lie repeated a thousand times is still a lie, the catalog of falsehoods circulating on internship is extensive and many times these fallacies have become universally accepted axioms.

At the beginning of the crisis, more than two years ago, many politicians said that it did not exist and that, in any case, we would have a quick recovery. The real estate bubble, they said, was not a bubble and was dragging everyone - builders, businessmen and individuals - into massive debt in order to build and build, move to a better house, buy second homes, with the banks' jubilation, granting mortgages even though they knew that many were intended for ninjas (no income, no job, no assets), that is, for groups that did not have the means to make the payments, and that is where the subprime crisis was born.

The purchase of Cayenne Porsches reached its peak, and some, as the director of my bank office told me, in order not to stop paying the vehicle installments, had taken their children out of the private high school . The builders were getting rich by the bucketload and their images appeared in luxurious yachts and close to political power. Business schools were training monsters who went to work on Wall Street or in the City with very high salaries.

We continue to delude ourselves into thinking that the merger of savings banks is the panacea for their competitiveness. And it has been proven that merging two or more savings banks does not get us anywhere. We deceive ourselves with the misnamed mergers, since it has been demonstrated that the expected synergies do not occur and it has been proven that of the mergers that have taken place in the world in the last ten years, 70 percent of the results obtained two years after the operation are inferior to those obtained when the companies operated separately.

The misnamed merger between Iberia and British Airways is currently in the news. In fact, it is British that absorbs Iberia, for the simple reason that it holds the majority of the capital of the resulting business and the real organs of power are moved to London. And, in my opinion, it is a big mistake to eliminate the brands and replace them, as they say, with a new flag that will be called with the unattractive and generic name of International Airlines. How much easier, safer, cheaper and more visible it would be to keep British-Iberia.

In short, we continue self-deception, instead of returning to reality, to the real Economics , to that of supporting entrepreneurs, to that of encouraging the creation of small and medium-sized companies, to the training of our young people and middle management in traditional trades, to the promotion of the well-done work , to banish speculation and enrichment at any cost. It is again a self-deception to proclaim that we are going to change our productive model . The reality of our industrial fabric, now and always, are the manufacturing, food, metallurgical, etc., SMEs that proliferate in Catalonia, Valencia, Basque Country, Andalusia, Galicia, etc., and the obligation of our politicians and bankers is to facilitate them the credit to continue investing and exporting as the great majority of them know how to do very well.

Our Economics is also largely based on tourism, which we have, for better or worse, and which we must promote at all costs, as well as sectors of activity where Spain has true leaders and specialists, such as healthcare.

We deceive ourselves when we give subsidies or promote and support restructurings and lay-offs in sectors and companies where we do not have competitive advantages, and the experience of sectors such as the textile, steel or shipbuilding industries has shown that without competitive strategies and products there is no future, no matter how much aid and restructuring we do.

Getting back to reality and stopping self-deception is essential to continue creating employment. That the banks finally take out all the skeletons they still have in their closets and regain confidence among themselves so that money can circulate. Let the politicians work together to overcome the crisis, instead of thinking only of their own partisan interests. Let them take the necessary measures, even if they are drastic and unpopular, supported by all parties, employers and unions.

Let us stop, once and for all, deceiving ourselves and deceiving the citizens.