It was the best of times

It was the best of times

Leopoldo Mitre – May 11, 2015

This is how Charles Dickens described, in History of two cities, a time full of changes and uncertainty. It seemed that Mexico today is not far to look like the description of the unpredictable Europe of finals of the 13th century.


“It was the best of the times, was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness… it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness … we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we all were going direct to the Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”.

This way the incomparable english writer, Charles Dickens, describe in his novel A Tale of Two Cities, a time marked by changes and uncertainty: the period posterior to the French Revolution which was exactly a moment of paradoxical transformations in a society that for a long time remained slept. It seemed that Mexico, today, is not far to look like the description that Dickens gave us on the changeable Europe of finals of the 13th century.

On one hand, the political national scene accumulates an alarming series of scandals and problems of credibility, corruption and violence. And these are not only isolated cases, but of an endemic problematics that afflicts to the political system in practically all government levels. On the other hand, the so called ” Mexican moment ” has not died. It was already said by the journalist Carlos Mota, when he mentioned few days ago a several information that sustain the possibilities of Mexico: the growth is superior to that of similar nations, the good reputation which we enjoy as for the managing of the public finance sustained in the placements of bonds with on demand, our fast mechanisms of monetary and exchange adjustment; and certainly the well-known foreign investment in key sectors.

So our society well might be the portrait of Charles Dickens’s novel, only in another continent and 150 years later. Now then, the question that we must do is: how do we want these times to be?
It is true that the return of the PRI to the power brought also all the attributes – goods and wrongs- of the brand. It brought the experience and political know-how to extract forward a series of structural reforms in the legislative area that for years looked like an impossible task. But also brought a return of vices in corruption and a disdain to the legal frame that not only worries the Mexican society, but they stain worldwide the image of the country. It is not a coincidence that during the past edition of the WEF the Organization for the Cooperation and the Development Economic (OECD) has emphasized that the great slope in the series of structural reforms is the one relative to the judicial area.
Nevertheless it is also true that the economic, technological and social conditions are not the same that twenty years ago. So now is easier to fight, from the civil society and business fence, the inefficiencies or governmental abuses. We possess now Information Technologies (IT) that allow us to know in real time what happens. And not only that, also they allow us to make public our opinions and to exercise a counterweight with social opinion about the topics that the society consider as relevant. And the managerial world is exposed to a free market economy that does not depend exclusively on the governmental decisions.
In the last days Mexico hosted the Latin-American edition of the Economic World Forum (WEF). The conclusions were relevant: Latin America -Mexico included- will continue growing in spite of the difficult economic world conditions. Something that the Boston Consulting Group confirmed a few days ago when they published that “since the financial global crisis of 2008-2009, the Mexican economy has recovered and the expense of the consumer has increased 2.5 per cent every year …” and that “For 2018 we think that the annual compound growth will hasten to 4.1 per cent; and that 34.7 per cent of the homes will be able to qualify as middle class”.
We have to say that the economic opportunities  look favorable in spite the political and security problem that Mexico lives nowadays. In this context we have to be asking us if this growth will be charitable for all. Everyone could have his own bet, but if you ask me I would dare to affirm that not. The opportunities of growth will be only for those who are prepared: those that improve the productivity, invest in Technologies, bet for the competitiveness and that develop his collaborators will be those who could have better probabilities of harvesting the growth that is for coming.
It is not a secret that to live in a more interconnected and global world increases the risks of suffering immediately the waves of the economic earthquakes (does the case of the oil prices sound familiar?). Nevertheless, a global market also increases our opportunities to triumph on markets where we have strong competitive advantages. The experience of the successful countries us demonstrates that we must take the necessary measurements that make us more productive; the investment in infrastructure and in technology as well as education they are the factors that have taken them to the success. In our culture, the lack of investment in these items is partly what has left us behind.
As Dickens recounts, the changes present enormous challenges but also opportunities. To make this moment the best or the worst of the times is not only a responsibility of the government with the application of the “Structural Reforms”; it depends in major measure on us and the things we do in our companies.