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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 24 settembre 2014 alle ore 13:48.
L'ultima modifica è del 15 ottobre 2014 alle ore 14:05.


I do not agree with all of the policies advocated by Cavallo or Hausmann, or any other policymaker for that matter. But should we really criminalize not corruption or self-dealing, but policy disagreements? Do we want every new government to jail its political opponents – as Ukraine’s deposed President Viktor Yanukovych did to former Prime Minister – because it rejects the policies they enacted or condemns the perceived outcomes?

We have not fallen so far yet in the United States. But even here, it has become far too common to impugn the motives and values, not just the ideas, of those with whom we disagree. Journalists, politicians, and public intellectuals who should know better routinely argue not just that policies and proposals are wrong-headed, but that the proponents themselves must be evil to have enacted or suggested them.

Criticism and disagreement should not be allowed to curdle into the hateful vitriol that demeans so much public discourse today. Words have consequences and can inflame thuggery or worse. Even attempted suppression of free and open debate, or official delegitimization of those with alternative policy proposals, is dangerous. Such outrages must be resisted, before more people like Cavallo and Hausmann are threatened – and before the disease spreads to North America and Europe.

Michael J. Boskin, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, was Chairman of George H. W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 to 1993.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2014.


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