After four decades of doctrinal and pragmatic concessions to the neoliberal roller, the economist Thomas Piketty and his work on inequality have been revitalizing the debate of social democracy theorists. To talk about the author and the concept of “economic democracy”, the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, and the of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, in an act that ended up being a presentation of the main lines of the economic program of the Sumar political platform, which is sponsored by the latter. “Oligarchic powers undermine democracy,” said Diaz, who looked to the past, to the genesis of the Constitution and its promise of workers’ access to the means of production. “Democracy must be introduced in the world of business and work.”
The speech of The presentation of an issue of the magazine Topics for debate with articles on the ideas of the French economist “The elephant is always in the room”, charged Díaz, in an intervention full of rhetorical questions on behalf of the IBEX, big banking and energy companies. “Is what we are experiencing in our country democratic? He inquired, citing the contrast between the difficulties of the middle class to fill the shopping basket and the” 64,021 million profit of listed companies “. Also between energy poverty, which affects five million Spaniards, and the distribution of large dividends in companies in the sector, especially one “to which I do not name [Iberdrola]“that lags behind to give the INE the data that it demands for the calculation of the CPI”. Díaz continued: “Companies that invoice more than 1,000 million do not pay taxes at 5% on average, but at 3.8%. Is it democratic?
All this to insist that “it is essential that the social part be part of the nucleus where business decisions are made”, in a model to be defined but that will not be that of German co-management, “which is from 76”, nor that of Piketty, and that connects with article 129.2 of the Constitution, which speak of facilitating “the access of workers to the ownership of the means of production.” If workers had a say in business decisions, massive industrial relocations might not have been such, he argued.
The “new economic democracy” that Díaz proposes advocates for a State with an active role; some workers involved in the business future; an analysis of “time”, in the sense of leisure and rest, but also as an incentive for productivity; a response to the climate crisis in which you cannot “turn your back on the workers” without the risk of an explosion of the vote to the extreme right and a Europe that must definitively forget about austerity: “The best way to love it is change it,” he argued.
Díaz’s speech, almost a rally for economists, partially obscured the previous intervention of his colleague from the Council of Ministers. María Jesús Montero pointed out that Piketty’s ideas “sometimes can collide with the pragmatism of reality” and charged against the new scholarships for income of up to 100,000 euros proposed by the Community of Madrid, a “nonsense”, which points to the dismantling “of the main elements of modern societies”.
Montero defended publicly provided health systems against insurance systems, denying the validity of the “pretext of inefficiency” used against the former. “There is no one who for 1,500 euros per person and year gives a portfolio of services” like the one offered by the Spanish public health system. He also charged against the tax discourse of the PP and the accusation that “the State makes a fortune” at the expense of the citizen, recalling basic notions: “If taxes go down, collection goes down” and investments in infrastructure, security or innovation. “If they want a minimum state, let them say it clearly,” he summoned.