An interesting opinion piece appeared in La Prensa this week from economist Franklin Arias that caught my attention. Although the public debt is minuscule by U.S. standards, it is significant in its increase per capita when coupled with the lack of real change in the lives of many Panamanians. I whole heartedly agree with Mr. Arias.
Machine translated from La Prensa:
Debt, not so good!
Franklin N. Arias *
Opinion. Apart from how much you owe as a person or entrepreneur, do you know how much you owe as a citizen?
Here are the numbers. The Comptroller reported (La Prensa, 28 December) that the final population number is 3,405,813 according to the 2010 Census of Panama. The Press reported on January 20, according to the MEF, the public debt at the end of 2010 is 11.629 billion, meaning that each one of us (man, woman, boy, girl, rich, poor, worker, employer, retired or unemployed) has an average personal debt of $ 3,415.
The figures from 1970 to 2000 are these: In 1970, 1.5 million Panamanians, with a public debt of only 230 million (average $ 152 per capita) in 1980, 1.9 million Panamanians, with a debt of 2,900 million ($ 1.519 per person) in 1990, 2.4 million Panamanians, with a debt of 6,400 million ($ 2.691 per person), and in 2000, 2.9 million, with debt 6500 million (2,225 per person).
The ballyhooed economic growth in the last four decades, has left us with a debt per capita has increased by 2.148%, and we are still an underdeveloped country.
Where will this debt in 2020? Have you created such a debt real or imaginary?
For too many compatriots the last 40 years have been an invisible change in quality of life for the sake Panama does have the third worst distribution of wealth in Latin America after Brazil and Colombia, and the eleventh worst in the world, according to the UNDP (Financial Capital November 27, 2010).
A gross domestic product growth that will not break that vicious cycle of debt is useless. We are not doing well, as the numbers do not lie!
The author holds a degree in political science and economics