Antonio Garrigues Walker: Progress?


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I have received a compilation of 9,911 famous quotes (I do not know the reason for this number) and I have read several at random and among them the following two: “My conscience has more weight for me than the opinion of everyone”, by Cicero, and an anonymous man who says “intelligence is chasing me, but I am faster.” I am sure that there will be others that are deeper and more effective, but that is not the issue today. The reflection is to see human wisdom concentrated in this collection in a profound way and the limited capacity of society to generate more decisive progress throughout history. The question can be simplified as follows: we should no longer be convinced that

humanity needs to improve much faster and more profoundly if it is to successfully tackle its basic problems that are related to the accelerated increase in all inequalities.

It is dangerous to think that we have continued to make progress when it is already evident that there is a generalized discontent in the public at the entrenchment of situations that on many occasions already exceed the concept of unjust. It is true that in some areas there have been positive improvements, such as the role of women who, only because of their perseverance and effort, have been able to overcome ceilings and barriers that seemed invincible. But machismo continues to be a very negative factor in citizen coexistence, because it impoverishes democratic and economic quality, and because it shows a permanent trend towards cultural involution.

Spain currently needs much more audacity, much more ambition and much more self-confidence, because competition between countries is growing exponentially. Our politicians continue to abandon the search for new ideas and new solutions because they are hampered by the rigidity and poverty of the political debate between people and parties that disregard the importance of greatness of spirit in the fight for the common good. The debates are as a rule a game of childish aggressiveness, which can cause moral blush. More must be demanded of them to avoid an irreversible decline in their prestige and influence. The political establishment is a key factor in the sustainability of the system. In any case, we cannot resign ourselves or cower. Ignore those who enjoy dramatizing the situation and become, to attract attention, predictors of a global apocalypse. We are going to a better world in which the analog society will become a digital society and in which artificial intelligence will be decisive in improving the human condition.

We have known how to adapt and control changes of all kinds and of great importance and we will continue to do so naturally. We will have to create a new social pact and we will take a great leap forward. And we will. Extreme poverty has fallen by 75% in thirty years, although this is a meager consolation for the other 25%, an abusive percentage that can end health and even the existence of our liberal democracies. Hopefully not. But it is necessary to be concretizing programs that ensure in a reasonable way the worthy distribution of wealth without affecting competitiveness. We can console ourselves by thinking that we have made progress in many cultural, social and economic areas, but at some point it will have to be recognized that progress has been rather poor and very limited and, above all, intellectually unambitious. There are still too many subjects pending that will have to be passed with a grade if we want to talk, with the right title, about progress.

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Antonio Garrigues Walker is a lawyer

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