Politics as Usual
Huancayo, Peru, 23 January 2006
The remains of political posters for Angel Mendoza Poves, who ran for Candidato a la Presidencia Regional de Junín. In Peru, many run on platforms of helping the poor, but do little once they are in office. The problem is many of the laws are written to benefit specific offices, which are another way of promoting corruption. In Peru, as in many developing countries, market economies have a difficult time flourishing because the system is defined by the supply and demand for monopoly rights by means of laws, regulations, taxes, subsidies and licenses. The fallout of these privileges creates a wall of legal barriers that exclude the poor. The class warfare being waged is not a horizontal line between worker and entrepreneurs, but rather a vertical one, to the right of which are politicians, bureaucrats, and businessmen who profit and live off of the government’s favor and to the left are the legal and extralegal producers who are excluded from favor. It takes on average 13 years for an entrepreneur to overcome the legal and administrative hurdles required to build a retail food market that would help to take vendors off of the street; twenty six months to operate a new bus route; and nearly a year, working six hours a day to gain the legal authorization to operate a sewing machine for commercial purpose.