Argentine democracy is in a worrying state, and not only because of the weak respect that the current government shows regarding democratic and republican principles, division of powers, regard for justice and freedom of the press. These problems are complex and politics by itself is trying to solve them in an institutionalized way. Parallel to this political problem, a more invisible but no less dangerous threat to democracy emerges. It refers to the growing disbelief in democracy in a large part of society due to increasing poverty, unemployment and the decline in all parameters of social welfare. Surveys show that many Argentines feel “cheated” by the democratic system that after almost 40 years since the restoration of democracy has not been able to resolve the most pressing economic problems: inflation, poverty, unemployment, insecurity.
In this sense, it is imperative that the public sector understands the need to revitalize the private sector to generate work and production, not only because of the economic value it represents, but also because of the enormous political importance of emerging from this recession. That Argentina does not plunge into a crisis of political representation and perhaps into the threat of anarchy or undemocratic authoritarianism depends on whether it can overcome the current economic crisis: and this will only be achieved if the private sector is stronger.
Unfortunately, the current state of affairs harms the private sector: the State weakens Argentine companies with regulations, taxes and laws that discourage investment. The good news, if you will, is paradoxically that the situation is so dramatic that society is beginning to take note of the need to bestow SMEs a new leading role.
In this sense, the País PyME program has been a predominant actor in the public debate, in the training of Argentine companies and in the proposal of better public policies for them. The program has achieved great success in training the country’s SMEs in tools that enable them to improve its productivity and competitiveness in the context of an economy in crisis, attempting to take advantage of the opportunities that digital education offers. Likewise, País PyME has managed to create awareness in the political establishment of the importance of the SME sector in terms of production, employment and social welfare, as well as the need to carry out economic, fiscal and labor reforms that allow further development by the private initiative.
At the end of last year there were important mid-term elections and many of the policies that Congress is discussing today have been promoted by the País PyME teams. In this sense, this document intends to serve as a guide available for any political party that wants to work to improve the situation of SMEs in the country and to carry out the concrete reforms that would allow its productive potential to be released. This text completes the efforts undertaken through more than a hundred meetings held between private sector leaders from around the country whereby training sessions, networking sessions and the development of public policy proposals were carried out.