September 04, 2009

Perfection is indeed the enemy of the good

Sir Samuel Brittan in “We do not prosper by income or happiness alone” September 4 writes about Amartya Sen book “The idea of justice” in which the author proposes, among other, the “the piecemeal removal of specific injustices in the absence of an ideal society. That is absolutely right.

In my book “Voice an Noise”, 2006, where I described some of my experiences as an Executive Director at the World Bank I held that, at sixty years of age, that institution “should perhaps be renewing its vows in order to move up from “knowledge” into wisdom and instead of trying to advance impossible agenda like justice and social responsibility might do better settling for fights much easier to monitor against injustices and social irresponsibility.

Also in El Universal, Caracas Venezuela, 2004 in “McPrisons” I wrote: “Justice is something very difficult to understand with precision, since it is situated along a continuum that becomes finite only when it reaches Divine Justice. On the other hand, injustices are much easier to identify and, in our countries, prisons themselves represent one of the greatest injustices. In terms of the use of scarce resources, as an economist I am convinced that programs of Judicial Reforms would be better served by improving prisons than by investing in Supreme Court buildings.”