Summary of Macario Schettino Conferencia Magistral 2022 "La Incertidumbre en el Mundo y el México"

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00:00:00 - 01:00:00

In this YouTube video, Macario Schettino delivers a master lecture on the topic of uncertainty in the world and Mexico, highlighting various aspects and challenges associated with it. He discusses the inclination towards focusing on threats rather than opportunities due to our evolutionary instincts. Schettino identifies four sources of uncertainty: understanding existence, knowing what is right to do, and what one should do, and emphasizes the need to differentiate between them. He also delves into the role of storytelling and narratives in addressing societal problems, the impact of cognitive dissonance and information overload, and the historical patterns of societal changes and conflicts. Additionally, Schettino touches on wealth accumulation, decision-making processes, and political landscapes in Mexico, expressing concerns about the current government's decisions, investment decline, and potential negative future consequences. He concludes by highlighting the importance of addressing anxiety and uncertainty, as well as implementing effective projects and solutions in Mexico.

  • 00:00:00 In this section, Macario Schettino discusses the uncertainty and changes occurring in the world and Mexico. He highlights the increase in phenomena that were not previously observed, such as the regression of democracy, trade, and the rise in violence. Schettino emphasizes that the main concern is uncertainty, as humans dislike not knowing what will happen and fear losing. He explains that uncertainty is different from risk, as it involves unexpected events that were previously unimaginable. Schettino suggests that our inclination towards focusing on threats rather than opportunities stems from evolution, where our ancestors who recognized and reacted to dangers survived. He also identifies four sources of uncertainty: understanding existence, knowing what is right to do, and what one should do. The first two sources relate to knowledge, while the latter two involve rules and guidelines. Schettino emphasizes the importance of differentiating between these sources as the first group can be resolved through gathering and organizing information, whereas the latter two require a different approach.
  • 00:05:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the importance of storytelling and narratives in society. He explains that knowledge and information alone cannot solve complex issues, but rather it is through stories and narratives that societal problems can be addressed. These stories are specific to the society in which they are created and cannot be accumulated or universally applied. The speaker also highlights the changing nature of morality and rules, which can lead to uncertainty and anxiety when one is unsure of what is right or what actions should be taken. He uses the example of the COVID-19 pandemic to illustrate how moral beliefs can influence people's behaviors and decision-making, independent of factual information. The speaker then introduces the concept of dual decision-making systems, where humans have both an emotional and rational system. The emotional system, referred to as System 1, is efficient and automatic but can lead to impulsive decisions. On the other hand, the rational system, referred to as System 2, requires effort and time to process information and make logical decisions. However, humans tend to default to the emotional system due to factors like threats, biases, and convenience.
  • 00:10:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the concept of cognitive dissonance, which occurs when reality doesn't match our expectations, leading to confusion and a lack of understanding. He also mentions the possibility of an information overload, where too much information overwhelms our ability to process it. The speaker highlights that these factors, along with changes in communication technology, have driven societal transformations over the past 500 years. He explains how the invention of the printing press in the 15th century brought about a clash of ideas and religious wars, followed by the Enlightenment and the development of a more rational and prosperous world. However, he warns that with each new technological shift, societies can be pulled back into cycles of irrationality and fear. Overall, the transcript excerpt highlights the interplay between cognitive dissonance, information overload, and the impact of communication technology on societal change.
  • 00:15:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the pattern of societal changes and conflicts that have occurred over the past 500 years. He highlights how periods of scientific progress, economic growth, and democracy have often been followed by periods of emotional turmoil and violence. He emphasizes the role of communication advancements, such as mass media and social media, in shaping societal moralities and triggering conflicts. The speaker points out that each era is built upon a fundamental idea, whether it be faith, reason, nature, or science, and that these ideas shape the compatible political systems. He argues that the current era is experiencing a significant shift in moral values, resulting in societal division and violence. The speaker uses historical examples to illustrate this pattern and expresses concern about how societies are dealing with this change.
  • 00:20:00 In this section, Macario Schettino discusses how during different historical cycles, such as positivism, totalitarianism, and neoliberalism, the initial phase is marked by uncertainty, fear, and the creation of fictitious communities. People choose irresponsible, authoritarian leaders out of fear, not realizing that those leaders will ultimately abuse their power. This pattern can be seen throughout history, including in Mexico's choice of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2018. Schettino explains that after this phase of turmoil, there is a period of economic growth, trade, democracy, and poverty reduction. However, when we reach a certain point, the fear resurfaces, leading to societal disruption. The current cycle is heavily influenced by social media and the creation of communities based on identity markers, which goes against the principles of democracy and freedom. This global phenomenon manifests not only in Mexico but also in many other countries. Schettino concludes by pointing out that over the course of 500 years, despite these cycles, society has made significant progress. He uses the painting "Matrimonio Arnolfini" by Jan van Eyck as an example of societal change during the Renaissance, highlighting how private wealth accumulation became accepted and legitimate.
  • 00:25:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the historical context of wealth accumulation and how it changed over time. He mentions that in the past, individuals couldn't become wealthy privately due to religious or state interference. However, in the 15th century, the idea of accumulating wealth independently emerged in the Netherlands and spread to other countries, leading to the Industrial Revolution in Britain. This shift in wealth management dramatically transformed the way we live today. The speaker highlights the exponential reduction of poverty in the last 200 years and praises the advancements in wealth generation, poverty reduction, trade expansion, and the promotion of democracy and human rights. He argues that decentralizing decision-making is crucial because when power is concentrated in one person, decisions become self-serving, focusing on retaining power rather than benefiting society. In Mexico's history, for example, when power was concentrated in one person, the main objective of others was to replace them. This ultimately leads to poor decision-making.
  • 00:30:00 In this section, Macario Schettino argues that the reason why Mexico was not successful in the 20th century is because the decision-making process in the country prioritized maintaining power rather than promoting development. He claims that this problem is still evident in the current government's decisions, which have been detrimental to investment and economic growth. Schettino points out that Mexico's investment index has significantly declined since 2013, with the pandemic exacerbating the situation. He emphasizes that without sufficient investment, the economy cannot function properly, leading to a stagnation in Mexico's economic growth. Schettino also highlights the negative impact on job creation and wages, with the average real salary growth lagging behind inflation. He warns that if this trend continues, Mexico may experience a destructive cycle of rising prices and stagnant wages, similar to what happened in the 70s and 80s.
  • 00:35:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the impact of minimum wage increases on real wages in Mexico. They highlight that despite significant increases in minimum wage during this administration, the average wage has not seen significant growth. They argue that increasing the minimum wage may temporarily provide people with more money, but inflation quickly erodes that increase, resulting in stagnant economic growth. Additionally, they discuss the political landscape in Mexico, stating that a significant percentage of Mexicans decide to vote for either the PRI or the left, leaving little room for other parties. They emphasize that if these individuals continue to vote, there is no easy solution for those who don't want MORENA (AMLO's party) or the PRI to win. The speaker also mentions the composition of the Chamber of Deputies, highlighting how the president's coalition initially had a majority but lost it in the 2021 elections.
  • 00:40:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the political landscape in Mexico and the potential challenges faced by the current president. They highlight the president's need for a simple majority in the Chamber of Deputies and how this reliance on the Green Party may backfire since the party tends to sell itself to the highest bidder. The speaker also mentions potential successors to the president, including Claudia and Marcelo, but notes that they both have their own issues. The speaker then introduces Adán Augusto as a potential successor and explains the dynamics between him and the president. However, they express doubt that Augusto would obediently follow the president's orders if he were to win. The speaker emphasizes the importance of the upcoming election and how it will determine the future of Mexico, commending the Mexican people for voting and maintaining effective suffrage. Lastly, the speaker discusses the current political parties in Mexico and the importance of continuing to count the votes and preserve democracy.
  • 00:45:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the political actors in Mexico and their positions on the uncertainty map. He explains that the traditional left-right paradigm is no longer relevant and instead uses a matrix with beliefs on the horizontal axis and rules on the vertical axis to position people. He identifies four spaces - anarchy where there are no rules or certainty, demagogy where there are beliefs but no rules, the normal space where there are rules and beliefs, and the space of creation where there is uncertainty but with rules. The speaker then places Mexican political actors on this map, including Marcelo, the Bolivarians, Claudia Sheinbaum's group, and the Montreal group. He also highlights the power concentrated in one person, similar to what happened in Argentina with Juan Domingo Perón, and warns about the dangers of such concentration of power.
  • 00:50:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the organized subversion in Mexico and the political landscape in 2018, foreseeing a move towards demagoguery. The Mexican government's demand for an apology from the King of Spain for the conquest is seen as influenced by López Obrador's wife and her chavista group. However, the speaker acknowledges that the 2021 elections brought about changes, with Marcelo Ebrard's reputation tarnished and the Bolivarians losing influence. The speaker also notes the growth of the PAN and PRI parties, leading López Obrador to form a coalition between Claudia Sheinbaum's technocrats and his wife's chavistas. But this coalition is losing popularity in Mexico City, and the speaker believes that the opposition coalition, as long as it remains united, has a good chance of winning in 2024. The key factor for victory is a leader who can maintain coalition unity and inspire voters, regardless of their appearance or moral character.
  • 00:55:00 In this section, Macario Schettino discusses the current political landscape in Mexico and highlights the challenges faced by opposition candidates. He emphasizes the importance of coalition building and predicts that significant changes could occur within the next year. Schettino also raises concerns about the country's finances, pointing out that the government is spending more than it has, leading to a growing deficit. He mentions the warnings issued by credit rating agencies and expresses doubt about the government's ability to manage its finances effectively. Schettino anticipates a fiscal crisis in the near future, similar to what occurred in previous decades. However, he acknowledges that the exchange rate system in Mexico has evolved, providing some stability. Despite this, he believes that without a change in direction, the current administration will struggle to end its term on a positive note. Schettino suggests two possible paths forward: forming stronger partnerships with the United States to attract investment or reverting to the 2003 energy reform, which the current president opposes. He concludes by expressing the need to address the uncertainty and anxiety faced by the Mexican population, as well as the ineffective projects implemented by the government.

01:00:00 - 01:00:00

Macario Schettino discusses three philosophical schools that can help us navigate uncertain times in his "La Incertidumbre en el Mundo y el México" conference. The first school emphasizes accepting the impermanence of everything and practicing serenity and patience. The Stoics, belonging to the second school, advise us to focus on our immediate environment and not worry about things beyond our control. The Epicureans, in the third school, propose embracing uncertainty and being flexible to adapt to a changing world. Schettino highlights that we have the power to choose our attitude towards the present moment and suggests that these philosophical perspectives can offer valuable guidance. Ultimately, he encourages us to view uncertainty as an opportunity for creativity and growth rather than a source of anxiety.

  • 01:00:00 In this section, Macario Schettino discusses three philosophical schools that can help us navigate uncertain times. The first school suggests accepting that everything, both good and bad, comes to an end, and encourages serenity and patience. The second school, the Stoics, advise against worrying about things beyond our control and focusing on our immediate environment. The third school, the Epicureans, propose embracing uncertainty and being flexible in order to adapt to a changing world. Schettino emphasizes that we can choose our attitude towards the present moment and suggests that these philosophical perspectives offer valuable guidance. Ultimately, he encourages us to understand that uncertainty is not a source of anxiety, but rather an opportunity for creativity and growth.

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