Review of the Book "Wealth For All" (Riqueza Para Todos)

Carlos Sabillón has the solution to end poverty in Honduras in just four years, as he claims in his book “Wealth for All” (“Riqueza Para Todos”).

This economist says that the key to national wealth is to obtain fast rates of economic growth that would wipe unemployment and poverty in record time through a simple management of macroeconomic policy .

Carlos Sabillón has dedicated his life to a quest for the formula that would take Honduras out of poverty, and having collected several college degrees and doctorates, and learning several languages, all with the goal of solving this pressing problem, he believes he has now been able to find the formula for economic growth.

Sabillón calls his doctrine “manufacturism” because, according to his study of world economic history, all developed countries have in common the manufacturing sector as engine of development.

Sabillón debunks and discredits the mainstream academic economic theories on development, both of left and right leanings, and refutes with statistics the clichés of economic policy usually applied in Honduras and Latin America, and demonstrates convincingly that only fast economic growth is the answer to the problems of unemployment, health, education and crime.

Sabillón believes that the only ones to be blamed for the poverty of Honduras are the politicians who have ruled the country, which have been corrupt and ignorant in economic matters. He rejects the idea that Hondurans have a cultural inclination towards laziness, or that being a small country dooms the nation to eternal underdevelopment. Sabillón is fond of quoting the examples of countries such as Luxembourg, Switzerland, Singapore and Qatar, which are smaller than Honduras, but have achieved impressive rates of economic growth.

In his opinion, what Honduras needs is a wise and honest leader who would guide it towards development.

Many of the problems of Honduras can be solved with economic growth, so this issue should be of general interest, however, many Hondurans adopt a pessimistic attitude about the future of their country, thinking that economic issues are very complicated, and that there is no hope for the country; that is why Sabillón appeals in his book to the interests of various sectors, even of those who are not interested in economic issues.

He argues that economic growth can reduce crime and increase the space and time for recreation, allowing more opportunities to find a romantic partner. For those who live the passion for soccer, the national sport, Sabillón says that economic growth would allow Honduras to host the FIFA World Cup, and even become a soccer super power. For those who care about human rights and the rights of women, Sabillón argues with figures, showing that human rights are more respected in countries with higher economic growth.

Sabillón has great faith in the ability of science to solve human problems, without falling into the trap of atheism, as do many others inclined to science. His inclination was always been toward the social sciences, although he is wary of the economic theories accepted in mainstream academic circles.

His focus on economic growth as the solution to social problems could give the impression of a crude economicism, but in fact he is quite the opposite. He does not believe that each person should seek only his own good, and that as a result the market system would magically produce an optimal level of social welfare. His own life bears witness of selfless service to humanity. He does not believe that money is the most important thing in life, but to serve others; and is science, not money, the thing that has improved the standards of living of Humankind.

This book consist of a series of articles independent of each other, all with the common theme of economic development focused on Honduras. At the end of the book he tells the story of his life, recounting his heroic quest for the solution to poverty through economic science.

My Criticism

I sympathize with Sabillón’s criticism towards the academic establishment of Economics, but I think that his book does not explain his doctrine of “manufacturism”, not even in an sketchy way. He keeps repeating that the manufacturing sector is the key to development, but does not explain what government policies should be applied to stimulate the manufacture, producing those amazing growth rates of 30% annually, that he promises.

His articles stimulate the curiosity and desire to learn more about the doctrine of manufacturism, but that curiosity is never fully satisfied. Nor any references can be found to a further development of the theory, although Sabillón says he has discussed his ideas with many experts in the field of economic growth, and has defeated them intellectually.

Throughout the book one can understand that Sabillón believes he is the best person to lead Honduras towards prosperity, because only he has the knowledge to produce economic growth at an accelerated rate, and only he has dedicated his life to seek the solution to the problems of Honduras. This statement may sound disturbing, for its lack of modesty, but that should be no reason to discard it. Sabillón tried to run for an independent presidential candidacy in Honduras, but failed for some reason.

Some parts of his biographical recount seem hard to believe, like when he says that after completing his studies in Economics he was offered a job that was about visiting luxury hotels.

In general, Sabillón seems to show a tendency towards narcissism, i.e., he seems to hold an exaggerated conception of his own importance, but it is easy to see that if his claims are true the implications are enormous.

The theory that the manufacturing sector is the most important seems to suggest that the government should concentrate the social investment in this sector at the expense of other areas such as health and education. This notion would surely be rejected by people on the Left. Also a government incursion as an entrepreneur in the field of manufacture may be rejected by right-wing sectors.