terça-feira, 24 de março de 2009

Andrei Shleifer e a Era de Milton Friedman

As conclusões do novo artigo de Andrei Shleifer, onde ele compara interpretações diferentes sobre as causas do crescimento econômico e da prosperidade (texto ressaltado por mim):

"The last quarter century of world development has presented economists interested in economic policy with many complex challenges. To name a few, economies moving
from socialism to capitalism and embracing market policies at first collapsed, and began
growing only after three to six years. The rapidly growing and heavily market oriented
Asian economies suffered major setbacks in the late 1990s, with major recessions that
slowed them down for at least a couple of years. The economies of South America
embraced budget discipline and privatization in the 1980s and 1990s, yet showed truly
lackluster economic growth. Importantly, many of these regions ended the era in a
spurt of rapid economic growth, but the troubles along the way raised questions
about appropriate tactics of policy reform.

Grappling with these questions improved our understanding of the workings of market economies, and of interactions between the state and the private sector. Transition has
taught us that economic and political disorganization, combined with obsolete human
capital of both economic agents and politicians, can sharply slow down the economic
turnaround. The Asian crisis has reinforced the centrality of the financial system in the
workings of a market economy, and exposed the vulnerability of that system to financial
bubbles and generally imprudent financial arrangements. The Latin American experience
has laid bare the fact that private ownership and fiscal prudence yield only limited benefits in a regime of overbearingtaxation and regulation. All these episodes taught important lessons for the tactics of economic policy making.

Perhaps the crux of these lessons is to focus
on the right problem. The two areas of the world facing most dramatic economic challenges today are Africa and Latin America. When thinking about their growth performance, surely the most obvious problem is the lack of new businesses and investment, particularly in the formal sector. It seems highly unlikely that the central challenges have to do with whether inflation should be above or below 10 percent (so long as public deficits are under control), or whether there should be a 0 or 1 percent transaction tax on capital flows (so long as capital markets are broadly open). It seems obvious that the central challenges have to do with the shortages of human capital, and with predatory regulatory and tax policies conducted by African and Latin American states. Indeed, my feeling is that reducing the burdens of (particularly corporate) taxation and regulation, and replacing extremely inefficient regulations with more appropriate ones, are the
central challenges facing many developing countries today. The World Bank has properly
drawn attention to the necessary reforms through its Doing Business report, and we
have seen significant steps toward progress, especially among transition economies.
But tactics is only part of a broader strategy. On strategy, economics got the right
answer: free market policies, supported but not encumbered by the government, deliver
growth and prosperity. And while a lot has been accomplished in the last quarter century,
a lot remains to be done. Most countries have embraced responsible fiscal policies, but it is
far from clear that such policies can survive the volatility in the world’s economy. World
trade has a long way to go to become truly open. Many developing countries, especially in
South Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa, urgently need government much less
hostile to business. Many countries desperately need improvements in their legal systems,
including bankruptcy systems, to secure property rights. Indeed, many Sub-Saharan
African countries are rethinking their development strategies, after several state-centered
false starts. It is far from a foregone conclusion that their governments will make good
choices. We have a long haul ahead of us."

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