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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

domingo, 22 de outubro de 2006

631) Sobre o papel do Estado no desempenho economico e social

Primeiro a transcrição de um artigo do conhecido economista de Columbia University Jeffrey Sachs:


The Social Welfare State, beyond Ideology
Are higher taxes and strong social "safety nets" antagonistic to a prosperous market economy? The evidence is now in
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
Scientific American, October 16, 2006

Link para o artigo: http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=000AF3D5-6DC9-152E-A9F183414B7F0000

One of the great challenges of sustainable development is to combine society's desires for economic prosperity and social security. For decades economists and politicians have debated how to reconcile the undoubted power of markets with the reassuring protections of social insurance. America's supply-siders claim that the best way to achieve well-being for America's poor is by spurring rapid economic growth and that the higher taxes needed to fund high levels of social insurance would cripple prosperity.

Austrian-born free-market economist Friedrich August von Hayek suggested in the 1940s that high taxation would be a "road to serfdom," a threat to freedom itself.

Most of the debate in the U.S. is clouded by vested interests and by ideology. Yet there is by now a rich empirical rec-ord to judge these issues scientifically. The evidence may be found by comparing a group of relatively free-market economies that have low to moderate rates of taxation and social outlays with a group of social-welfare states that have high rates of taxation and social outlays.

Renda per capita Taxa de Orçamento Taxa de Investimento em
US$ PPP Desemprego Superavit Pobreza P&D (% do PIB)

Paises 48.500 5,2 0,2 12,6 1,8
"Ingleses"
Paises 50.700 6,3 4,2 5,6 3,0
Nordicos
Dados da OCDE (médias nacionais)

Not coincidentally, the low-tax, high-income countries are mostly English-speaking ones that share a direct historical lineage with 19th-century Britain and its theories of economic laissez-faire. These countries include Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. The high-tax, high-income states are the Nordic social democracies, notably Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, which have been governed by left-of-center social democratic parties for much or all of the post–World War II era. They combine a healthy respect for market forces with a strong commitment to antipoverty programs. Budgetary outlays for social purposes average around 27 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the Nordic countries and just 17 percent of GDP in the English-speaking countries.

On average, the Nordic countries outperform the Anglo-Saxon ones on most measures of economic performance. Poverty rates are much lower there, and national income per working-age population is on average higher. Unemployment rates are roughly the same in both groups, just slightly higher in the Nordic countries. The budget situation is stronger in the Nordic group, with larger surpluses as a share of GDP.

The Nordic countries maintain their dynamism despite high taxation in several ways. Most important, they spend lavishly on research and development and higher education. All of them, but especially Sweden and Finland, have taken to the sweeping revolution in information and communications technology and leveraged it to gain global competitiveness. Sweden now spends nearly 4 percent of GDP on R&D, the highest ratio in the world today. On average, the Nordic nations spend 3 percent of GDP on R&D, compared with around 2 percent in the English-speaking nations.

The Nordic states have also worked to keep social expenditures compatible with an open, competitive, market-based economic system. Tax rates on capital are relatively low. Labor market policies pay low-skilled and otherwise difficult-to-employ individuals to work in the service sector, in key quality-of-life areas such as child care, health, and support for the elderly and disabled.

The results for the households at the bottom of the income distribution are astoundingly good, especially in contrast to the mean-spirited neglect that now passes for American social policy. The U.S. spends less than almost all rich countries on social services for the poor and disabled, and it gets what it pays for: the highest poverty rate among the rich countries and an exploding prison population. Actually, by shunning public spending on health, the U.S. gets much less than it pays for, because its dependence on private health care has led to a ramshackle system that yields mediocre results at very high costs.

Von Hayek was wrong. In strong and vibrant democracies, a generous social-welfare state is not a road to serfdom but rather to fairness, economic equality and international competitiveness.

Link para a tabela: http://www.sciam.com/media/inline/000AF3D5-6DC9-152E-A9F183414B7F0000_chart.gif


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Comentarios iniciais de Paulo Roberto de Almeida:
22 outubro 2006
Minha impressao primeira é que nao se pode tomar o Estado como algo dado e imutavel ao longo do tempo e que não se pode partir da suposição de seu papel, funcoes e caracteristicas sempre permancem os mesmos, entre as sociedades e dentro das sociedades.

A sentenca final de Sachs, de que “Hayeck está errado”, só poderia ser aceita se estivessemos falando do MESMO ESTADO, o que claramente não é o caso, pois existem tantos Estados quanto existem sociedades, e suas formas de intervencao respondem e expressam realidades muito diferentes nos diferentes contextos de organizacao economica e social, de comportamentos coletivos, de graus de socializacao e de escolarizacao, e uma infinidade de outras variaveis que nao podem ser reduzidas a um tipo unico, imutavel e imperturbavel, de Estado.

A divinizacao ou demonizacao do Estado sao ambas erradas e claramente inadequadas quando se analisa o seu desempenho social ao longo da historia.

Os Estados nao podem ser isolados e testados em laboratorio, o que implica que os resultados quantitativos, os indicadores economicos nao podem ser tomados como expressando uma realidade social total.
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