Como diz o artigo, "foreign ownership makes each UK firm 50 per cent more productive. Such firms employ only 15 per cent of the UK workforce, but account for 30 per cent of the country's productivity growth - and 50 per cent of R&D spending, which is a staggering five times higher under foreign ownership."
Certas coisas são tão eloquentes, tão evidentes, que não existem contra-argumentos econômicos.
Não só a Grã-Bretanha -- que estava doente antes de Margaret Thatcher -- está doente novamente.
O Brasil também padece da mesma doença.
Quando é que vamos nos curar?
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Can we cure the British disease?
When Theresa May became Prime Minister, one of her first promises was (as the Daily Mail put it) to protect our “City icons” from “foreign vultures”.
It’s a widely shared complaint. From our rail companies to our energy companies, from London property to Cadbury’s chocolate, we’ve let asset-stripping foreigners make off with the family silver. And with the plunge in the pound due to Brexit, the problem is only going to get worse.
But there’s another way of looking at it - which is that the simplest way to make this country more prosperous would be to gift-wrap those City icons and flog the lot.
That is the implication of a new blog from two Bank of England economists. It points out that, controlling for everything else, foreign ownership makes each UK firm 50 per cent more productive. Such firms employ only 15 per cent of the UK workforce, but account for 30 per cent of the country's productivity growth - and 50 per cent of R&D spending, which is a staggering five times higher under foreign ownership.
Productivity isn’t everything. But as Paul Krugman says, in the long run, it’s almost everything. It is higher productivity that drives improvements in wages, living standards and prosperity. Andrew Haldane, also of the Bank of England, points out that if productivity had remained flat since 1850, we would be only twice as rich as the Victorians. Instead, we are 20 times better off.
And this is the single biggest problem with Britain’s economy. Since the financial crisis, the UK has created jobs at an enviable rate. But the flipside is that productivity has flatlined. Between 1950 and 2008, it grew at an average of 1.7 per cent a year. Since then, it has fallen by 0.36 per cent a year. The latest figures, released this week, only confirm the trend.
These are statistics that should set not alarm bells ringing, but whacking great air raid klaxons. Because the global economy is polarising, as Haldane points out, between the productive and the unproductive – between “frontier” firms and countries, which make full use of the latest technological and managerial innovations, and laggards.
As Britain slips towards the back of the productivity pack, it becomes a place that relies not on the dynamism of its workers, but the fact they are dirt cheap - which is not a comfortable or sustainable position to be in.
So how do we fix this - apart from inviting in those foreign “vultures” to teach us how to be proper capitalists?
One solution suggested by Sir Charlie Mayfield’s official Productivity Review is to make firms aware of the problem. Just as each of us thinks we are an above-average driver, every firm tends to think of itself as well run. Confront executives with the figures, and they will sharpen up their act.
We also need to expose firms to the global market. Companies that export tend to be more productive than those who don’t. That's why some Brexiteers saw a Leave vote as a form of shock therapy - a way to force complacent British firms to shape up.
But this is a policy challenge that stretches beyond company management. We need better education and training. We need greater investment in IT. And above all, we need workers to be in the right places.
One of the most interesting laws of population is that productivity, like many other things, scales up with community size. Huddersfield will never be as productive as London, simply because it is smaller.
So one reason Britain's housing crisis has inflicted such devastating economic harm is that low housebuilding and high house prices have pushed workers away from the most productive parts of the country, trapping them in towns and jobs where they cannot reach their economic potential.
A new Resolution Foundation study confirms that the young are decreasingly likely to move for work - which means the British economy is getting even worse at marrying people to the most productive jobs, and giving them the highest possible salaries.
Britain was once known as the sick man of Europe. Today, we are still sick. And low productivity is our crippling disease.