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Mostrando postagens com marcador Deirdre McCloskey. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Deirdre McCloskey. Mostrar todas as postagens

domingo, 9 de fevereiro de 2020

New Book: "Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All" by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All 
Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

Copyright © 2019 by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey. 
Yale University Press 
For information, please e-mail sales.press@ yale.edu (U.S. office) or sales@ yaleup.co.uk (U.K. office). 
ISBN 978-0-300-23508-1



1. Modern Liberals Recommend Both Golden Rules, That Is, Adam Smith’s Equality of Opportunity 
2. Liberalism Had a Hard Coming 
3. Modern Liberals Are Not Conservatives, Nor Statists 
4. Liberals Are Democrats, and Markets Are Democratic 
5. Liberals Detest Coercion 
6. Liberalism Had Good Outcomes, 1776 to the Present 
7. Yet After 1848 Liberalism Was Weakened 
8. The “New Liberalism” Was Illiberal 
9. The Result of the New Illiberalism Was Very Big Governments 
10. Honest and Competent Governments Are Rare 
11. Deirdre Became a Modern Liberal Slowly, Slowly 
12. The Arguments Against Becoming a Liberal Are Weak 
13. We Can and Should Liberalize 
14. For Example, Stop “Protection” 
15. And Stop Digging in Statism 
16. Poverty Out of Tyranny, Not “Capitalist” Inequality, Is the Real Problem 
17. Humane Liberalism Is Ethical 

18. Liberty and Dignity Explain the Modern World 
19. China Shows What Economic Liberalism Can Do 
20. Commercially Tested Betterment Saves the Poor 
21. Producing and Consuming a Lot Is Not by Itself Unethical 
22. Trickle Up or Trickle Down Is Not How the Economy Works 
23. The Liberal Idea, in Short, Made the Modern World 

24. Forced Equality of Outcome Is Unjust and Inhumane 25. Piketty Is Mistaken 
26. Europe Should Resist Egalitarian Policies
27. Piketty Deserves Some Praise 
28. But Pessimism About Market Societies Is Not Scientifically Justified 
29. The Rich Do Not in a Liberal Society Get Rich at the Expense of the Rest 
30. Piketty’s Book Has Serious Technical Errors 
31. The Ethical Accounting of Inequality Is Mistaken 
32. Inequality Is Not Unethical If It Happens in a Free Society 
33. Redistribution Doesn’t Work 

34. The Clerisy Had Three Big Ideas, 1755–1848, One Good and Two Terrible 
35. The Economic Sky Is Not Falling 
36. The West Is Not Declining 
37. Failure Rhetoric Is Dangerous 
38. The Word “Capitalism” Is a Scientific Mistake 
39. Marxism Is Not the Way Forward 
40. Some on the Left Listen 
41. But They Have Not Noticed the Actual Results of Liberalism 
42. And Are Unwilling to Imagine Liberal Alternatives 
43. A Post-Modern Liberal Feminism Is Possible and Desirable 
44. Imperialism Was Not How the West Was Enriched 
45. Liberalism Is Good for Queers 
46. The Minimum Wage Was Designed to Damage Poor People and Women 47. Technological Unemployment Is Not Scary 
48. Youth Unemployment Is Scary, and Comes from Regulation 
49. Do Worry About the Environment, but Prudently 
50. Illiberalism, in Short, Is Fact Free, and Mostly Unethical 


Chapter 25 was first published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 2016. Chapter 35 was first published by Prospect magazine, March 2016. 

terça-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2020

McCloskey’s Brief Against Antiliberalism - James R. Rogers (Law & Liberty)

McCloskey’s Brief Against Antiliberalism

From its very title, Deirdre McCloskey’s new book takes up the mantle of liberalism’s cause against naysayers both left and right. Why Liberalism Worksplays off against Why Liberalism Failed, the title of the much-discussed book by Patrick Deneen. By “liberalism” McCloskey means classical liberalism of one version or another, the ideas which today’s anti-liberals often refer to as “neoliberalism.” McCloskey’s book is the place to start for a vigorous, easy-to-read, fact-based case for the significant benefits provided by market liberalism over the last 200 years.
I cannot recommend it more highly for both liberals and for critics of liberalism. Any reasonable case against liberalism must recognize the tradeoffs that will have to be borne by ordinary people—not just wealthy capitalists—if market liberalism is to be limited or rejected. At the same time, McCloskey shares the deafness of many liberals to antiliberal suggestions that the personal and social losses caused by the market’s “creative destruction” cannot be compensated by material gains, and that philosophical problems remain at liberalism’s core in which liberal principles can lead to illiberal outcomes.
The Great Expansion
McCloskey focuses on the staggering gains in income realized as a result of liberalism in the West and, indeed, realized throughout most of the world over the last two centuries. Most folks in the West recognize living standards have increased over the last century or two. Most underestimate the magnitude of the increase, and to a massive degree. In a poll of informed folk, most guessed that incomes in the U.S. have increased “by around fifty percent” since 1900. That guess is off by a factor of ten. In the last century, U.S. incomes have increased by a multiply of five to seven. Since 1800, per capita income in the U.S. has increased by a factor of 30.
McCloskey calls this the “great expansion.”
These gains are not confined to the West. Both right-wing and left-wing antiliberals habitually refer to incomes stagnating over the last generation, as if the U.S. experience of income stagnation is in fact a global phenomenon. First, incomes have not actually stagnated in the U.S. over the last generation. But it’s even more untrue of the world where over one billion people have escaped “extreme poverty” in the last thirty years. In 1960, half of the world’s populationlived in “extreme poverty.” Today about a tenth do, and this number keeps falling.
McCloskey underscores again and again that if one cares that the poorest among us have more to eat, then one ought to desire market liberalization, not oppose it.
McCloskey also aims several well-placed darts at arguments advanced by proponents of a postliberal order. Modern Romantic antiliberals tend to idealize social relationships that existed in aristocratic and other pre-modern hierarchical societies. They often ignore or minimize the dark side of these societies. Why the idealization in the first place? Neo-Romantic antiliberals of both left and right long for the humane manners of aristocratic societies, manners that leavened all classes of those societies, not simply the aristocratic class. Antiliberals reject liberal-democratic society because it does not, and cannot, generate those manners. Yet this idealization often results in antiliberals minimizing the constriction, even oppression, that also characterized those societies. Karl Polanyi, for example, makes only passing mention of the fact that the economy prior to The Great Transformation necessarily confined the movement of commoners to their lords’ estate. Milbank and Pabst similarly acknowledge only in passing that movement of workers would be restricted in the virtue-economy they envision. McCloskey provides a corrective against the romantic idealization of premodern social relationships, as if pre-modern hierarchical societies reflected only paternalistic nurturing.
McCloskey also makes the important point that many of the problems antiliberals ascribe to markets would be replicated in non-market social economies. Modern socialists seem ignorant of the extended debate in the 1930s over pricing and production decisions in socialist economies. This debate effectively ended with socialist economists conceding that centrally-controlled production decisions advancing the common good would necessarily replicate a market pricing system.
Oskar Lange, a socialist economist and communist functionary of note, declared that for Mises’s role in making the point clear, “a statue of Professor Mises ought to occupy an honorable place in the great hall of the Ministry of Socialization or of the Central Planning Board of the socialist state.”
So, too, non-market economies would need to take advantage of the efficiencies inherent in the division of labor and scale economies. While antiliberals may romanticize pre-modern small-is-beautiful economies, those economies can be replicated only with significantly lower living standards or a much smaller world population.
Of note as well, and contrary to antiliberal snarking on both the right and the left, is McCloskey’s observation that modern market economies do not in fact require ever-expanding consumption and debt in order to sustain themselves.
There are any number of additional points McCloskey makes in the book that any serious antiliberal will want to engage. I don’t mean that liberalism necessarily “wins.” But engaging McCloskey’s arguments, and the tradeoffs they imply, would create a more honest, more-productive debate over liberalism.
That said, there are several points at which I would challenge McCloskey’s argument.
Polanyi’s “Great Transformation” in Light of McCloskey’s “Great Expansion”
The first requires that we look across McCloskey’s work rather than simply within this book. There is an inconsistency in McCloskey’s treatment of the uniqueness of the period that saw the heyday of the rise of market liberalism. McCloskey identifies this heyday as occurring uniquely in the first half of the 1800s. Yet in other venues McCloskey takes Karl Polanyi to task for arguing for the historical uniqueness of market liberalization during this very same period.
This may seem an obscure quibble to take up. But Polanyi’s 1944 book, The Great Transformation, plays an outsized role in the arguments of today’s antiliberals on both the left and the right. Recently, for example, right-wing antiliberals such as Patrick Deneen cite and rely on Polanyi’s argument, as do Milbank and Pabst. On the left, antiliberals such as Wendy BrownEugene McCarraher, and others, also rely on Polanyi’s analysis.
Polanyi argues that a “great transformation” occurred in the early 1800s that made economic life after this transformation discontinuous with the experience of economic life before this transition. He argues that Western economies transitioned from non-market economies based on hierarchical and horizontal “gift” exchange to economies in which the “autonomous” market ruled. Polanyi argues that this transition to market rule ran roughshod over the more human and humane scale of social and economic life in the earlier era and caused untold human misery. The political and economic history of the West in the following century, Polanyi argues, can be understood as a reaction to the unleashing of this autonomous market.
In reviewing Polanyi’s book, McCloskey, with co-author Santhi Hejeebu, takes issue particularly with Polanyi’s historical argument that the post-1800s market economy stood in essential discontinuity with economies before 1800. McCloskey summarizes her signal argument against Polanyi in her review of Deneen’s book:
Deneen swallows whole Karl Polanyi’s “classic study” of economic history The Great Transformation (1944). Polanyi’s claim . . . is that the evil “liberal” market is a Western novelty of the nineteenth century. That way we can set aside modern liberalism as a lamentable aberration and get back to God or community and be truly happy. Though conservatives and socialists believe the tale and accept its moral, historians have since the 1950s shown over and over that it is entirely, even embarrassingly, wrong. Markets of supply and demand have existed since the caves . . .
Here’s the thing. McCloskey’s central criticism of Polanyi is that, contrary to Polanyi’s historical claim, the rise of market society is NOT a Western novelty of the nineteenth century. Continuity reigns with earlier economies. But McCloskey’s central claim in Why Liberalism Works is that the rise of the market in the first half of the nineteenth century was a unique historical event: The development of the market during this period was fundamentally discontinuous from the economic life before this period, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Polanyi thinks the Great Transformation is a bad thing; McCloskey thinks “the great expansion” is a good thing. But contrary to McCloskey’s criticism of Polanyi, they both now seem to agree that this historical period was qualitatively unique and pivotal for markets and for society. The argument is not whether the great transformation occurred, the argument is over the consequences of that transformation.
Polanyi’s black and white line between the pre-market economy before 1800 and the market economy after 1800 is incorrect. But taking issue with Polanyi’s rhetorical excess is just a debater’s point if Polanyi’s central historical claim can be made substantially true with the addition of a few weasel words.
McCloskey too confirms Polanyi’s argument that after huge gains by market liberalism in the first half of the nineteenth century there was a dramatic retrenchment. Polanyi cheers this pullback while McCloskey laments it. Yet while McCloskey discusses several hypotheses to account for this pullback, she doesn’t consider Polanyi’s hypothesis, that the speedy transition to market liberalism ran roughshod over the lives of many ordinary people and disrupted traditional life. In essence, McCloskey is too sanguine about the personal and social costs of the market’s creative destruction, costs that can arise along side the market’s massive material benefits.
Here’s where things get complicated because antiliberals miss the upshot of Polanyi’s argument: In agreement with McCloskey, Polanyi argues that the market transformation was incredibly productive. His criticism is that the transformation took place more rapidly than people and communities could accommodate without harmful disruption.
Polanyi argues that the response to this disruption then not only birthed modern, big-state liberalism, but more pathologically also birthed nationalism and fascism.
McCloskey’s and Polanyi’s arguments are not as contradictory as they initially seem: Markets producing fabulous advances in wealth can occur in tandem with harmful disruptions of traditional life and communities. The spread of markets provides diffuse gains to all people as consumers in the form of lower prices and more goods and services. But individual workers and entrepreneurs typically work in only one or a few markets. The individual cost of disruption in these particular markets can outweigh diffuse gains of competition, prompting a political backlash. Liberalization causes both the gain and the backlash.
The antiliberal case then is this: That it is possible people in a society can judge the disruption caused by liberalism to traditional social and economic life to be so significant that they would forgo the disruption even at the cost of significant losses in material well-being. McCloskey shows that the material tradeoff would be huge. Antiliberals need to deal with the argument head-on.
Tensions Between Liberal Principles and Liberal Outcomes
McCloskey also glosses over philosophical tensions at the heart of liberalism. At the center of liberalism is the ideal of “voluntary arrangements”; that contract and consent should structure human interaction. McCloskey writes, “The classic definition of liberty/freedom is the condition of being liberated/free from physical interference by other human beings. It means . . . not being a slave.”
There are a couple of problems with McCloskey’s analysis.
First is the problem of the materialism inherent in the traditional liberal definition of freedom. That is, that only harms of “physical interference” count. It is arbitrary to limit recognition of “interference” to physical harm unless one denies that important aspects of humanity—perhaps the most important aspects of humanity—derive from incorporeal aspects of what it means to be human. Even if one does not believe in the soul, the human mind cannot be reduced without loss to mere physical matter. To be sure, the liberal limitation to “physical interference” serves a very practical purposes in liberal philosophy in limiting the domain over which the state can interfere. But while practical, the limitation is arbitrary and anthropologically indefensible.
Even more problematic is McCloskey’s repeated treatment of “slavery” as the definitional opposite of “voluntary arrangements.” The philosophical question is whether “liberty” itself is an alienable or an unalienable right. Locke and the Declaration of Independence hold liberty to be an unalienable right, a right that individuals cannot consent away. Philosopher Robert Nozick, whom McCloskey commends, holds that liberty includes the freedom to sell oneself into slavery. The problem for liberal theory is this: Holding that some rights are unalienable is a restriction on the freedom of the individual.
This may sound irrelevantly abstract. Who would choose voluntarily to become a slave? Yet well-known examples exist. In the Bible, the book of Deuteronomy recognizes that people might sell themselves into slavery if they become too poor. So, too, in the book of Genesis almost the entire civilian population of Egypt voluntarily alienate their liberty to Pharaoh. Less draconian, McCloskey praises the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yet why on classical liberal principles should the government be allowed to restrict private property owners from voluntarily choosing to discriminate on the basis of race, religion or other characteristics?
Irrespective of these and other problems, McCloskey’s book is a welcomed addition to the debate over liberalism. She provides a largely fact-based account of the advantages that liberalism has conferred on the modern world. Modern antiliberals on both the right and the left must account for these benefits, recognizing that antiliberalism necessarily posits there are fundamental, even tragic, tradeoffs at stake.

James Rogers is associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University, and a fellow with the Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. He served as editor of the Journal of Theoretical Politics from 2006 through 2013.

segunda-feira, 10 de junho de 2019

Deirdre McCloskey on the spot, in Buckingham, July 2019

Call for contributions: 1st Vinson Centre Workshop in Economics and Entrepreneurship
‘Growth in the modern world: Economics, knowledge and bourgeois ethics;
10 July 2019, Vinson Centre, University of Buckingham, UK

Opening keynote: 
‘Liberalism as Causal: How the Knowledge Society Became the Great Enrichment’
Deirdre McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago

This workshop will engage with key themes of Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Era trilogy, with a focus on the causes of the kind of economic growth triggered during the industrial revolution. Contributions are welcome both from economic and historical perspectives as well as cognate fields of inquiry, either reacting explicitly to the Bourgeois Era, or by drawing on research relating to themes advanced in the trilogy. Contributions of work-in-progress and from postgraduate students are very welcome. A limited number of travel grants are available to postgraduate students wishing to participate. Proposals should take the form of a short (250w) abstract, sent to katie.jones@buckingham.ac.uk by 19 June 2019.

Professor Matthias Klaes, FInstLM, FHEA
Director, Vinson Centre for Economics and Entrepreneurship
University of Buckingham

terça-feira, 20 de novembro de 2018

Deirdre McCloskey: Brasil tem chance de implementar o liberalismo (Gazeta do Povo)

Grato ao amigo Orlando Tambosi pela transcrição desta matéria em seu blog.

Brasil tem a chance de colocar ideias liberais em prática de forma democrática, diz historiadora do liberalismo.

Em entrevista à Gazeta do Povo, que visitou em Curitiba, a historiadora e economista Deirdre McCloskey (que, infelizmente, não tem nenhuma de suas obras fundamentais sobre a burguesia traduzidas por aqui) fala sobre as perspectivas do Brasil com a ascensão de um governo liberal-conservador:

Nos Estados Unidos, Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, 76, uma dos maiores expoentes vivas do pensamento liberal, é quase sempre apresentada como uma economista “libertária”. Por lá, o termo liberal tornou-se quase um sinônimo das causas da esquerda. Mas McCloskey está em uma cruzada contra esse sequestro. No prefácio do novo livro que prepara, a economista anuncia fazer uma defesa do verdadeiro liberalismo da linhagem de Adam Smith: “igualdade [social], liberdade [econômica] e justiça [legal], com um governo pequeno e moderado ajudando de verdade os pobres”. 

Crítica de autoritários e populistas à esquerda e à direita, McCloskey tem uma carreira pouco óbvia. Formada em Harvard, pupila de Milton Friedman, quando ainda era Donald, antes de mudar de gênero no final dos anos 1990, McCloskey deu aula na Universidade de Chicago, celeiro liberal de Prêmios Nobel, entre 1968 e 1980. “Dei aula para todos os ‘Chicago Boys’, brasileiros e chilenos”, comenta quando perguntada sobre as perspectivas do futuro ministro da Economia, Paulo Guedes, que fez seu Ph.D. na universidade entre 1974 e 1978.

Guedes passou dois anos no Chile no início da década de 1980. “Os liberais chilenos ainda são assombrados pelo fato de que o liberalismo no Chile foi posto em prática à força e com base na violência. Agora, vocês têm uma oportunidade no Brasil de pô-lo em prática democraticamente”, diz. 

Desde a década de 1980, McCloskey foi se aproximando cada vez mais da História, da Poesia, da Retórica e da Filosofia, sem nunca se esquecer da Economia. Essa erudição levou-a a escrever sua obra prima, a “Trilogia Burguesa”. Em 1800 páginas, a intelectual procura explicar o milagre do “grande enriquecimento” que o capitalismo trouxe ao mundo desde o século 18 e, ao mesmo tempo, formular uma ética das virtudes para um mundo de comércio. 

Sobre esses temas, McCloskey conversou com a Gazeta do Povo um ano atrás. Nesta semana, a economista esteve novamente no Brasil, visitou a Gazeta do Povo e falou sobre sobre os desafios do liberalismo no país, as eleições nos Estados Unidos, as políticas de Donald Trump e a emergência de movimentos autoritários ao redor do mundo. 

Confira a íntegra da entrevista abaixo:

Gazeta do Povo: Seu novo livro se chamará “Por um Novo Liberalismo: Ensaios sobre Persuasão” (no prelo; tradução livre). Nas últimas eleições aqui no Brasil, as ideias liberais parecem ter ficado mais populares: tivemos candidatos eleitos que defenderam ideias claramente liberais. Mas muitas pessoas acham que o Brasil ainda precisa ser convencido a ser realmente liberal. Como você poderia nos persuadir? 

Deirdre McCloskey: Eu posso usar uma analogia. Um dia já fomos crianças, tínhamos uma mãe e um pai, e isso era muito bom: é ótimo ter uma família. Mas agora somos adultos e não deveríamos ter mães e pais “governamentais”. Quando somos crianças, é bom que nossas mães e pais nos digam o que fazer, mas não acho que esse seja um papel apropriado para o governo, por uma série de razões. Por um lado, diferentemente dos nossos pais, o governo não sabe o que é realmente bom para nós. Eles estão lá longe em Brasília, e a informação que naturalmente está disponível no âmbito de uma família não está disponível em uma grande sociedade. Então, é muito melhor que você deixe isso para o que podemos chamar de “conversa” entre os comerciantes e os consumidores.

Por outro lado, como vocês no Brasil aprenderam bem nos últimos dez anos, quando há um governo grande forçando as pessoas, essa é a oportunidade para a corrupção. O que as pessoas querem dizer com “corrupção” é que um agente privado vai até o governo e paga o governo para forçar uma medida. Agora, eu sou uma liberal cristã, anglicana, e acredito que nós temos obrigações para com os pobres. A obrigação principal é deixar que os pobres tenham um trabalho digno, mas, em casos de emergência, de necessidade premente, eu deveria ser taxada para ajudá-los. Mas o imposto seria pequeno. Veja: com 10% da renda sendo taxada no Brasil, já não haveria mais pobres – você não precisa de 40% de taxação para ajudar os pobres. 

Aqui no Brasil, depois de uma longa crise econômica e com uma bomba fiscal armada, nós elegemos um presidente com um passado estatista e corporativista. Apesar disso, ele diz que, junto com o economista Paulo Guedes, que promete ser um tipo de superministro, quer tornar o Brasil mais liberal. Paulo Guedes fez o Ph.D. em Chicago, onde você deu aula. Se ele foi um bom aluno, que tipo de reformas deveria buscar? 

Elas são bem óbvias: permitir que as pessoas comprem onde queiram comprar e vendam onde queiram vender. Permitir que as pessoas façam as coisas que querem. Comecem os negócios que queiram e se ocupem do que queiram – e comprar onde se queira comprar inclui o comércio exterior. Essa deveria ser a regra de uma economia, porque é assim que conseguimos inovar, e é o livre comércio que melhora a qualidade dos produtos. Nesse caso, você não pode vender uma câmera ruim feita no Brasil – e o Brasil é bom em muitas coisas. Em fazer aviões pequenos, por exemplo, e açúcar. Nós pagamos, nos Estados Unidos, o dobro do preço mundial do açúcar, quando deveríamos estar comprando açúcar do Brasil. Mas nossos fazendeiros são protegidos. Então, eu espero que ele faça este tipo de coisa, como simplificar as tarifas. 

Paulo Guedes passou dois anos no Chile, no começo dos anos 1980, e o Chile é visto como um exemplo por muitos liberais no Brasil... 

Eu dei aula para eles, tanto para os brasileiros quanto para os chilenos. Dei aula em Chicago entre 1968 e 1980. Lecionava o grande curso de microeconomia na pós-graduação. Ensinei todos eles. 

Sim, e como você avalia agora a experiência dos “Chicago Boys” no Chile, com um pouco de distanciamento histórico? 

Eu não os ensinei a colocar as pessoas em estádios de futebol e atirar nelas [referência ao Estádio Nacional do Chile, onde militares chilenos prenderam, torturam e mataram opositores durante a ditadura do general Augusto Pinochet]. Os liberais chilenos ainda são assombrados pelo fato de que o liberalismo no Chile foi posto em prática à força e com base na violência. Agora, vocês têm uma oportunidade no Brasil de pô-lo em prática democraticamente. Elogio vocês por isso. É muito sábio e mostra certa maturidade política.

Mas acho que o liberalismo na economia funcionou [no Chile] – e um caso ainda mais espetacular é a China, que é uma autocracia terrível, um país terrivelmente iliberal na política, mas muito liberal em grande parte da economia, o que lhes trouxe um crescimento econômico fantástico. Um caso muito melhor é a Índia, que é uma democracia vibrante, embora um pouco maluca, e que também adotou o tipo de liberalismo que o Brasil deveria ter. Eu não conheço o Brasil tão bem, mas conheço bem a África do Sul e eles têm as mesmas políticas que o Brasil. É muito difícil começar um negócio por lá, há tarifas protegendo vários setores, e regulações no mercado de trabalho que geram – veja bem – 50% de desemprego entre os jovens negros sul-africanos. É uma catástrofe. 

Você mencionou a China: economia liberal e política iliberal. Há um ano, quando conversamos, você disse que o Partido Comunista Chinês está montado em um tigre, como na velha fábula: se você cai, você é comido pelo tigre. Mas Xi Jinping, o presidente chinês, parece estar segurando bem esse tigre no laço, então eu pergunto novamente: a China inventou uma alternativa às democracias liberais? 

Não. O inventor dessa versão foi Singapura. Se você chupa chicletes em Singapura, eles te batem [risos]. A imprensa não é livre como aqui no Brasil, nos Estados Unidos, na África do Sul e na Índia. Não é uma alternativa, não é algo que o Brasil deveria pensar em pôr em prática, e eu acho que esse modelo não vai durar na China. Veja, eu entendo ainda menos da China do que do Brasil, embora esteja muito empenhada em oferecer conselhos a todos vocês [risos], mas realmente acho que um país rico – o que a China vai se tornar em mais uma ou duas gerações – não vai tolerar esse tipo de controle. 

Lembra a minha metáfora da mãe e do pai? Estive em uma universidade de tecnologia no meio da China uns meses atrás, e eles me mostraram o programa de reconhecimento facial que estão desenvolvendo e que vai permitir vigiar e guardar registros de todo mundo. Um país rico não vai tolerar esse tipo de coisa, e há muitos exemplos disso. A Coreia do Sul era uma ditadura, Taiwan era uma ditadura, e no fim das contas se tornaram democracias. 

Mas não ainda Singapura... 

Não ainda Singapura, e me pergunto por quê. Mas estão fazendo muito dinheiro em Singapura, então talvez continue assim por mais um tempo mesmo. Mas sou otimista em relação ao futuro, tanto na política quanto na economia. 

Então vamos para os Estados Unidos. Os democratas, em geral, eram os entusiastas do protecionismo e do déficit fiscal, mas agora Donald Trump apoio esse tipo de política e se gaba de criar empregos com base nelas, e ainda investe em uma “guerra comercial” com a China. Ao mesmo tempo, assistimos à emergência de movimentos iliberais ao redor do mundo, como na Hungria, na Polônia, nas Filipinas. A ideia do livre comércio e do liberalismo está arrefecendo no mundo e, em particular, nos Estados Unidos? 

Sim, estão sob ataque. O nacionalismo está vindo à tona, temporariamente. Eu, assim como muitas pessoas, acho que é só um movimento pendular. Donald Trump não tem convicções – seu homem [Jair Bolsonaro] é mais perigoso nisso, ele é autoritário e isso me preocupa um pouco. Mas Trump está no negócio Trump. Ponto. Ele só diz as coisas sobre as pessoas trans, essas coisas malucas sobre comércio exterior, porque a base política dele acredita nisso. Não acho que essas coisas vão ter muito efeito.

De fato, o que acho que vai acontecer nos próximos dois anos é que haverá uma recessão econômica [nos Estados Unidos], não necessariamente causada pelas políticas econômicas estúpidas de Trump, mas ele será culpado por ela. Equivocadamente até, porque o presidente não tem muito a fazer sobre as oscilações dos ciclos econômicos. Então, isso talvez marque o fim do populismo. Não me entenda mal: é ruim para o país erigir barreiras tarifárias, tentar conter a imigração, etc., mas o enredo vai se desenvolver assim, com Trump acabando culpado pelos resultados econômicos ruins. 

E você acha que, se isso acontecer nos Estados Unidos, o populismo vai arrefecer no restante do mundo? 

Sim, porque acho que a vitória do Trump foi uma grande inspiração para o populismo. Ele ganhou por muito pouco e, se eleição fosse hoje, ele perderia. De fato, ele perdeu as eleições para o Congresso. 

Os democratas recuperaram a Câmara nas eleições de meio de mandato, mas muitos “socialistas democráticos” foram eleitos, muitos progressistas que investem na política identitária e, ao mesmo tempo, Trump está reinando no Partido Republicano. Ainda existe espaço para o liberalismo de verdade nos Estados Unidos? A esquerda não está respondendo também de forma iliberal? 

Sim, está. Ambos os lados são iliberais, o socialismo e o fascismo são iliberais. Mas há muitos políticos, que se chamam mais de “pragmáticos” do que de “liberais”, que estão dispostos a ouvir. Não acho que o Partido Democrata seja estúpido o suficiente para apoiar uma figura realmente de esquerda, como Elizabeth Warren [senadora democrata reeleita por Massachusetts, às vezes cotada para concorrer à Presidência em 2020] – isso seria um erro terrível, acho que eles não o cometeriam. Eles vão apoiar um moderado e as coisas vão terminar bem. A política americana é importante para vocês. Se houver uma Terceira Guerra Mundial, vocês estarão nela [risos]. Minha solução para isso é permitir que o mundo todo vote para escolher o presidente americano [risos]. 

Sei que você está brincando sobre a Terceira Guerra Mundial, mas você acha que estamos de volta aos anos 1930, em termos de protecionismo e disputas comerciais, etc.? 

Essa é, obviamente, a analogia assustadora, mas os anos 1930 foram muito piores do que agora, em todos os aspectos imagináveis. Um quarto da força de trabalho estava desempregada nos Estados Unidos e na Alemanha. Note: desde o início do século 19, houve cerca de 40 recessões – elas chegam mais ou menos a cada cinco anos –, mas a tendência de longo prazo foi de crescimento. Houve 6 recessões mais graves, a pior das quais a da década de 1930, mas a tendência é sempre de crescimento. 

Mesmo a reação populista de agora é menos violenta do que a dos anos 1930, quando houve o regime do [Getúlio] Vargas, os fascistas na Espanha e na Hungria, os comunistas na Rússia. Havia comunistas e fascistas armados. Agora são só pessoas fazendo barulho. Trump é um exemplo disso, recuou na questão das pessoas trans no Exército e mesmo a tal “guerra comercial” ainda não aconteceu. Quando há fascistas e comunistas armados brigando nas ruas, como era o caso na década de 1930, aí você deve ficar preocupado mesmo. 

Conhecendo a sua trajetória, não poderia deixar de perguntar isto. Talvez por causa das sucessivas crises econômicas pelas quais o Brasil passou, os economistas se tornaram gurus do debate público há muitas décadas, mas me parece que muitos deles só conseguem falar de gráficos e números e se esquecem de falar com a população em geral. O que você diria para as pessoas que acreditam que a economia é tudo que importa? 

A propósito, essa proeminência dos economistas é muito característica dos países da América Latina, onde os economistas se tornaram muito importantes, às vezes trazendo resultados terríveis. Quem acha que só a economia importa está terrivelmente enganado. Defendo o que chamo de “Humanomia”: Economia com os humanos dentro. Isso significa, por exemplo, que temos de conceber a Economia como um campo da linguagem. Nos negócios, falar é crucial. No espírito de uma empresa, no exercício da liderança. Um quarto dos empregados em economias como o Brasil e os Estados Unidos ganha a vida na base do convencimento. Você e eu, por exemplo, trabalhamos com as palavras. Supervisores também, e há muitos deles na força de trabalho. 

Não estamos mais na época da escravidão: você não pode convencer os trabalhadores a fazer as coisas pela ameaça de violência. Na verdade, você mal pode demiti-los, não por causa das leis – embora isso possa ser um problema –, mas porque você quer ensiná-los a fazer o trabalho corretamente, a crescer. Então, é necessária uma Economia mais ampla, que inclua as Humanidades. Uma economia da inovação, que aliás é melhor para os pobres, é uma economia em que a criatividade humana é plenamente empregada. Isso não é, para usar a linguagem técnica, uma questão de “função produção”. Enfim, ainda precisamos de uma Economia bem mais ampla. 

Além de você, tem alguém pensando nisso? 

Umas seis pessoas [risos]. Uma delas é o Vernon Smith, ganhador do Prêmio Nobel, e seu colega Bart Wilson, da Universidade Chapman. Algumas pessoas antes deles, uma das quais bastante conhecida na América Latina, o grande economista Albert Hirschman. Veja: isso não é um pedido para abandonar a matemática. Eu quero mais matemática, mais números, mas quero números inteligentes. Não sou contra os estudos quantitativos, sou contrária a uma maneira desumana de olhar o mundo, e essa é uma tentação na economia, seja na esquerda ou na direita. A economia marxista é tão bárbara e limitada quanto a economia burguesa, e ambas precisam se tornar uma economia verdadeiramente humana.

quinta-feira, 31 de maio de 2018

Como o Ocidente se tornou rico? Um receituario da melhor economista do mundo...

How the West Got Rich by Following "the Four Rs"

We got rich because of a combination of reading, revolt, reformation, and revolution, which came together to cause us to rethink the bourgeois lifestyle.

For as long as there have been people there have been innovators, and for as long as there have been innovators there have been those who have sought to stop them. Until recently, the forces of resistance have won.
Beginning largely in the 18th century, however, there was a largescale shift in how we write, think, and speak about commerce. Societies in Western Europe—Britain, most notably—embraced an ethic of innovation, the Bourgeois Deal: “leave me alone, and I’ll make you rich.”

The Bourgeois Deal

Here’s the Deal, thinking about society in three acts:
“In Act I, allow me, an innovator and member of the bourgeoisie, to act on the hunch that I can do this a little or a lot better than it has been done before. In fact, allow me to act on the hunch that I can come up with a completely different and better way of living. Do not interfere with me, and do not interfere with those who wish to stake their hard-earned and hard-saved money on my idea.
In broad strokes, though, embracing innovation has unleashed the creative forces of the human mind in ways that have enriched… everyone. 

“Do not interfere with those who vote with their money for my idea. Allow me, in other words, to creatively destroy. I accept, reluctantly, that my successes such as they are will attract competition from imitators and other innovators in the second act, and this competition will erode my profits. By the third act, however, we will all have been made better off by my venture.”
There are, of course, all sorts of problems with this—perhaps the most obvious is that it is hard to ensure credibility, as the creative destroyer has, in Act II, an incentive to work with the government to create barriers to entry with the effect being that in Act III we might be better off, but not as much better off as we could be.
In broad strokes, though, embracing innovation—even “embracing” it as nervous teenagers do at a Junior High School dance where they sway back and forth at arm’s length from one another—has unleashed the creative forces of the human mind in ways that have enriched… everyone, not just the barons and baronesses and kings and queens and clerics.

The Aristocratic Deal

Contrast this to the Aristocratic Deal, which basically says, “honor me, an aristocrat and your better by the accident of birth; do as I say; pay your taxes under threat of prison or death or worse. Think not that you have the right to seek ‘protection’ from another sovereign. Go forth, do battle, and shed others’ blood and your own in my name and for my glory, and by the third act, I at least will not have slaughtered you.”
Our ancestors and the kings and queens and generals who ruled them were broadly and often deeply suspicious of innovation. 

Our ancestors and the kings and queens and generals who ruled them were broadly and often deeply suspicious of innovation. Indeed, the word itself originally meant something bad, as innovation in interpreting scripture meant the introduction of unorthodox or even heretical elements.
There were markets, yes, but entry was largely controlled by guilds and other interests that were able to earn above-normal profits for themselves by restricting entry. Such sophistry led Adam Smith to write An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
There are five textbook institutional prerequisites for a flourishing economy: secure property rights, open and competitive markets, political stability, honest government, and a dependable legal system. We don’t yet know the “right” mixes of the institutional causes of wealth and poverty, but insecure property rights and restricted access to markets can very clearly lead to stagnation rather than growth.

Commerce Became Socially Acceptable

These are the tinder, so to speak. The rhetorical change—where we began to esteem innovators and the bourgeoisie—was the spark that lit the fire. The British became, over this time, “a polite and commercial people.” Buying low and selling high went from being something morally suspect and undignified to something worthwhile.
Anyone with an idea and enough spare time to tinker in the garage can change how people live, work, play, and encounter information. 

We see this in the United States today when we consider who we want our children to emulate. We heaped and heap great laurels on people like Henry Ford, Sam Walton, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffett. We live in a country where anyone can grow up to become president, but much more importantly, we live in a world where anyone with an idea and enough spare time to tinker in the garage can, as Jobs and Gates ultimately did, change how people live, work, play, and encounter information.
The Bourgeois Deal is radically egalitarian. Market exchange embeds a deep and important assumption: that one party to a trade is within his or her rights to refuse or to hold out for something better. It’s a right denied to soldiers and slaves, or peasants who have no option but to trade their labor for “protection” by a sovereign who would kill them should they seek a better deal elsewhere.

We Are Optimistic

Ebenezer Scrooge was wrong: there is no such thing as a “surplus population” when we allow markets to work. 

Modern economic growth happened and continues to happen in spite of an unending stream of pessimistic predictions—that we are destined for subsistence, that the final crisis of capitalism is upon us, that this time is really different and we can expect to see all the jobs go away because of technological change, that we are gaining the world and losing our souls because we are so blinkered and blinded by consumer goods, and that we are destroying the planet in our pursuit of more, more, more. Literally: these are from chapter 7 of the third edition of Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok’s 2014 book Modern Principles: Macroeconomics.
Ebenezer Scrooge was wrong: there is no such thing as a “surplus population” when we allow markets to work. The economist Julian Simon (1996) referred to the mind as the “ultimate resource,” for from it springs everything else in the world that we call a “resource.” Something isn’t a resource until we can think of a way to make it satisfy human wants. Until then, it’s just a collection of atoms and molecules and stuff. Embracing innovation set us free from a Malthusian/Hobbesian existence in which life was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. It will continue to overcome resource barriers that confront us, just as it has historically.
We are optimistic for a few reasons. First, with Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, we are extremely optimistic about the future that lies ahead of us because, within the next few years, billions of people will be connecting to the global Great Conversation that is already happening on the internet. Somewhere in Haiti, or Rwanda, or rural India, or even American Appalachia, a child has been born in the last few days who will have a far greater impact on the lives of everyone in the world simply because she will be born into a society that has embraced liberty and innovation to a degree greater than those who have come before.
We have overcome and will continue to overcome environmental challenges as long as we keep our ethical wits about us. 

We hope for further progress so that those who are today left behind are tomorrow offered a seat at the table. Our prosperous modern world aided and abetted by our ability to communicate instantly with almost anyone almost anywhere provides us with an unlimited array of new ways to self-author.
The big winners, we think, from the 21st-century version of the Bourgeois Deal are those whose tastes and preferences lie outside the mainstream. There have developed on Reddit and YouTube and elsewhere a whole array of online communities devoted to even the most esoteric of topics. If you can think of it, there’s likely a Reddit forum, or Facebook page, or YouTube channel devoted to it.
And if there isn’t, creating one is easy. Technology and commerce have limited us from the soft tyranny of geography and birth and enabled us to connect with people the world over who share our preferences. This might not be too big a deal for someone with close-to-the-mainstream preferences, but for an 18- or 19-year-old male “Brony” who likes My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the value might come in knowing you’re not alone.
In spite of the possibility that global warming could be very, very bad, we are, with the science writer Matt Ridley, Rational Optimist(s). We have overcome and will continue to overcome environmental challenges as long as we keep our ethical wits about us. Anti-capitalism has been cloaked in the rhetoric of environmental defense when, it can be argued and even shown, that better protection of private property rights and a stronger rule of law are necessary if we are to defend the environment.

The Four (Plus One More) Rs

Furthermore, the Bourgeois Deal encourages the kind of innovation that can make us less reliant on fossil fuels and mere material. If resources become a constraint and as people get richer, they will substitute better for more, and continued innovation in areas like cloud storage (e.g. Dropbox and Evernote), online document signing (e.g. DocuSign), e-books, and online textbooks will mean lower demand for paper, chemical-intensive paper processing, and the fuel burned to move books around.
We got rich because of reading, revolt, reformation, and revolution, with these four Rs coming together to create a fifth R, revaluation of the bourgeoisie. 

Electronics come with their own sets of environmental problems, of course, but with secure property rights and competitive markets, people will develop ways to recycle electronics components efficiently and effectively.
Economic change comes from a mix of material and rhetorical and ideological factors. So what was it that enabled us to become rich? We got rich because of a combination of reading, revolt, reformation, and revolution, with these four Rs coming together to create a fifth R, revaluation of the bourgeoisie and of bourgeois life. Respect others’ liberty to create, even if such creation has a destructive element to it, and in the long run, we will all be richer.
Moreover, don’t impose too heavy a social tax on the bourgeois values of buying low and selling high (prudence, in other words), and we will see more people direct their time and energy toward making the world a better place for all of us.

The Glorification of "Honest" Work

From the 18th century onward, the West was brined in the rhetoric of prudence, of oikonomia, of its close cousin phronesis, or practical wisdom. It wasn’t always so. Ancient societies did not trust the bourgeoisie or bourgeois life. Neither did Shakespeare or others of his day. To work in the world of Plato or Aristotle was low, meager, undignified, lacking in honor. Contrast this with the rhetorical honor heaped upon hard work today in the maxim, “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”
“Honest” in this sense means virtuous in that one adheres to the truth, but it can also be used in its older sense of “being worthy of honor, dignity, or respect.” There was a shift in the 18th century in the way we have come to read, write, and speak about commerce, about betterments tested by trade in the crucible of the market.
Figures like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and others are, in spite of failings and limitations, admired for their innovation. 

We see in the development of what we read and wrote that “Free innovation led by the bourgeoisie became at long last respectable in people’s words” (McCloskey, 2010: 386). The innovators became gentlemen (and women), or people of esteem. This was fueled, as Joel Mokyr shows, by a pan-European republic of letters, intellectually integrated but politically fragmented (and therefore competitive), that developed the view that progress is possible and progress is desirable, even for those whom Aristotle might call fit only to be ruled.
In short, we came to praise (or at least tolerate) dissent with modification, such that figures like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and others are, in spite of failings and limitations (which, in Jobs’ case, included pathological inattention to family responsibilities for some time), admired for their innovation. Buffett’s modesty and prudence—as one of the richest men in the world, he still lives in the modest Omaha home he bought in the 1950s—are sources of esteem where ostentation and pomp and circumstance would have in many other contexts been the calling card of the elite. The world is complicated by the fact that these are not wholesale changes.
The villains in books and movies are far too often the heads of large corporations bent on poisoning the children for fun and profit. But that said, even the rhetoric of business and of prudence has changed. The most influential book after the Bible has been, for many people, Atlas Shrugged. TV shows allowing the viewer to gawk at the excesses of “extreme couponing” nonetheless celebrate the couponers’ thrift and hold it up, perhaps, as something to be emulated, or at least admired.
This is an extract from Chapter 10 of ‘Demographics and Entrepreneurship: Mitigating the Effects of an Aging Population’
Art Carden
Art Carden is an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University’s Brock School of Business. In addition, he is a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, a Senior Fellow with the Beacon Center of Tennessee, and a Research Fellow with the Independent Institute. He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network. Visit his website.

Deirdre N. McCloskey
Deirdre N. McCloskey
Deirdre Nansen McCloskey taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2000 to 2015 in economics, history, English, and communication. A well-known economist and historian and rhetorician, she has written 17 books and around 400 scholarly pieces on topics ranging from technical economics and statistical theory to transgender advocacy and the ethics of the bourgeois virtues. Her latest book, out in January 2016 from the University of Chicago Press—Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World—argues for an “ideational” explanation for the Great Enrichment 1800 to the present.