O que é este blog?
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.
segunda-feira, 12 de junho de 2017
segunda-feira, 20 de março de 2017
Os chineses prometem fazê-lo dentro de três anos.
Duvido, mas eles terão então ultrapassado o PIB per capita do Brasil, o que será uma vergonha para nós, não pela vitória chinesa, mas pelo nosso fracasso.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Una China sin pobreza
segunda-feira, 19 de outubro de 2015
O Prémio Sveriges Riksbank em memória de Alfred Nobel de 2015 foi atribuído a Angus Deaton, doutorado pela Universidade de Cambridge e Professor há mais de três décadas na Universidade de Princeton. Deaton começou por ser essencialmente um microeconomista centrado na análise do consumo e do rendimento que, gradualmente, alargou o seu campo de investigação a questões de maior abrangência no domínio da economia política institucional e do estudo da pobreza e do desenvolvimento.
A fundamentação do prémio destaca três contributos distintos, mas todos relacionados com a análise do consumo. O primeiro foi o seu trabalho conjunto com John Muellbauer no âmbito da estimação da procura corporizado no “Almost Ideal Demand System” apresentado na American Economic Review em 1980. O segundo foi o seu contributo para a análise da relação entre consumo e rendimento, prosseguindo linhas de investigação avançadas por economistas como Milton Friedman e Franco Modigliani e focando-se em particular na sua avaliação. O terceiro, e porventura mais saliente, foi a sua investigação sobre a pobreza, a comparação de níveis de vida e o desenvolvimento, com amplo suporte empírico em inquéritos aos agregados familiares.
O trabalho de Angus Deaton com vista ao aperfeiçoamento das comparações de níveis de vida tem-se revelado especialmente importante para um melhor entendimento dos diferentes níveis de desenvolvimento assim como da evolução dos mesmos ao longo do tempo. Neste domínio, e em boa parte devido aos seus contributos, a compreensão das semelhanças e diferenças nos padrões de consumo de bens e serviços entre sociedades e no interior de uma mesma sociedade tem assumido uma relevância crescente tanto a nível da investigação como enquanto guia para as políticas públicas.
Muitas das principais ideias de força do trabalho de Angus Deaton ao longo das últimas décadas encontram-se reunidas de forma (relativamente) acessível no livro The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality (Princeton University Press, 2013). Nessa obra, de difícil catalogação nos moldes ideológicos tradicionais mas com numerosos contributos de grande valor, Deaton procura explicar o extraordinário processo de fuga à miséria e pobreza generalizada que se desenvolveu ao longo dos últimos três séculos. Os avanços em termos de crescimento económico e qualidade de vida foram extraordinários e sem precedente na longa história da humanidade, tendo também sido acompanhados do aparecimento de desigualdades sem precedentes entre diferentes partes do mundo.
A abordagem de Angus Deaton aplicada à análise das inovações e dos sucessos (assim como dos insucessos) civilizacionais dos últimos séculos pode ser legitimamente inserida na mesma categoria, em sentido lato, de estudos de economia política institucional com abordagem interdisciplinar desenvolvidos por autores como Mancur Olson, William Easterly ou Elinor Ostrom.
Num tópico particularmente controverso – o da ajuda internacional ao desenvolvimento – Deaton alinha em grande medida com Easterly na crítica enérgica aos efeitos prejudiciais dessa ajuda sobre o desenvolvimento institucional dos países mais pobres. Sem deixar de reconhecer os efeitos positivos de curto prazo que as transferências dos países mais ricos para os mais pobres podem ter em matérias importantes como os cuidados de saúde, Deaton alerta para os graves danos que essas transferências produzem a nível institucional. De facto, ao propiciar o desenvolvimento e perpetuação de estruturas rentistas e de governos opressivos e ineficazes, a ajuda internacional pode constituir-se como um dos principais obstáculos ao desenvolvimento. A respeito destes temas, vale também a pena ler o recente texto de Angus Deaton publicado na Review of Austrian Economics intitulado “On Tyrannical Experts and Expert Tyrants”, motivado precisamente pelo livro The Tyranny of Experts, de William Easterly.
Globalmente considerados, os contributos de Angus Deaton são um exemplo do melhor que a ciência económica contemporânea tem para oferecer, conjugando o individualismo metodológico, uma sólida base conceptual e o trabalho empírico rigoroso e devidamente sustentado.
Professor do Instituto de Estudos Políticos da Universidade Católica Portuguesa
quinta-feira, 16 de abril de 2015
Por que a America do Norte se tornou rica e a America Latina continua pobre? - uma aula virtual Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Quero lhe convidar para participar da nossa primeira Aula ao Vivo, que será gratuita e com muito conteúdo de qualidade.
No dia 17 de abril às 20 horas vamos realizar a nossa primeira Aula ao Vivo com o Professor Paulo Roberto de Almeida sobre Por Que a América Latina é Pobre e a América do Norte Rica?
Faça Seu Cadastro Aqui!
O professor Paulo Roberto é diplomata de carreira desde 1977, Doutor em Ciências Sociais e com pesquisas voltadas para os seguintes temas: relações internacionais, história diplomática do Brasil e desenvolvimento econômico. Eis alguns dos temas da Aula:
- Por que a humanidade foi pobre em boa parte da história?
- A América Latina sempre foi pobre nas condições sociais de vida da população?
- Como a América do Norte acumulou riqueza suficiente para desfrutar de uma vida mais confortável?
- Qual a importância dos fatores culturais, institucionais e educacionais para a pobreza da América Latina?
Venha Participar dessa Aula Tão Importante para a Compreensão da nossa Realidade.
Reserve a Sua Vaga e Participe do Sorteio!
Um grande abraço,
Prof. Cleófas Júnior - UEPB
Apresento um trecho importante do artigo preparado pelo doutor Paulo Roberto:
quarta-feira, 25 de março de 2015
Aliás, já surgiu um Max Weber islâmico?
Gostaria de conhecer.
Falando nisso, parece que tem um Lutero muçulmano, mas não sabemos exatamente quem é.
Para evitar ser morto, por apostasia, ou qualquer outra infração grave à lei religiosa, ele se esconde sob um pseudônimo: Bahis Sed, e seu livro e "The Quran Speaks", ou O Corão Fala.
Quis comprar, mas ainda está muito caro: 36 dólares em sebo (no Abebooks). Vou buscar em biblioteca...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Middle Eastern Barriers to an Agile Marketplace
Salmaan A. Khan
Mises Daily, MARCH 25, 2015
According to economic historian Timur Kuran, “Around roughly the tenth century, the Middle East was an economically advanced region of the world, as measured by standard of living, technology, agricultural productivity, literacy or institutional creativity. Only China might have been more developed.” Today, however, the Middle East is a victim of historical legal impediments that increase time preference among consumers and investors, and which are fraught with failures to restructure Islamic legal code to fit for the numerous changes in the nature of commerce.
One of the most critical impediments to Islamic economies has historically been partnership laws. While Europe was building up large corporate enterprises that had hundreds, even thousands of shareholders, businesses in the Islamic world had limited partnerships to no more than six people. The rationale behind this is based on Islamic contract law, whereby if one of the business partners dies, the partner must liquidate the assets of the deceased, and give them to the heirs. However, this did not imply the business must be abolished with the death of a partner, but the added complication — compounded with skewed egalitarian Sharia inheritance laws which stated that two-thirds of any estate are to be distributed amongst relatives, both male and female — made it difficult for companies to achieve economies of scale due to a lack of longevity, specialization, and predictability within companies under Islamic regimes.
Furthermore, families in many areas have tended to be quite large due to the practice of polygamy, so due to many heirs being recipients of the inherited wealth, the business would often just dissolve. As Kuran notes, “Middle Eastern entrepreneurs minimized the risk of premature termination by keeping their partnerships small and ephemeral.” The consequence for Islamic economies has been a long-term game of catch-up once the Industrial Revolution commenced in Europe.
The Legacy of the Waqfs
Some scholars conclude that cultural and religious fatalism has contributed to the inadequacy of Middle Eastern economies, as the idea that "everything is in God’s” hands allows idleness to triumph. But, there is more empirical proof that the underdevelopment of the Middle East today has been heavily affected by the Ottoman Empire’s bureaucratization of special endowments called waqfs.
There were two kinds of waqfs depending on its waqfiyya, or deed, whereby the waqf’s founder would decide what its primary function would be. Either they were charitable waqfs, or family waqfs. Charitable waqfs were established for a social function — for operating a religious center and eventually expanding to take care of the poor, providing health services, schools, libraries, and the overall provision of public goods. Family waqfs, on the other hand, were used to establish property rights for families in need of a safe haven to stash their savings away from the confiscation by the sultan.
Due to the sanctity that waqfs were given, they were theoretically tax exempt. However, according to Murat Cizacka, “Given the authoritarian governments in power, the rulers could expropriate the private property for the sake of the ummah.”
Furthermore, when complications erupted in the case of family waqfs (since charitable waqfs operated under the public radar and its utilization of resources were transparent), they ran into more controversial problems that could not be as easily resolved in court. Moreover, the endowment deeds often were destroyed or damaged by war. Over time, these issues led to more and more expropriation and regulation by the Ottoman government. Meanwhile, Europe was providing similar services through a thriving profit-bearing corporate sector, as well as adopting double-entry bookkeeping and joint-stock companies. According to Kuran, "Westerners had access to commercial banks that could channel capital mobilized from the masses into large-scale productive ventures.”
Essentially, the catalyst of the waqfs’ stagnation was their very strict adherence to religious code. Competition for waqfs from other institutions was not allowed by Sharia Law. Through the legal system, by regulation of the ulama, waqfs attained a monopoly on the provision of public goods, including even the use of school textbooks.
Thus, a correlation can be drawn between the decentralized period of waqfs, in which Islamic countries were at the peak of international trade and prosperity, and the era of centralized control by the Ottoman state which led to a lagging and underdeveloped Middle East economy. As Kuran states, “the waqf was economically inefficient because of its perpetuity, inflexibility, lack of self-governance and absence of separate legal personality.” While once characterized by decentralized and more flexible institutions which brought greater economic prosperity, Middle Eastern economies today look quite different.
In the same way that the Russian people were the victims of totalitarian Russian regimes of the past, the people of the Middle East are today victims of brutal extractive regimes whose main enemies have commonly been their own people. And unfortunately, these regimes can still rely upon restrictive institutions of old to control the marketplace and enrich themselves.
terça-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2015
Ou se pretende manter um exército de assistidos por mais de uma geração, como já está ocorrendo no Brasil, em que jovens que já estavam no Bolsa Família começam a ter filhos também dependentes da assistência pública.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
In today’s hearing, the Subcommittee is taking testimony about marriage and work, two of these three keys to reducing poverty and increasing opportunity. Brad Wilcox from the University of Virginia will discuss the decline of married-couple families, the explosion of births outside marriage, and the consequent increase in the number of the nation’s children being reared by single (and often never-married) mothers. The increase in the proportion of children in female-headed families contributes to substantial increases in poverty by virtue of the fact that poverty rates in female-headed families are four to five times as great as poverty rates in married-couple families.[ii] If the share of the nation’s children in female-headed families continues to increase as it has been doing for four decades, policies to reduce poverty will be fighting an uphill battle because the rising rates of single-parent families will exert strong upward pressure on the poverty rate.[iii] But perhaps of even greater consequence, children reared in single-parent families are more likely to drop out of school, more likely to be arrested, less likely to go to college, more likely to be involved in a nonmarital birth, and more likely to be idle (not in school, not employed) than children from married-couple families.[iv] In this way, a disproportionate number of children from single-parent families carry poverty into the next generation and thereby minimize intergenerational mobility.
So far public and nongovernmental programs have not been able to reverse falling marriage rates or rising nonmarital birth rates, but there is a lot we have done and can do to increase work rates, especially the work rates of low-income mothers. The goal of my testimony today is to explain the government policies that have been adopted in recent decades to increase work rates and subsidize earnings, which in turn have led to substantial declines in poverty.
I make two points and a small number of recommendations. The first point is that the employment of low-income single mothers has increased over the two decades, in large part because of work requirements in federal programs, especially Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The recessions of 2001 and 2007-2009 caused the employment rate of single mothers to fall (as well as nearly every other demographic group), but after both recessions work rates began to rise again.
The second point is that the work-based safety net is an effective way to boost the income of working families with children that would be poor without the work supports. In my view, this combination of work requirements and work supports is the most successful approach the nation has yet developed to fight poverty in single-parent families with children. Here’s the essence of the policy approach: first, encourage or cajole single mothers to work by establishing work requirements in federal welfare programs; second, subsidize the earnings of low-income workers, both to increase their work incentive and to help them escape poverty. The primary work-based safety-net programs are the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Additional Child Tax Credit, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), child care, and Medicaid.
domingo, 25 de janeiro de 2015
sexta-feira, 4 de abril de 2014
Por outro lado, um salário mínimo nacional homogêneo, como existe no Brasil, desprezando as desigualdades regionais e os diferentes componentes de custo de vida em cada uma das regiões não é apenas excludente socialmente, é também estúpido economicamente, pois que tendo de ficar no meio termo entre SP e os confins da Amazônia, sendo inadequado para ambas as regiões, muito pouco para a primeira, muito para a segunda.
Já sabemos, por outro lado, o que ocorre com as taxas reais de desemprego, graças ao artigo de Leandro Roque, mais abaixo. O Brasil deve ser o único país do mundo em que o "desemprego" cai, ao mesmo tempo em que o seguro-desemprego aumenta. Mais uma jabuticaba.
O Brasil é repleto de irracionalidades desse tipo...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
How Minimum Wage Laws Increase Poverty
by George Reisman
Mises Institute, on April 4, 2014
An Open letter to Thomas Perez, U.S. Secretary of Labor
Dear Secretary Perez:
Raising the minimum wage is a formula for causing unemployment among the least-skilled members of society. The higher wages are, the higher costs of production are. The higher costs of production are, the higher prices are. The higher prices are, the smaller are the quantities of goods and services demanded and the number of workers employed in producing them. These are all propositions of elementary economics that you and the President should well know.
It is true that the wages of the workers who keep their jobs will be higher. They will enjoy the benefit of a government-created monopoly that excludes from the market the competition of those unemployed workers who are willing and able to work for less than what the monopolists receive.
The payment of the monopolists’ higher wages will come at the expense of reduced expenditures for labor and capital goods elsewhere in the economic system, which must result in more unemployment.
Those who are unemployed elsewhere and who are relatively more skilled will displace workers of lesser skill, with the ultimate result of still more unemployment among the least-skilled members of society.
The unemployment directly and indirectly caused by raising the minimum wage will require additional government welfare spending and thus higher taxes and/or greater budget deficits to finance it.
Your and the President’s policy is fundamentally anti-labor and anti-poor people. While it enriches those poor people who are given the status of government-protected monopolists, it impoverishes the rest of the economic system to a greater degree. It does this through the combination both of taking away an amount of wealth equal to the monopolists’ gains, and of causing overall production to be less by an amount corresponding to the additional unemployment it creates. The rise in prices and taxes that results from raising the minimum wage both diminishes the gains of the monopolists and serves to create new and additional poor people, while worsening the poverty of those who become unemployed.
Furthermore, the higher the minimum wage is raised, the worse are the effects on poor people. This is because, on the one hand, the resulting overall unemployment is greater, while, on the other hand, the protection a lower wage provides against competition from higher-paid workers is more and more eroded. At today’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, workers earning that wage are secure against the competition of workers able to earn $8, $9, or $10 per hour. If the minimum wage is increased, as you and the President wish, to $10.10 per hour, and the jobs that presently pay $7.25 had to pay $10.10, then workers who previously would not have considered those jobs because of their ability to earn $8, $9, or $10 per hour will now consider them; many of them will have to consider them, because they will be unemployed. The effect is to expose the workers whose skills do not exceed a level corresponding to $7.25 per hour to the competition of better educated, more-skilled workers presently able to earn wage rates ranging from just above $7.25 to just below $10.10 per hour. The further effect could be that there will simply no longer be room in the economic system for the employment of minimally educated, low-skilled people.
Of course, the minimum-wage has been increased repeatedly over the years since it was first introduced, and there has continued to be at least some significant room for the employment of such workers. What has made this possible is the long periods in which the minimum wage was not increased. Continuous inflation of the money supply and the rise in the volume of spending and thus in wage rates and prices throughout the economic system progressively reduce the extent to which the minimum wage exceeds the wage that would prevail in its absence. The minimum wages of the 1930s and 1940s — 25¢ an hour and 75¢ an hour — long ago became nullities. To reduce and ultimately eliminate the harm done by today’s minimum wage, it needs to be left unchanged.
The standard of living is not raised by arbitrary laws and decrees imposing higher wage rates, but by the rise in the productivity of labor, which increases the supply of goods relative to the supply of labor and thus reduces prices relative to wage rates, and thereby allows prices to rise by less than wages when the quantity of money and volume of spending in the economic system increase.
If raising the standard of living of the average worker is your and the President’s goal, you should abandon your efforts to raise the minimum wage. Instead, you should strive to eliminate all government policies that restrain the rise in the productivity of labor and thus in the buying power of wages.
If your goal is to raise the wages specifically of the lowest-paid workers, you should strive to eliminate everything that limits employment in the better-paid occupations, most notably the forcible imposition of union pay scales, which operate as minimum wages for skilled and semi-skilled workers. In causing unemployment higher up the economic ladder, union scales serve to artificially increase the number of workers who must compete lower down on the economic ladder, including at the very bottom, where wages are lowest. To the extent that occupations higher up could absorb more labor, competitive pressure at the bottom would be reduced and wages there could rise as a result.
Abolishing or at least greatly liberalizing licensing legislation would work in the same way. To the extent that larger numbers of low-skilled workers could work in such lines as driving cabs, giving haircuts, or selling hot dogs from push carts, the effect would also be a reduction in competitive pressure at the bottom of the economic ladder and thus higher wages there.
The principle here is that we need to look to greater economic freedom, not greater government intervention, as the path to economic improvement for everyone, especially the poor.
George Reisman, Ph.D.
sexta-feira, 17 de janeiro de 2014
quinta-feira, 9 de janeiro de 2014
EUA e a guerra contra a pobreza: a pobreza ganhou - Cato Institute, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post