23 de fevereiro de 2008

China e Índia: uma outra perspectiva

Pranab Bardhan, no Boston Review, discute o comportamento da China e Índia, - pelo que respeita ao crescimento económico, à diminuição da pobreza, ao contexto e tensões políticas (e.g., democracia versus Autoritarismo), à globalização -, em What Makes a Miracle - Some myths about the rise of China and India. A visão que transmite é diferente (qualifica-a em grande parte) da narrativa político-económica que certos meios políticos, académicos, - conservadores e ultra-liberais em termos económicos - fazem, do que tem vindo a suceder nesses países, nas últimas décadas, e da importância do que se passou antes. Imprescindível a leitura. Ver o blogue Dani Rodrik's weblog (que sugere esta ligação) para mais sobre este assunto.

Excerto: Sobre os méritos e deméritos relativos da democracia (parte da matéria).

"The relationship between democracy and development is much more complex than the conventional wisdom suggests. Even if we were not to value democracy for its own sake (or regard it as an integral part of development by definition), and looked at it in a purely instrumental way, democracy has at least four advantages from the point of view of development. Democracies are better able to avoid catastrophic mistakes, (such as China’s Great Leap Forward and the ensuing great famine that killed nearly thirty million people, or its Cultural Revolution, which may have resulted in the largest destruction of human capital in history) and have greater healing powers after difficult times. Democracies also experience more intense pressure to share the benefits of development, thus making it sustainable, and provide more scope for popular movements against industrial fallout such as environmental degradation. In addition, they are better able to mitigate social inequalities (especially acute in India) that act as barriers to social and economic mobility and to the full development of individual potential. Finally, democratic open societies provide a better environment for nurturing the development of information and related technologies, a matter of some importance in the current knowledge-driven global economy. Intensive cyber-censorship in China may seriously limit future innovations in this area.

All that said, India’s experience suggests that democracy can also hinder development in a number of ways. Competitive populism—short-run pandering and handouts to win elections—may hurt long-run investment, particularly in infrastructure, which is the key bottleneck for Indian development. Such political arrangements make it difficult, for example, to charge user fees for roads, electricity, and irrigation, discouraging investment in these areas, unlike in China where infrastructure companies charge full commercial rates. Competitive populism also makes it harder to cut losses resulting from experimentation in industrial policy in India, where retreating from a failed project—with inevitable job losses and bail-out pressures—has electoral consequences that discourage leaders from carrying out policy experimentation in the first place. Finally, democracy’s slow decision-making processes can be costly in a world of fast-changing markets and technology."

Excerto: Conclusão do artigo.

"Chinese and Indian economic performance has been far better in the last quarter-century than in the previous two hundred years—and this is one of the striking events in the recent history of the international economy. Other countries must adjust to this reality, and learn to treat the partial restoration of the earlier global importance of these two countries as an opportunity for trade, investment, and exchange of ideas, not as a threat. (We also need to work in tandem with them on the environment.) But we must remember that the story of their rise is more complicated and nuanced than standard accounts make out. That more complex story includes the positive legacy of China and India’s earlier statist periods, which offers general lessons for the process of development much too often ignored."

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