16 de outubro de 2011

De uma maneira ou outra dizem respeito aos Açores ....

Estes dois artigos, de um modo ou outro, tem a ver com a discussão da realidade açoriana - o primeiro, sobre a complexidade, tem a ver com o modo como a economia lida com a relação entre complexidade, especialização e dimensão (tamanho); o segundo, tratando da questão (muito importante) de como a regionalização se articula com o combate à desigualdade, mapeia, e é isso que transcrevo, de modo sucinto e, até mais ver, abrangente, as potencialiades positivas e negativas que podem ser assacadas às autonomias.

…My heart’s in Accra » Ricardo Hausmann on Economic Complexity
Hausmann argues that to succeed economically, humans have learned how to specialize.Some tasks require a full human’s worth of knowledge – a person-byte – to carry them out successfully. Others require much more knowledge – building a complex product like a computer might require a kilo-person byte or more – the highly specialized knowledge and skills of a thousand different people. “Modern man is useless as an individual. Making a computer is a team sport.”
 [....] the difference in wealth and income between the nations is closely related to the ability of firms to take on complex tasks. [...] They’ve only got so much knowledge they can apply to producing complex and high value products.

We might characterize economies in terms of those where lots of people do very simple work [....] and those where indiviuals do complex things in consort, like the players within a symphony orchestra. Hausmann shows us a “map” of the world, a complex graph that represents nations and what products they produce. Most nations produce a few things, and a few produce many different things. Some products are made everywhere, while others are made in very few places.

There’s an underlying pattern to this. The nations that make only a few things all tend to make, more or less, the same things. Basically, we can divide the world into two sets of countries – those that have sufficient personbytes of knowledge to produce a wide range of goods, and those that can produce only a few simple things. The places that make everything make things that few others make. Hausmann explains that products require a specific set of personbytes to produce. [...]“Poor countries make few things, and things that everyone makes. Rich countries make unique things. And this is true for municipalities as well as for countries.” [...]
Why pay attention to this idea, the “economic complexity index”? It’s a very good tool for explaining the classic question of “Why are some countries rich and others poor?” Specifically, it explains 73% of the variances of incomes across nations. And where the predictions economic complexity theory offers differ from reality, it’s possible that reality is wrong. The index suggests that India should be richer and Greece should be poorer, which suggests that error in the index is predictive of future growth. [....]
Is economic complexity actually measuring another phenomenon, like education? Probably not. We can look at investment in education and economic growth, and education appears to correlate more weakly than economic complexity. [....]
This raises a tricky question – how do you become a watchmaker in a country without watchmakers? The answer is that you move from what you currently produce to products that require only a fractional increase in personbytes, from one product space to a closely related one. The question for economic success may be how close you are to good products from what you already know how to make.

Devolution is a global trend, advocated by international organisations, including both the World Bank and the OECD, as a mechanism for achieving local prosperity. Decentralisation of powers and resources to lower tiers of government can – under different circumstances and in different contexts – contribute to both an increase and a reduction interpersonal inequalities.
Decentralisation can reduce interpersonal inequalities by:
  • Exploiting the information advantage over central government and increasing the degree of efficiency in the allocation of resources, better matching to the preferences of local citizens.
  • Bringing government closer to the people and providing better information about local preferences to inform the optimal mix of local policies.
  • Promoting greater voice, transparency, and participation through enhanced accountability to local citizens.
  • Limiting the opportunities for corruption and interest-group capture of the returns of public policies through greater transparency and accountability.
Conversely, decentralisation can increase interpersonal inequalities in the following ways:
  • It weakens the capacity of central government to play an equalising role to achieve a balanced distribution of income through social and territorial transfers from the rich to the poor.
  • Diversity and variation in the availability and quality of public services between places generates unequal individual access and provision, regardless of preferences – in England, for instance, this is the so-called ‘postcode-lottery’ issue.
  • Subnational institutions are likely to attract less skilled and capable officials and decision-makers and can be less efficient at policy design and delivery.
  • Increasing social fragmentation and inequality can result if local vested interests are powerful and accountability is weak – a situation most likely to happen in less developed and less equal territories.
Whether decentralisation is good or bad for interpersonal inequality may be highly dependent upon the level of development of a territory. The reasons for this include:
  • Poor territories with relatively greater needs face greater budget constraints than richer territories with relatively less need and intergovernmental grants can constitute the main source of local revenues. Greater decentralisation can curtail these equalisation transfers from richer to poorer areas and poorer places can end up with inadequate independent resources to tackle local inequality and develop meaningful fiscal autonomy.
  • The greater capacity of richer local and regional authorities to rely on their own revenues means that they are often in a better shape to address inequality problems and a ‘threshold level of economic development’ exists at which fiscal decentralisation becomes attractive and more likely to deliver a reduction in inequality.

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