10 de outubro de 2011

Leituras diversas destes últimos dias sobre questões de economia

Das mais antigas para as mais recentes:
Debt and Dumb | Politics | Vanity Fair: As a young artillery captain in the Revolutionary War, Alexander Hamilton learned a crucial lesson: Good credit, based on the power to tax, is essential to a nation’s security. As the first U.S. Treasury secretary, he built America’s fiscal policy on that principle. Will the Tea Party destroy his legacy?

Working In The Dark | The New Republic: This was Keynes’s case for conscious corrective fiscal and monetary policy. Its relevance for today should be obvious. It is a vulgar error to characterize Keynes as an advocate of “big government” and a chronic budget deficit. His goal was to stabilize the private economy at a generally prosperous level of activity.

The End of the Future - Peter Thiel - National Review Online: The technology slowdown threatens not just our financial markets, but the entire modern political order, which is predicated on easy and relentless growth. The give-and-take of Western democracies depends on the idea that we can craft political solutions that enable most people to win most of the time. But in a world without growth, we can expect a loser for every winner. Many will suspect that the winners are involved in some sort of racket, so we can expect an increasingly nasty edge to our politics. We may be witnessing the beginnings of such a zero-sum system in politics in the U.S. and Western Europe, as the risks shift from winning less to losing more, and as our leaders desperately cast about for macroeconomic solutions to problems that have not been primarily about economics for a long time.

In conclusion
The present easy conflation of business and economics is bad for both. Business economics transposes the strategic zero-sum orientation of business competition onto closed-system economic issues. That has little influence on academic economics, of course, but its seductive basis in common sense intuitions gives it a central role in how most people, and most politicians, understand the way the economy works. Business economics also too easily conflates success at the level of individual economic actors with the success of the whole system. Hence such self-serving arguments as 'What's good for Wall Street is good for America' can be sincerely held, though that doesn't make them any less wrong. The idealisations and simplifications of economic models are not intended as a description of the real world, but the authority of theory is so great and its claims so little scrutinised that perfectly sensible and virtuous business professionals have become convinced that homo economicus is a better description of business reality than their own experience and common sense tells them. As a result, the true and practical virtue of prudence has been sacrificed in favour of the convenient moral 'duty' of selfishness.

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