“The growth of nations” (FT.com) e “The Myth of Free-Trade Britain”

O Martin Wolf acerca de dois livros recentes, haa uns meses atraas. A nao perder:

“… South Korea and Taiwan were exceptional cases. The argument that success will follow the overthrow of the neo-liberal consensus and the return of protection is nonsense. But the authors are right that those who argued that free trade alone is the answer were wrong. There are no magic potions for development. Developmental states can work. Many fail. But some may succeed. Above all, developing countries should be allowed to try, and so learn from their own mistakes. Countries should be warned of the difficulties of following South Korea’s example, but allowed to do so if they wish…”

O do Reinert comprei nas Amoreiras numa da ultimas vezes que estive em Portugal, o do Chang ainda nao. Mas diz que este professor coreano de Cambridge causa algumas supresas a quem le as suas investigacoes histooricas:

Almost all of today’s rich countries used tariff protection and subsidies to develop their industries. Interestingly, Britain and the USA, the two countries that are supposed to have reached the summit of the world economy through their free-market, free-trade policy, are actually the ones that had most aggressively used protection and subsidies.”

Mas basicamente, os dois livros tentam decifrar o que de facto, nos pode ensinar a histooria acerca do progresso econoomico dos paiises que sao agora, ricos (relativamente aos outros claro).

Acerca de outro livro que investiga o passado, aquele a que usualmente referimos de laissez-faire, John Nye aas tantas sai-se com esta:

“… But more importantly, the example of Britain and France in the 1800s challenges us to rethink and reanalyze the relationship between trade policy and growth. The story of Britain and France shows how easy it is to be misled by the fables of conventional wisdom. The fact that Britain was not as free trade as it claimed doesn’t make the case for protectionism. The British did lower their tariffs, and in the last third of the nineteenth century, Britain did fully liberalize trade and benefited from the change. But the interesting and unexamined story is France. Nineteenth-century France doesn’t fit our preconceptions. France was in fact, closer to the free trade ideal than the British for much of the century, and did in fact do well, raising the standard of living of the average worker from the 1850s onward…” 

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Estes sao apenas alguns exemplos da reinterpretacao da histooria que nos pode explicar melhor o que estaa por detraas do progresso… e defender-nos dos patetas (cheerleaders) para os quais o Rodrik nos alerta”:

“But what about China and India, which have taken off in the pastquarter-century? Are they not proof that poor nations need the current variant of globalisation instead of the Bretton Woods variant? Actually, no. What is striking about China, India and a few other Asian countries that have done well recently is that they have played the globalisation game by the Bretton Woods rulebook. These countries did not significantly liberalise their import regimes until well after their economies had taken off; they continue to restrict short-term capital inflows. They have used industrial policies – many banned by the WTO – to restructure their economies and enable them to better take advantage of world markets. Rich and poor nations need breathing space for different reasons. Rich countries need it so they can revive the social compacts that underpinned the success of Bretton Woods. They need flexibility to interfere in trade when trade conflicts with deeply held values at home – as, for example, with child labour or health and safety concerns – or severely weakens the bargaining power of workers. Poor nations need room to engage in exchange rate and industrial policies that will diversify and restructure their economies, without which their ability to benefit from globalisation is circumscribed…”

Esta entrada foi publicada em Genéricos. ligação permanente.

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