domingo, abril 30, 2006

21) John Kenneth Galbraith: um economista não-convencional

Faleceu, aos 97 anos, o famoso economista americano de origem canadense John Kenneth Galbraith, cujo obituário, extraído de um site americano, vai abaixo transcrito.
De suas frases mais finas, e ele tinha dezenas -- conhecidas como "Galbraithian heresies" -- extraio apenas uma, a seguir:
"Economistas são econômicos, entre outras coisas, de idéias; a maior parte faz com que as suas idéias de graduação durem uma vida inteira."


John Kenneth Galbraith, the iconoclastic economist, teacher and diplomat and an unapologetically liberal member of the political and academic establishment that he needled in prolific writings for more than half a century, died yesterday at a hospital in Cambridge, Mass. He was 97.

Mr. Galbraith lived in Cambridge and at an "unfarmed farm" near Newfane, Vt. His death was confirmed by his son J. Alan Galbraith.

Mr. Galbraith was one of the most widely read authors in the history ofeconomics; among his 33 books was "The Affluent Society" (1958), one of those rare works that forces a nation to re-examine its values. He wrote fluidly, even on complex topics, and many of his compelling phrases - among them "the affluent society," "conventional wisdom" and "countervailing power" - became part of the language.

An imposing presence, lanky and angular at 6 feet 8 inches tall, Mr. Galbraith was consulted frequently by national leaders, and he gave advice freely, though it may have been ignored as often as it was taken. Mr. Galbraith clearly preferred taking issue with the conventional wisdom he distrusted.

He strived to change the very texture of the national conversation about power and its nature in the modern world by explaining how the planning of giant corporations superseded market mechanisms. His sweeping ideas, which might have gained even greater traction had he developed disciples willing and able to prove them with mathematical models, came to strike some as almost quaint in today's harsh,
interconnected world where corporations devour one another.

"The distinctiveness of his contribution appears to be slipping from view," Stephen P. Dunn wrote in The Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics in 2002.

Robert Lekachman, a liberal economist who shared many of Mr. Galbraith's views on an affluent society that they both thought not generous enough to its poor or sufficiently attendant to its public needs, once described the quality of his discourse as "witty, supple, eloquent, and edged with that sheen of malice which the fallen sons of Adam always find attractive when it is directed at targets other than

From the 1930's to the 1990's, Mr. Galbraith helped define the terms of the national political debate, influencing the direction of the Democratic Party and the thinking of its leaders.

He tutored Adlai E. Stevenson, the Democratic nominee for president in 1952 and 1956, on Keynesian economics. He advised President John F. Kennedy.

Though he eventually broke with President Lyndon B. Johnson over the war in Vietnam, he helped conceive Mr. Johnson's Great Society program and wrote a major presidential address that outlined its purposes. In 1968, pursuing his opposition to the war, he helped Senator Eugene J. McCarthy seek the Democratic nomination for president.

In the course of his long career, he undertook a number of government assignments, including the organization of price controls in World War II and speechwriting for Franklin D. Roosevelt.

He drew on his experiences in government to write three satirical novels. One in 1968, "The Triumph," a best seller, was an assault on the State Department's slapstick attempts to assist a mythical banana republic, Puerto Santos. In 1990, he took on the Harvard economics department with "A Tenured Professor," ridiculing, among others, a certain outspoken character who bore no small resemblance to himself.

At his death Mr. Galbraith was the Paul M. Warburg emeritus professor of economics at Harvard, where he had taught for most of his career. A popular lecturer, he treated economics as an aspect of society and culture rather than as an arcane discipline of numbers.

Keeping It Simple
Mr. Galbraith was admired, envied and sometimes scorned for his eloquence and wit and his ability to make complicated, dry issues understandable to any educated reader. He enjoyed his international reputation as a slayer of sacred cows and a maverick among economists whose pronouncements became known as "classic Galbraithian heresies."

But other economists, even many of his fellow liberals, did not generally share his views on production and consumption, and he was not regarded by his peers as among the top-ranked theorists and scholars. Such criticism did not sit well with Mr. Galbraith, a man no one ever called modest, and he would respond that his critics had rightly recognized that his ideas were "deeply subversive of the established

"As a matter of vested interest, if not of truth," he added, "they were compelled to resist." He once said, "Economists are economical, among other things, of ideas; most make those of their graduate days last a lifetime."

Nearly 40 years after writing "The Affluent Society," Mr. Galbraith updated it in 1996 as "The Good Society." In it, he said that his earlier concerns had only worsened: that if anything, America had become even more a "democracy of the fortunate," with the poor increasingly excluded from a fair place at the table.

Mr. Galbraith gave broad thought to how America changed from a nation of small farms and workshops to one of big factories and superstores, and judgments of this legacy are as broad as his ambition. Beginning with "American Capitalism" in 1952, he laid out a detailed critique of an increasingly oligopolistic economy. Combined with works in the 1950's by writers like David Reisman, Vance Packard and William H. Whyte, the book changed people's views of the postwar world.

Mr. Galbraith argued that technology mandated long-term contracts to diminish high-stakes uncertainty. He said companies used advertising to induce consumers to buy things they had never dreamed they needed.

Other economists, like Gary S. Becker and George J. Stigler, both Nobel Prize winners, countered with proofs showing that advertising is essentially informative rather than manipulative.

Many viewed Mr. Galbraith as the leading scion of the American institutionalist school of economics, commonly associated with Thorstein Veblen and his idea of "conspicuous consumption." This school deplored the universal pretensions of economic theory, and stressed the importance of historical and social factors in shaping "economic laws."

Some, therefore, said Mr. Galbraith might best be called an "economic sociologist." This view was reinforced by Mr. Galbraith's nontechnical phrasing, called glibness by the envious and antagonistic.

Mr. Galbraith's pride in following in the tradition of Veblen was challenged by the emergence of what came to be called the new institutionalist school. This approach, associated with the University of Chicago, claimed to prove that economics determines historical and political change, not vice versa.

Some suggested that Mr. Galbraith's liberalism crippled his influence. In a review of "John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics" by Richard Parker (Farrar, 2005), J. Bradford DeLong wrote in Foreign Affairs that Mr. Galbraith's lifelong sermon of social democracy was destined to fail in a land of "rugged individualism." He compared Mr. Galbraith to Sisyphus, endlessly pushing the same rock up a hill that always turns out to be too steep.

Amartya Sen, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, maintains that Mr. Galbraith not only reached but also defined the summit of his field. In the 2000 commencement address at Harvard, Mr. Parker's book recounts, Mr. Sen said the influence of "The Affluent Society" was so pervasive that its many piercing insights were taken for granted.
"It's like reading 'Hamlet' and deciding it's full of quotations," he said.

John Kenneth Galbraith was born Oct. 15, 1908, on a 150-acre farm in Dunwich Township in southern Ontario, Canada, the only son of William Archibald and Catherine Kendall Galbraith. His forebears had left Scotland years before.

His father was a farmer and schoolteacher, the head of a farm-cooperative insurance company, an organizer of the township telephone company, and a town and county auditor. His mother, whom he described as beautiful but decidedly firm, died when he was 14.

The Farming Life
Mr. Galbraith said in his memoir "A Life in Our Times" (1981) that no one could understand farming without knowing two things about it: a farmer's sense of inferiority and his appreciation of manual labor. His own sense of inferiority, he said, was coupled with his belief that the Galbraith clan was more intelligent, knowledgeable and affluent than its neighbors.

"My legacy was the inherent insecurity of the farm-reared boy in combination with the aggressive feeling that I owed to all I encountered to make them better informed," he said.

Mr. Galbraith said he inherited his liberalism, his interest in politics and his wit from his father. When he was about 8, he once recalled, he would join his father at political rallies. At one event, he wrote in his 1964 memoir "The Scotch," his father mounted a large pile of manure to address the crowd.

"He apologized with ill-concealed sincerity for speaking from the Tory platform," Mr. Galbraith related. "The effect on this agrarian audience was electric. Afterward I congratulated him on the brilliance of the sally. He said, 'It was good but it didn't change any votes.' "

At age 18 he enrolled at Ontario Agricultural College, where he took practical farming courses like poultry husbandry and basic plumbing. But as the Depression dragged down Canadian farmers, the questions of the way farm products were sold and at what prices became more urgent to him than how they were produced. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Toronto and enrolled at the University of
California, Berkeley, where he received his master's degree in 1933 and his doctorate in agricultural economics in 1934.

A major influence on him was the caustic social commentary he found in Veblen's "Theory of the Leisure Class." Mr. Galbraith called Veblen one of American history's most astute social scientists, but also acknowledged that he tended to be overcritical.

"I've thought to resist this tendency," Mr. Galbraith said, "but in other respects Veblen's influence on me has lasted long. One of my greatest pleasures in my writing has come from the thought that perhaps my work might annoy someone of comfortably pretentious position. Then comes the realization that such people rarely read."

While at Berkeley, he began contributing to The Journal of Farm Economics and other publications. His writings came to the attention of Harvard, where he became an instructor and tutor from 1934 to 1939. In those years the theories of John Maynard Keynes were exciting economists everywhere because they promised solutions to the most urgent problems of the time: the Depression and unemployment. The government must intervene in moments of crisis, Lord Keynes maintained, and unbalance the budget if necessary to prime the pump and get the nation's economic machinery running again.

Keynesianism gave economic validation to what President Roosevelt was doing, Mr. Galbraith thought, and he resolved in 1937 "to go to the temple" - Cambridge University - on a fellowship grant for a year of study with the disciples of Lord Keynes.

In 1937 Mr. Galbraith married Catherine Merriam Atwater, the daughter of a prominent New York lawyer and a linguist, whom he met when she was a graduate student at Radcliffe.

In addition to his wife and his son J. Alan, of Washington, a lawyer, he is survived by two other sons, Peter, a former United States ambassador to Croatia and a senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation in Washington, and James, an economist at the University of Texas; a sister, Catherine Denholm of Toronto; and
six grandchildren.

In his 1981 memoir, he said that though the basic idea was still sound, he had been "a bit carried away" by his notion of countervailing power. "I made it far more inevitable and rather more equalizing than, in practice, it ever is," he wrote, adding that often it does not emerge, with the result that "numerous groups - the ghetto young, the rural poor, textile workers, many consumers - remain weak or helpless."

He summarized the lessons of his days at the Office of Price Administration in "A Theory of Price Control," later calling it the best book he ever wrote. He said: "The only difficulty is that five people read it. Maybe 10. I made up my mind that I would never again place myself at the mercy of the technical economists who had the enormous power to ignore what I had written. I set out to involve a larger community."

He wrote two more major books in the 50's dealing with economics, but both were aimed at a large general audience. Both were best sellers.

In "The Great Crash 1929," he rattled the complacent, recalled the mistakes of an earlier day and suggested that some were being repeated as the book appeared, in 1955. Mr. Galbraith testified at a Senate hearing and said that another crash was inevitable. The stock market dropped sharply that day, and he was widely blamed.

"The Affluent Society" appeared in 1958, making Mr. Galbraith known around the world. In it, he depicted a consumer culture gone wild, rich in goods but poor in the social services that make for community. He argued that America had become so obsessed with overproducing consumer goods that it had increased the perils of both inflation and recession by creating an artificial demand for frivolous or useless products, by
encouraging overextension of consumer credit and by emphasizing the private sector at the expense of the public sector. He declared that this obsession with products like the biggest and fastest automobile damaged the quality of life in America by creating "private opulence and public squalor."

Anticipating the environmental movement by nearly a decade, he asked, "Is the added production or the added efficiency in production worth its effect on ambient air, water and space - the countryside?" Mr. Galbraith called for a change in values that would shun the seductions of advertising and champion clean air, good housing and aid for the arts.

Later, in "The New Industrial State" (1967), he tried to trace the shift of power from the landed aristocracy through the great industrialists to the technical and managerial experts of modern corporations. He called for a new class of intellectuals and professionals to determine policy. While critics, as usual, praised his ability to write compellingly, they also continued to complain that he oversimplified economic matters and either ignored or failed to keep up with corporate changes. Mr. Galbraith conceded some errors and revised his book in 1971.

A Move Into Politics
One of his early readers was Adlai Stevenson, the governor of Illinois, who twice ran unsuccessfully for president against Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mr. Galbraith often wrote to Mr. Stevenson, introducing him to Keynesian taxation and unemployment policies. In 1953, Mr. Galbraith and Thomas K. Finletter, the former secretary of the Air Force and later ambassador to NATO, formed a sort of brain trust for Mr. Stevenson that included Ambassador W. Averell Harriman, the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and the foreign policy specialist George W. Ball.

Although Mr. Galbraith did not at first regard Kennedy, a former student of his at Harvard, as a serious member of Congress, he began to change his view after Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1952 and began calling him for advice. The senator's conversations became increasingly wide-ranging and well informed, Mr. Galbraith said, and his respect and affection grew.

After Mr. Kennedy won the presidency in 1960, he appointed Mr. Galbraith the United States ambassador to India. There were those, Mr. Galbraith among them, who believed that the president had done this to get a potential loose cannon out of Washington.

He said in his memoir: "Kennedy, I always believed, was pleased to have me in his administration, but at a suitable distance such as in India." Mr. Galbraith was fascinated with India; he had spent a year there in 1956 advising its government and was eager to return.

He spent 27 months as ambassador, clashed with the State Department and was more favorably regarded as a diplomat by those outside the government. He fought for increased American military and economic aid for India and acted as a sort of informal adviser to the Indian government on economic policy. Known by his staff as "the Great Mogul," he achieved an excellent rapport with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and other senior officials in the Indian government.

Mr. Galbraith became an American citizen, and taught economics at Princeton in 1939. But after the fall of France in 1940, Mr. Galbraith joined the Roosevelt administration to help manage an economy being prepared for war. He rose to become the administrator of wage and price controls in the Office of Price Administration. Prices remained stable, but he grew controversial, drawing the constant fire of industry complaints. "I reached the point that all price fixers reach," he said,
"My enemies outnumbered my friends."

He was forced to resign in 1943 and was rejected by the Army as too tall when he sought to enlist. He then held a variety of government and private jobs, including director of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey in 1945, director of the Office of Economic Security Policy in the State Department in 1946, and a member of the board of editors of Fortune magazine from 1943 to 1948. It was at Fortune, he said, that he became addicted to writing.

In 1949 he returned to Harvard as a professor of economics; his lectures were delivered before standing-room-only audiences. And he began to write with intensity, rising early and writing at least two or three hours a day, before his normally full schedule of other duties began, for most of the rest of his life.

He completed two books in 1952, "American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power" and "A Theory of Price Control." In "American Capitalism," he set out to debunk myths about the free market economy and explore concentrations of economic power. He described the pressures that corporations and unions exerted on each other for increased profits and increased wages, and said these countervailing forces kept those giant groups in equilibrium and the nation's economy prosperous and stable.

When India became embroiled in a border war with China in the Himalayas in 1962, Ambassador Galbraith effectively took charge of both the American military and the diplomatic response during what was a brief but potentially explosive crisis. He saw to it that India received restrained American help and took it upon himself to announce that the United States recognized India's disputed northern borders.

The reason he had so much control over the American response, he said, was that the border fighting occurred during the far more consequential Cuban missile crisis, and no one at the highest levels at the White House, the State Department or the Pentagon was readily responding to his cables.

Mr. Galbraith published "Ambassador's Journal: A Personal Account of the Kennedy Years," a book based on the diary he kept during his time in India, in 1969. A year earlier he published "Indian Painting: The Scenes, Themes and Legends," which he wrote with Mohinder Singh Randhawa. An avid champion of Indian art, he donated much of his collection to the Harvard University Art Museums.

In 1963, Mr. Galbraith added fiction to his repertory for the first time with "The McLandress Dimension," a novel he wrote under the pseudonym Mark Epernay.

After Kennedy was assassinated, Mr. Galbraith served as an adviser to President Johnson, meeting with him often at the White House or on trips to the president's ranch in Texas to talk about what could be accomplished with the Great Society programs. Mr. Galbraith said that Johnson had summoned him to write the final draft of his speech outlining the purposes of the Great Society, and that when the writing
was done, said: "I'm not going to change a word. That's great."

The relationship between the two men soon broke apart over their differences over the war in Vietnam. Nevertheless, when Adlai Stevenson died in 1965, the ambassadorship to the United Nations became vacant, and word reached Mr. Galbraith that the president was considering him as Mr. Stevenson's successor.

A Job Declined
Not wanting to be placed in the position of having to defend administration positions he strongly opposed, Mr. Galbraith suggested Justice Arthur J. Goldberg of the Supreme Court. The president named Mr. Goldberg, and Mr. Galbraith later blamed himself for a "poisonous" mistake that "cost the court a good and liberal jurist." Others said he took too much credit for what happened.

In 1973 he published "Economics and the Public Purpose," in which he sought to extend the planning system already used by the industrial core of the economy to the market economy, to small-business owners and to entrepreneurs. Mr. Galbraith called for a "new socialism," with more steeply progressive taxes; public support of the arts; public ownership of housing, medical and transportation facilities; and the conversion of some corporations and military contractors into public corporations.

He continued to rise early and, despite the seeming effortlessness of his prose, revised each day's work at least five times. "It was usually on about the fourth day that I put in that note of spontaneity for which I am known," he said.

He served as president of the American Economic Association, the profession's highest honor, and was elected to membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He continued to pour out magazine articles, book reviews, op-ed essays, letters to editors; he lectured everywhere, sometimes debating William F. Buckley Jr., his friend and Gstaad skiing partner. He was so prolific that Art Buchwald, the humorist, once introduced him by citing his literary production: "Since 1959 alone, he has written 12 books, 135 articles, 61 book reviews, 16 book introductions, 312 book blurbs and 105,876 letters to The New York Times, of which all but 3 have been printed."

In 1977 he wrote and narrated "The Age of Uncertainty," a 13-part television series surveying 200 years of economic theory and practice. In 1990 he wrote "A Tenured Professor," about a Harvard professor who devised a legal, foolproof and computer-assisted system for playing the stock market and used his billions of dollars in profits on programs for education and peace - only to be investigated by Congress for un-American activities and forced to shut down his operations.

In 1996, as Mr. Galbraith approached his 90th year, he wrote "The Good Society." Matthew Miller wrote in The New York Times Book Review, "We're not likely to find as elegant a little restatement of the liberal creed, or its call to conscience."

Mr. Galbraith said Republicans out to roll back the welfare state made a fundamental error in thinking that politicians and their actions drive history. In fact, he argued, it is the reverse. Liberals did not create big government; history did.

Mr. Galbraith, who received the Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 2000, continued to make his views known. Some were surprising, like his speech in 1999 praising Johnson's presidency, which he had helped to bring down by working with McCarthy.

There always seemed to be one more book. One, "The Essential Galbraith" (2001), was a collection of essays and excerpts that a reviewer in Business Week said remained very timely. Another, "Name-Dropping from F.D.R. On" (1999), recounted encounters with the powerful, including President Kennedy's response when Mr. Galbraith complained that an article in The New York Times had described him as arrogant.

Kennedy retorted that he didn't see why it shouldn't: "Everybody else does."

In 2004, Mr. Galbraith, who was then 95, published "The Economics of Innocent Fraud," a short book that questioned much of the standard economic wisdom by questioning the ability of markets to regulate themselves, the usefulness of monetary policy and the effectiveness of corporate governance.

He remained optimistic about the ability of government to improve the lot of the less fortunate. "Let there be a coalition of the concerned," he urged. "The affluent would still be affluent, the comfortable still comfortable, but the poor would be part of the political system."

quinta-feira, abril 27, 2006

20) How Brazil can Grow - McKinsey Report

How Brazil can grow
A McKinsey Report, 2006 Number 2:

Social and economic policies can help the country overcome entrenched barriers to increased productivity.
Heinz-Peter Elstrodt, Jorge A. Fergie, and Martha A. Laboissière

The lackluster performance of Brazil's economy over the past decade, when GDP per capita grew just 1.5 percent a year, has allowed the gap between developed economies such as the United States and Brazil to widen and provided an opportunity for fast-growing competitors such as China and India to gain ground (Exhibit 1). A study finds that the root cause of Brazil's weak growth is a relatively slow increase in labor productivity—the primary determinant of a nation's GDP per capita. Brazil's labor productivity was 23 percent of the US level in 1995 and fell to 21 percent in 2004.

To encourage a public debate among Brazil's leaders on how to boost economic development, we mapped the barriers to productivity growth in eight sectors—agriculture, automotive, food retailing, government, residential construction, retail banking, steel, and telecommunications—that together make up 46 percent of the country's economy.1

We found that about a third of Brazil's productivity gap with the United States is caused by two structural barriers. The first is the country's modest per capita income, which makes consumers favor lower-priced products and services. One illustration of the population's lower purchasing power: Brazil's automotive industry primarily produces small, inexpensive cars and relies on imports for higher-value-added vehicles. The second hurdle (labor is relatively cheaper than capital) discourages the use of machinery that would improve productivity. These structural limitations will fade if Brazil can achieve strong, sustained economic growth. But first the government must tackle the nonstructural barriers responsible for the remaining two-thirds of the productivity gap. All of these problems can be resolved through social and economic policies (Exhibit 2).

The most important barrier—responsible for some 45 percent of the nonstructural gap—is Brazil's huge informal economy, which represents about 40 percent of the gross national income.2 By avoiding taxes, ignoring quality and safety regulations, or infringing on copyrights, "gray-market" companies gain cost advantages that allow them to compete successfully against more efficient, law-abiding businesses. Honest companies lose profits and market share, and thus make less money to invest in technology and other productivity-enhancing measures.3

The second obstacle—macroeconomic instability—is reflected in the high degree of uncertainty among Brazilian executives about future exchange and interest rates and in the difficulties of forecasting demand for products and services. Executives are left with little choice but to focus on short-term financial management at the expense of growth and operating efficiency. Instability also discourages long-term investment (to automate operations, for instance), as companies and investors demand higher returns to compensate for macroeconomic risks. The result is that Brazil's interest rates are high—8 percent, compared with just 2.7 percent in the United States—and the market for long-term debt is virtually nonexistent.

Regulations that limit productivity—such as labor and tax laws, price controls, product regulations, trade barriers, and subsidies—are equally problematic. Constraints on laying off workers (which add to employment costs) and restrictions on hiring temporary workers prevent businesses from adjusting their workforce to meet fluctuations in demand. Brazil's high sales tax (around 30 percent on a new car, compared with 7 percent in the United States) also hampers productivity growth, by reducing the demand for cars and reinforcing the industry's focus on producing low-value-added vehicles, for example.

Inefficient public services are another hindrance. One-quarter of the population receives no secondary schooling; almost 12 percent of adults—some 15 million people—cannot read or write.4 In the agricultural sector, which employs some 20 percent of the workforce, this educational deficit impedes the adoption and effective use of modern seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and planting techniques. Modern farms in Brazil do use such techniques, but, even there, farm workers often lack the basic education needed to apply them most effectively.

Finally, infrastructure limitations—including inadequate highways, ports, railroads, and power generation and storage facilities—cause problems, particularly in the agricultural sector. Up to 12 percent of all grain produced in Brazil spoils before reaching ports or consumers, for instance.

The impact of these key barriers—informality, macroeconomic instability, regulation, the provision of public services, and the country's infrastructure—varies across sectors (Exhibit 3). Informality is the biggest obstacle to productivity growth in labor-intensive domestic sectors, while macroeconomic instability is the prevalent factor in capital-intensive export sectors.

Our experience suggests that once a country has identified its productivity barriers, it can tackle them through structural reforms and approaches tailored to each sector.5 Brazil's government should establish conditions for fair competition in domestic sectors and enhance international competitiveness of the economy as a whole to benefit its export businesses.6
About the Authors

Heinz-Peter Elstrodt and Jorge Fergie are directors in McKinsey's São Paulo office, and Martha Laboissière is a consultant at the McKinsey Global Institute.

1The study, "Brazilian economic program—Phase 1: Mapping barriers to growth in the Brazilian economy," was conducted in 2005 by McKinsey's São Paulo office in collaboration with the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). The project benefited from a previous McKinsey study on Brazilian productivity— see Martin N. Baily, Heinz-Peter Elstrodt, William Bebb Jones Jr., William W. Lewis, Vincent Palmade, Norbert Sack, and Eric Zitzewitz, "Will Brazil seize its future?" The McKinsey Quarterly, 1998 Number 3, pp. 74-83—and from similar MGI-sponsored studies in 16 countries. The methodology combines detailed analysis of labor productivity in different industries with a set of transverse analyses of the economy as a whole.
2According to the World Bank.
3Joe Capp, Heinz-Peter Elstrodt, and William B. Jones Jr., "Reining in Brazil's informal economy," The McKinsey Quarterly, Web exclusive, January 2005.
4 Education Trends in Perspective: Analysis of the World Education Indicators, Unesco Institute for Statistics and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2005.
5Didem Dincer Baser, Diana Farrell, and David E. Meen, "Turkey's quest for stable growth," The McKinsey Quarterly, 2003 special edition: Global directions, pp. 74-86.
6Phase 2 of the study will examine specific measures that the government should take in these areas.

19) As melhores escolas de administração dos EUA e do mundo

Serviços de informação, para os interessados em MBA e outros cursos de administração em escolas reputadas do exterior:

SSRN is pleased to announce a new service: Top Business Schools Rankings based on downloads from SSRN's eLibrary. This list will be updated at the beginning of each month and joins the Top Law School Rankings, announced last year.

The Top Business School Rankings includes U.S. Business School and International Business School Rankings along with an aggregate Ranking of over 800 Business Schools from around the world.

The Top 20 U.S. and International Business Schools as measured by downloads of their faculty's papers from SSRN over the last 12 months

1 Harvard Business School
2 University of Chicago - Graduate School of Business
3 University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School
4 Yale School of Management
5 New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management
7 Stephen M. Ross School of Business at University of Michigan
8 Columbia University - Columbia Business School
9 Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business
10 William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration
11 Duke University - Fuqua School of Business
12 University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business
13 Stanford Graduate School of Business
14 University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business
15 Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management
16 Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business
17 Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
18 Indiana University Bloomington - Kelley School of Business
19 University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business 20 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - College of Business

To view the full list of U.S. Business Schools go to:

1 University of London - London Business School
2 Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management
3 Tilburg University - CentER and Faculty of Economics and Business
4 City University London - Sir John Cass Business School
5 IESE Business School - University of Navarra
6 University of British Columbia - Sauder School of Business
7 University of Zurich - Faculty of Business Administration
8 Hong Kong University of Science & Technology - School of Business
and Management
9 University of Toronto - Joseph L. Rotman School of Management
10 Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences
11 University of Amsterdam - Business School
12 Lancaster University - Management School
13 University of Reading - Business School
14 University of Maastricht (formerly University of Limburg) - Faculty of Economics & Business Administration
15 University of Oxford - Said Business School
16 Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business Administration
17 Middlesex University - Business School
18 Aarhus School of Business
19 McGill University - Faculty of Management 20 University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

To view the full list of International Business Schools go to:

To view the full list of all 800 plus Business Schools go to:

To access the full data table on our web site, you must register in
SSRN HQ (registration is free). If you are not registered, you will
be prompted to do so. You can also reach all of the Top Business School Rankings from the Top Institutions Link on the SSRN Home page

SSRN ranks over 800 business schools worldwide on 9 separate measures including total lifetime downloads of their faculty's papers on SSRN, total number of papers on SSRN, total number of authors, and downloads per paper and per author. The Rankings can be resorted on any of the measures by clicking on the column you want to sort by.
Clicking again on a column heading reverses the sort.

From any of the Top Business School Rankings you can link to time series information on the measures and in some cases to data from which the measures are calculated. These historical figures will be added as we complete their calculation over the next two months. You can link to a list of the authors affiliated with each institution on SSRN and from there you have one-click access to each "author home page" on SSRN, which lists all the author's other research on SSRN.

In the near future, SSRN will also create similar rankings in other fields covered by SSRN.

Some cautions: We believe these rankings can be a useful source of information about the productivity and influence of each school's faculty (to the extent that faculty members post their research to SSRN). At the same time, rankings based on number of downloads or number of papers posted to SSRN have important biases and limitations. We trust that our readers will use them carefully.

These rankings are a "beta" version. We welcome corrections to our data and suggestions for changes in methodology. Please write to:

Michael C. Jensen
Chairman, Social Science Research Network Director, Management Research Network

18) Pequena bibliografia sobre as privatizações

Meu colega diplomata Rodrigo Amaral Souza compôs uma pequena bibliografia sobre as privatizações no Brasil, que deixo como referência básica sobre o assunto:

1-) "A Experiência Brasileira de Privatização: o que vem a seguir?", Armando Castelar Pinheiro, BNDES, 2000; link:

2-) "Em defesa do BNDES", Fabio Giambiagi, Valor Econômico, link:

3-) "Os efeitos da privatização sobre o desempenho econômico e financeiro das empresas privatizadas", Francisco Anuatti-Neto; Milton Barossi-Filho; Antonio Gledson de Carvalho; Roberto Macedo (junho 2005); link:

4) "Privatização e Ajuste Fiscal no Brasil", Ricardo da Costa Nunes; link:

5) "The Brazilan Privatization Experience: What's Next?", Armando Castelar Pinheiro, 2002; link:

6) "Empresas estatais, retorno de investimento e ajuste fiscal: a privatização é um bom negócio para o governo?", Edilberto Carlos Pontes Lima (IPEA); link:

7) "Morte do Consenso de Washington? Os rumores a esse respeito parecem muito exagerados", Fabio Giambiagi e Paulo Roberto de Almeida. BNDES, outubro 2003; link:

quarta-feira, abril 26, 2006

17) Karl Popper e as tarefas do cientista

“A tarefa mais importante de um cientista é certamente contribuir para o avanço de sua área de conhecimento. A segunda tarefa mais importante é escapar da visão estreita de uma especialização excessiva, interessando-se ativamente por outros campos em busca do aperfeiçoamento pelo saber que é a missão cultural da ciência. A terceira tarefa é estender aos demais a compreensão de seus conhecimentos, reduzindo ao mínimo o jargão científico.”

Karl Popper, em “Ciência: problemas, objetivos e responsabilidades” (1963)

quarta-feira, abril 19, 2006

16) Impostos no Brasil: uma péssima idéia...

O artigo abaixo transcrito é uma boa aproximação, se é que pode haver qualquer coisa de boa nessa história, a uma terrível realidade no Brasil, a outra sendo essa extorsão que deriva da regra surrealista de que é impossível escapar da mentira que você está comprando qualquer coisa em “seis vezes sem juros”.
Os impostos são escorchantes, no Brasil, e vão continuar sendo durante muito tempo...
Ou alguém acredita que pode ser de outra forma?

Santa ignorância: Governos gastam quanto querem porque poucos sabem que os impostos tomam de 30% a 50% do preço de tudo
Brasil S/A:: Antônio Machado
Correio Braziliense, 19 abril 2006

A facilidade com que os governantes encontram no país os recursos para custear qualquer despesa – das relevantes, como a manutenção da saúde pública, às supérfluas, como o inchaço de assessores de coisa nenhuma e a passagem comprada aos russos para que um oficial da Aeronáutica fosse de passageiro na nave Soyuz passear no espaço –, tem tudo a ver com a falta de transparência sobre o que é feito com os dinheiros dos impostos arrecadados ao contribuinte.

Os mais instruídos pagam bufando, embora não poucos entre eles, especialmente os mais abonados, acreditem que as suas milionárias consultorias os façam recolher menos imposto do que deveriam. O que é verdade, mas nada alivia a carga tributária, pois a conta do que gastam os poderes (governos federal, estadual e municipal, os legislativos e o judiciário) sempre será rateada – e, no fim, seja empresa, banco ou biboca, não são eles, mas as pessoas de carne e osso que pagam os impostos, porque tudo é repassado para o preço.

Não escapam deles os que vivem de salário e mal ganham para virar cliente dessas firmas de “engenharia tributária”. A classe média, nesse grupo, é a mais prejudicada, já que os bens e serviços de qualidade, conforto e status são os mais tributados. E os pobres? São os desventurados do Fisco: pagam sem saber, e não é que paguem pouco pelos gêneros de primeira necessidade que formam a sua cesta básica cotidiana, além de acreditar, sobretudo os assistidos pelos programas de distribuição de renda, que devem agradecer todo dia à bondade do governo de plantão.

Em entrevista à revista dos contadores de São Paulo, o analista de controle externo do Tribunal de Contas da União, TCU, Danilo Adelwal Mendes Reis, foi direto ao ponto. O Estado, segundo ele, não tem interesse em disponibilizar para a sociedade o quanto é pago de imposto e quanto é devolvido sob a forma de serviços – que, quando disponíveis, são péssimos. “Isso criaria um cidadão crítico, o que não interessa à estrutura do poder”, disse.

Leviatã esfomeado
Para onde vai o dinheiro? Ao apurar a morte por desnutrição, no ano passado, de 38 crianças guaranis-kaiowá atendidos pela Funasa, Fundação Nacional da Saúde, o deputado Fernando Gabeira (PV-RJ) constatou que esse órgão público gastava 90% de sua dotação com atividades meio e apenas 10% com serviços à população. Um recente levantamento da população escolar na rede pública pelo Ministério da educação encontrou uma discrepância de 13 milhões de alunos. Seriam fantasmas, cadastrados pelas prefeituras ou escolas para receber e desviar os repasses do Fundef, o Fundo da educação.

Dos 24 bilhões de beneficiários da Previdência, estima-se em 3 milhões o número de benefícios fraudados. Do recadastramento em curso já foram canceladas pouco mais de 80 mil aposentadorias. É só ir somando os desperdícios, fraudes. Historicamente, 20% das obras públicas fiscalizadas pelo TCU têm sinais de irregularidades graves, sobretudo superfaturamento. Adicionem-se à lista projetos privados transferidos com ônus ao Tesouro, como usinas de energia e as pressões para o governo absorver o pepino da Varig, o inchaço dos quadros de funcionários do Congresso, os cartões de crédito da Presidência sobre os quais não há nenhum controle, coisas assim e se vai entender por que o Leviatã cobra tanto imposto no Brasil.

Preços sem impostos
Se na venda de qualquer produto e serviço fosse discriminada a parcela de impostos embutidos no preço, possivelmente fosse outra a passividade bovina do contribuinte e mesmo desinformados teriam a consciência de que o governo não faz nada de graça: apenas tira de um para dar a outro. Às vezes, quando ajuda com uma mão, cobra o benefício com a outra. Pegue-se a cesta básica. Nela, segundo os organizadores do site contribuintecidadã, um pacote de biscoito paga 38,5% de impostos; um quilo de açúcar, 40,5%; leite longa vida, 33,63%. Na construção de uma casa popular, estimada em R$ 45 mil, os impostos tomam R$ 22,5 mil, quase a metade do custo.

Uma latinha de cerveja recolhe mais de impostos que o seu preço: 56%. Um aparelho de TV ou DVD, 38%. Conta de luz, 43,2%. Telefone, de 40% a 63%. Se a sociedade soubesse disso antes de votar, pode ser que os desperdícios e fraudes fossem menores.

Sem consciência do contribuinte sobre o problema fiscal, nunca se avançará em sua correção. O cidadão lê que a economia vai bombar, o risco-país é o menor desde que foi criado, a Selic a 14,75% ao ano (se o BC cortar 0,75 ponto de percentagem nesta quarta-feira) é a mais baixa da história, a dívida externa foi exorcizada, o dólar perdeu os dentes, a inflação está mansa, o emprego cresce.

Só pode supor, com razão, que é doido quem fala em problemas. Mas é a história da roda-gigante: roda, roda e não sai do lugar. O BC deveria pagar a aposta e sair de campo: isto é, fazer o que pedem os industriais e deixar a economia crescer acima do PIB potencial. Se a inflação não ressurgir, muito bem, ninguém atacará o BC. Mas, se voltar com tudo, aí não tem choro nem vela: é o Estado e seus gastos que não cabem no PIB, não havendo o que discutir. Antes, já no fim deste ano, porém, ou o novo presidente induz a legislatura atual, que se despede e não tem mais nada a perder, a aprovar um pacote de aumento de impostos ou fará vazar que sua equipe prepara um choque fiscal para cortar gastos. Esperem para ver.

terça-feira, abril 18, 2006

15) Programa de aula de Economia - Graduação Uniceub, 1 semestre de 2006

Economia Política
Programa da Disciplina e Plano de Aulas
no 2º Semestre do Curso de Direito do UniCEUB
Faculdade de Direito – 1º semestre 2006

Prof. Dr. Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Data Programa Detalhado Bibliografia Indicativa
Aula 1 Introdução geral 1: os grandes conceitos da economia no plano nacional (Sem menção de livro texto)
Aula 2 Introdução geral 2: os grandes conceitos da economia no plano internacional. Marco A. S. Vasconcellos-Manuel E. Garcia: Fundamentos de Economia
Aula 3 1 – Formação da Ciência Econômica
1.1. Teorias clássica, neoclássica, keynesiana FE: Cap. 2; Feijó, R., História do Pensamento Econômico. Atlas, 2001
Aula 4 1.5. Economia e direito FE: Capítulo 3: Economia e direito
Aula 5 2 – Evolução do Pensamento Econômico
1. Monetarismo, 2. Estruturalismo, 3. Neoliberalismo FE: Capítulos 2 e 3; Fusfeld, D. R., A Era do Economista, Saraiva, 2001
Aula 6 3 – Elementos Fundamentais de Economia
3.1. Setores: agricultura, indústria e serviços FE: Capítulo 1 e 4: Introdução à Economia; Introdução à Microec.
Aula 7 3.2. Microeconomia: oferta, demanda e mercados; estrutura dos mercados FE: Capítulos 4 e 5: Introdução à Microeconomia; Demanda, Oferta.
Aula 8 3.3. Interferência do governo na atividade econômica: tributação, controles de preços FE: Capítulo 5, item 5.5: Interferência do governo…
Aula 9 3.4. Macroeconomia: objetivos e dilemas de política econômica: emprego, estabilidade de preços, renda FE: Capítulo 8: Introdução à Macroeconomia (8.1, 8.2)
Aula 10 3.5. Instrumentos da política macroeconômica: políticas fiscal, monetária, cambial e de rendas FE: Capítulo 8: Introdução à Macroeconomia (8.3)
Aula 11 3.6. Contabilidade nacional: PIB e PNB; poupança, investimento e consumo FE: Cap. 9: Contabilidade Social
Aula 12 3.7. Inflação e políticas de estabilização; Variáveis nominais e reais; efeitos sobre emprego e renda FE: Cap. 10: Determinação da Renda e do Produto Nacional (mercados)
Aula 13 3.7. Inflação e políticas de estabilização; a experiência brasileira FE: Cap. 13: Inflação; aula sobre os planos de estabilização no Brasil
Aula 14 3.8. Desemprego e tecnologia: inovações tecnológicas e seus efeitos sobre o emprego; mercado laboral FE: Cap 8: Macroeconomia (8.2); Cap. 10: Renda (10.6)
Aula 15 3.9. Moeda e finanças: oferta de moeda, taxas de juros; sistema financeiro e seu papel na economia FE: Cap. 11: O Lado Monetário
Aula 16 3.10. Contas públicas: tributação, orçamento, déficit, dívida e seus efeitos sobre juros e economia real FE: Cap. 14: O Setor Público
Aula 17 3.11. O setor externo: balanço de pagamentos; comércio, serviços, investimentos capitais; câmbio FE: Cap 12: O Setor Externo
Aula 18 4 – Globalização: o aumento da interdependência econômica internacional
Paulo R. Almeida: Os primeiros anos do séc. XXI: o Brasil e as
Aula 19 Revisão da matéria aplicada até aqui: simulação de questões, preparação para a prova FE: Vários capítulos do livro
Aula 20 1ª Prova: conteúdo das primeiras 18 aulas
Aula 21 Resultados da prova: revisão de conteúdo e discussão em aula
Aula 22 4.1. Comércio internacional e a interdependência das nações: perspectiva histórica Caves, Frankel, Jones, Economia Internacional. Saraiva, 2001
Aula 23 3.11. O setor externo: balanço de pagamentos; comércio, serviços, investimentos capitais; câmbio FE: Cap 12: O Setor Externo
Aula 24 4 – Globalização: o aumento da interdependência econômica internacional
4.1. Comércio internacional e a interdependência das nações: perspectiva histórica Paulo R. Almeida: Os primeiros anos do séc. XXI: o Brasil e as
Caves, Frankel, Jones, Economia Internacional. Saraiva, 2001
Aula 25 4.2. As companhias multinacionais e o papel do Estado: mudanças de padrão; 4.3. A globalização produtiva: tecnologia e investimentos estrangeiros diretos ROSSETTI, José P., Introdução à Economia, 19a. ed., Atlas, 2002;
FE: Cap. 15, 15.6. Internacionalização da economia
Aula 26 4. 4. A globalização comercial: liberalização e protecionismo; o papel do GATT e da OMC;
4.5. A globalização financeira: os movimentos de capitais e os mercados de moedas; papel do FMI Paulo Almeida. O Brasil e o multilateralismo econômico. 1999;
Eichengreen, Barry, A Globalização do Capital. Editora 34, 2002
Aula 27 4.6. A formação de blocos econômicos: União Européia, Nafta, Mercosul; o projeto da Alca;
4.6. Blocos econômicos: os casos do Mercosul e o projeto da Alca Paulo R. de Almeida. O Brasil e o multilateralismo econômico. 1999;
Paulo Roberto de Almeida. Mercosul: fundamentos e perspectivas. 1998
Aula 28 5 – Desenvolvimento econômico brasileiro: experiência histórica e características recentes;
5.1. A teoria estruturalista da CEPAL: superação do subdesenvolvimento;
5.2. Industrialização brasileira e suas conseqüências; o papel do Estado (políticas comercial e industrial) FE: Cap. 15: Crescimento e desenvolvimento brasileiro;
Baer, Werner. A Economia Brasileira. Nobel, 1995;
Baer, Werner. A Economia Brasileira. Nobel, 1995
Aula 29 5.3. Crise do balanço de pagamentos, inflação e desequilíbrio nas contas públicas Eichengreen, Barry, A Globalização do Capital. Editora 34, 2002
Aula 30 5.4. Abertura comercial, abertura financeira e estabilização monetária: experiência dos anos 1990 Paulo R. de Almeida. O Brasil e o multilateralismo econômico. 1999
Aula 31 5.5. Desafios para a retomada do desenvolvimento: estabilização e modernização tecnológica; A globalização e o Brasil: vantagens e desvantagens Vasconcellos-Gremaud-Toneto, Eco-nomia Brasileira Contemporânea; Bauman, Renato, (org.), O Brasil e a Economia Global. Campus, 1996
Aula 32 Revisão geral da matéria Vários capítulos dos livros de referência; anotações de classe
??/06/06 2ª Prova (Final): conteúdo das aulas 22 a 31
26/06/06 Resultados finais; Pedidos de revisão
30/06/06 Entrega do Diário.
Elaboração: Paulo Roberto de Almeida (2ª versão: 05/04/06)

Avaliação: Serão realizadas duas avaliações, sendo a primeira de peso 1 e a segunda, final, de peso 2. A média das duas comporá o resultado final.

sábado, abril 15, 2006

14) Inflação e desemprego: fim dos mitos?

Transcrevo abaixo artigo do economista Rodrigo Constantino, formado pela PUC-RJ, com MBA de Finanças pelo IBMEC.


Muito se fala sobre um necessário trade-off entre inflação e desemprego. Uma das curvas mais famosas em economia é a de Phillips, que trata justamente desta relação: menos desemprego, mais inflação. Alban Phillips realizou um estudo empírico em 1958, cujos resultados logo foram abraçados pelos neo-keynesianos, felizes em argumentar que o governo poderia então controlar o nível de emprego com suas políticas. A princípio, Phillips tratava da relação entre aumento de salários e desemprego, mas as conclusões foram extrapoladas para a inflação e o desemprego. Esta mentalidade perdura até hoje, quando muitos economistas apresentam esta suposta dicotomia, exigindo uma escolha entre menos desemprego ou menos inflação. Mas será que tal relação é realmente válida?

Na década de 70, muitos países experimentaram uma estagflação, mistura de elevada inflação com elevado desemprego. Isso colocou a curva de Phillips em xeque. O nobel de Chicago, Milton Friedman, foi um dos que melhor explicou o fenômeno, lembrando que a inflação é basicamente um problema monetário, de excesso de circulação de moeda. Ele chamou a curva Phillips de uma ilusão. A escola austríaca também demonstrou, com sólido embasamento, que o desemprego era fruto de restrições criadas pelo próprio governo, não permitindo o livre funcionamento do mercado de trabalho. Murray Rothbard chegou a afirmar que a relação proposta pela curva Phillips era inversa, na verdade. Mas os adeptos de Keynes não desistiriam facilmente.

A curva foi adaptada, e o conceito de NAIRU (non-acelerating inflation rate of unemployment) foi criado, dando a entender que a partir de um certo nível de desemprego é que a inflação seria detonada. Tamanha é a influência do NAIRU que até mesmo o Fed, banco central americano, utiliza bastante seu conceito. Entretanto, a crença nesta teoria seria duramente abalada com os dados americanos, com cada vez menos desemprego sem correspondente aceleração da inflação. Para muitos, o nível do NAIRU seria em torno de 5,5% de desemprego. A taxa atual já está em 4,7% e nada da inflação explodir. Muitos economistas, perplexos, buscam novas explicações para o acontecimento “bizarro”.

Não pretendo me alongar no debate teórico sobre a relação entre inflação e desemprego. O tema é polêmico e há muita controvérsia ainda. Mas considero útil trazer o debate à tona, assim como dados empíricos recentes, já que não são poucos os economistas que condenam as rígidas metas de inflação no Brasil, como se um pouco mais de inflação fosse desejável para reduzirmos o desemprego. Erram o alvo. Os “desenvolvimentistas” são os principais proponentes desta dicotomia, a qual considero falsa. Podemos crescer de forma acelerada, reduzindo drasticamente o desemprego, sem que a inflação incomode. Afrouxar as metas de inflação não é o caminho. Reduzir os gastos públicos, aprovar reformas estruturais, atacar a burocracia e abrir mais o nosso comércio sim. Vários países seguiram esta trajetória e colheram os frutos, crescendo aceleradamente, sem inflação. Enquanto isso, outros mantiveram as armadilhas criadas pelo excesso de Estado e buscaram um crescimento calcado na maior tolerância com a inflação. O resultado foi infinitamente pior. Em alguns casos, catastrófico até.

Levantei dados de 40 países desde 1995 até 2004, usando a The Economist como fonte. A taxa média de desemprego no mundo neste período foi de 6,9%. A inflação média nos últimos 5 anos ficou em 3,8%. Não há praticamente correlação alguma entre a taxa média de desemprego e a inflação no período analisado. O Brasil apresentou desemprego médio de 8,3% para uma inflação de 8,7% desde 1999. Vários países tiveram taxas de desemprego menores, com inflação também menor. O Chile, nosso vizinho mais responsável, mostrou taxa média de desemprego de 7% para inflação média de apenas 2,7%. Tanto Inglaterra como Estados Unidos tiveram taxa de desemprego média de 6,2% enquanto a inflação permaneceu dentro do controle, perto de 2,5% ao ano. A Nova Zelândia, que realizou reformas liberais e reduziu o déficit público, apresentou desemprego de 6,1% durante o período, com inflação de apenas 2,4% ao ano. Tanto Taiwan como Cingapura praticamente não possuem desemprego, com taxas abaixo de 4%, ao mesmo tempo que a inflação média não chega a 1% por ano. Por outro lado, a Venezuela viveu com inflação bem maior, acima de 20% anual. Nem por isso foi capaz de levar sua taxa de desemprego média para baixo de 12%. Argentina e Rússia são outros casos de maior inflação com mais desemprego também.

Os exemplos são inúmeros. A relação entre a inflação e o desemprego é mais complexa do que parece. A curva de Phillips está longe de ser uma verdade irrefutável. Mais parece um mito. O NAIRU ainda necessita de mais fé que qualquer coisa para ser aceito. Os argumentos dos monetaristas balançam certas teorias convencionais. As teorias austríacas praticamente sepultam de vez as crenças dos keynesianos. E os dados empíricos recentes corroboram com a visão de que a dicotomia apresentada entre inflação e desemprego mais parece, na verdade, uma falsa dicotomia.

Rodrigo Constantino, economista
Publicado em 13/04/2006

segunda-feira, abril 03, 2006

13) Uma reflexão sobre a educação no Brasil

Trata-se de um artigo sobre a educação no Brasil (e em geral) de um autor associado ao Instituto Millenium (, Pedro Sette Câmara, postado originalmente neste link:

March 29th, 2006
Tirem os burocratas da educação

Há um movimento estudantil que usa o slogan “Nós não vamos pagar nada” – algo ingênuo, pois todos os brasileiros já pagam pelas universidades através de seus impostos, e só quem já tem a vida ganha poderia trabalhar de graça. Mas, descontando o fraseado inadequado (e dispensando os comentários sobre a educação de quem o elaborou), o slogan expressa o desejo de receber a educação do governo, em vez de ter que pagar por ela duas vezes, em impostos e mensalidades.

O desejo de pagar apenas uma vez por um serviço que se vai receber apenas uma vez é inteiramente compreensível. Incompreensível, porém, é que quase nunca ocorra às pessoas que, em vez de tentar obrigar o governo a fornecer uma educação melhor, talvez surtisse mais efeito simplesmente não pagá-lo para educar as pessoas, deixando a tarefa para os cidadãos privados.

Ao cobrar impostos, o governo impõe um pagamento e oferece um serviço cuja qualidade você pode contestar, na melhor das hipóteses, com longínquas esperanças. Se você não tem a educação que deseja, talvez seu neto venha a tê-la se houver suficiente lobby político, um determinado partido vencer as eleições etc. Já no mundo das escolas particulares (que não fossem regulamentadas pelo governo como hoje), se você não está satisfeito com uma, pode simplesmente mudar para outra.

Antes que você diga que essa é uma visão elitista, e que as pessoas mais humildes não teriam dinheiro para pagar escolas particulares, lembre-se de que:

1. Alunos de escolas públicas custam tanto ou mais dinheiro que alunos de escolas particulares. A escola particular precisa se manter por seus próprios esforços, que incluem a contenção de custos, e as escolas públicas têm o governo para sustentá-las. E se há algum problema de corrupção ou superfaturamento numa escola pública, o custo é de todos; numa escola privada, o problema é só daquelas pessoas que pagaram.

2. Tudo que você compra tem muitos impostos. Você dá mais dinheiro para o governo do que poderia imaginar. Os pobres também pagam os mesmos impostos, e tenho certeza de que ficariam mais felizes se pudessem guardar o dinheiro para si e decidir como gastá-lo.

3. Nunca subestime a disposição, sobretudo dos religiosos, de fazer caridade para quem realmente é necessitado. Antes de achar o autor deste artigo ingênuo, busque exemplos.

4. Antes de pensar que ainda assim haveria crianças fora da escola, lembre-se de que não existe sistema perfeito e pergunte-se o que foi que você mesmo fez para ajudar alguém.

O Estado ainda interfere na educação determinando o que é ensinado. Veja bem a frase: “o governo determina o que as pessoas podem estudar nas escolas”. Não parece nem um pouquinho totalitário? Não tem nem um jeitinho de controle mental? Por que é que vamos acreditar que um governo não tem nenhum interesse, exceto “o bem dos cidadãos”?

Se digo que o governo é que vai nos ensinar o que é a verdade, qualquer pessoa de bom senso vai franzir a testa, achando que está diante do mais ingênuo dos mortais. Não parece mais razoável que as pessoas, livremente organizadas, decidam o que estudarão, para que elas sim possam vigiar o governo e discuti-lo, em vez de ter suas mentes moldadas por burocratas do Ministério da Verdade – desculpe, da Educação?

Você não preferiria, enfim, usar seu dinheiro para estudar com pessoas verdadeiramente independentes?

Posted by Pedro Sette Câmara in Política, Educação |