jueves, octubre 05, 2006

El neoliberalismo cambia de forma pero sigue sin medir

Resulta que el neoliberalismo está chamuscado, pero vivo. Luego de haber perdido varias batallas durante la década del 90 (véase si no el estado actual de los organismos multilaterales de crédito) ahora cambia de forma y estrategia, para seguir adelante.
Resulta (como se indicó en posts anteriores) que el BM sacó una nueva publicación sobre el Este Asiático: An East Asian Renaissance: Ideas for Economic Growth
Es interesante el tema, porque en el 93 habían sacado el famoso "The East Asian Miracle", en el que -por presión de Japón- el Banco se ve obligado a explicar el milagro asiático, es decir, los únicos casos de países que en el Siglo XX pasaron de ser países de ingreso bajo a ingreso medio / alto (sobre todo hablamos de Taiwan y Corea del Sur).
En ese reporte, profusamente criticado por algunos especialistas en el tema, se indica que esos países crecieron más que nada por cumplir los designios del consenso de Washington (liberalización, comercio abierto, un Estado pequeño y que gasta poco, altos niveles de ahorro interno -y salarios bajos, debería agregarse-). La explicación contraria sería pensar que esos países crecieron por contar con fuertes políticas activas, distorsionar los precios vía subsidios y ejercer un fuerte disciplinamiento del sector privado.
Resulta que ahora el Banco directamente se corre de la polémica más o menos Estado, políticas más o menos activas y simplemente dicta qué hacer.
En una discusión on line con los autores del reporte nuevo, de la que pude participar se ve justamente esto.
Ante la pregunta de si creen que se requieren o no políticas activas, más bien la respuesta es "el Estado tiene que hacer lo que tiene que hacer" (léase poco). Para ellos en esa región el Esetado está actuando bien en comercio (liberalizando), finanzas (ordenando) e innovación (principalmente mejor educación de nivel superior).
Lo que para los autores todavía tiene que hacer es manejar mejor las ciudades, "cohesión social" (??) y lucha anticorrupción.
El Estado, mis amigos, sólo debe seguir siendo siendo el "night watchman" para esta gente.

Pego pregunta y respuesta del tipo:

Pregunta: Most of the authors which criticized The East Asian Miracle report -see for example World Development 22 (1994)- stressed the fact that the report understressed the impact of active public policies, especially in South Korea and Taiwan -what Alice H. Amsden (MIT) has called "getting prices wrong"-. This point has a dramatic relevance for processes of development in Latin American countries. For example, Argentina is growing right now at an "east asian" pace by getting fundamentals right but also, at the same time, by getting some prices wrong, as you may know. Reading "An East Asian Renaissance" I get the idea that, for the authors, the new scenario after the 1997 crisis and the growth boost of China make strong active policies still less relevant than they were in 1993. Is this view correct? Would you agree with me that the state in East Asia is more active, strong and effective than in most developing countries?

Homi Kharas:
(...)asks whether we are advocating a neoclassical prescription of getting the fundamentals right and getting prices right, and he's asking whether strong active policies are less relevant today than in 1993.

I think that view is not correct, and it is not what we are arguing in this report. In this report, we are emphasizing that the economies in effect Asia are exploiting technologies in which economies of scale are prevalent, and the implication of that is that the location of production very much depends on initial conditions. We argue that small changes in policy can actually have big effects on outcomes because of economies of scale.

There are considerable advantages for countries which are able to embrace these new technologies and develop a platform domestically that is globally efficient. So, we would argue that actually the state does need to be strong and active, and we have laid out in the report three areas where we believe that the state is doing a decent job in East Asia, and three areas where the state, we would urge them to do more.

The three decent jobs being done are trade, finance, and innovation. On the trade side, governments across the region have invested heavily in infrastructure and logistics, and East Asian countries have the most efficient airports and seaports in the world. We would urge them to continue with this agenda and to do more in integrating logistic infrastructures, to reduce the costs of moving from firms and factory gates to these traded hubs.

On finance, we argue that the state has done a very commendable job of shoring up financial systems and making them less vulnerable to the kind of crisis which erupted in 1997. And on innovation, we argue that already there has been a move towards greater tertiary education and towards the training of more scientists and engineers and knowledge workers that is positioning East Asian countries well for the kind of economy they will need in the future. These are all critical state functions.

Where we urge the state to do more is on urban management, particularly in some small- and medium-sized cities. We have found that there is a considerable divergence of performance amongst cities in the region, and while some of the large cities function reasonably well, many of the smaller cities do not. Cities are faced with environmental issues, issues of dealing with the influx of migrants with waste water issues, and a number of issues on the management of land and regulations. Cities that do better on these scores will benefit; but for countries to benefit, all the cities in that country must improve their functioning. Second, we argue in the report that states must do more to ensure social cohesion. The benefits of growth in East Asia are today increasingly concentrated spatially within cities, and socially within a small group of urban workers. The benefits are not naturally reaching out to people in rural areas, and it is a responsibility of the state to ensure that benefits are more broadly shared so that there is a cohesive, stable social environment in which development can take place.

And last, we argue in the report that states must do more to address corruption. In East Asia, there is a transition from, in some countries, corrupt centralized governments and a transition is needed to move to clean, decentralized governments.

The move from centralized to decentralized is happening quite rapidly, and it's easier to accomplish because it simply requires a devolution of monies and authorities to local governments. But the move from corrupt public sectors to clean public sectors takes longer and needs to be institutionalized and is happening at a slower pace, although there are encouraging signs of progress.

So, these are the three areas in which the state needs to do more: cities management, social cohesion, and anticorruption.

5 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

Buena data. Muchas gracias. De todos modos, por la respuesta de los autores, no parecen taan neoliberales... digo, aplauden las inversiones en infraestructura y piden más intervención estatal en otras áreas (competitividad de las ciudades y regiones).

Anónimo dijo...

Buena data. Muchas gracias. De todos modos, por la respuesta de los autores, no parecen taan neoliberales... digo, aplauden las inversiones en infraestructura y piden más intervención estatal en otras áreas (competitividad de las ciudades y regiones).

escriba dijo...

Gracias. Es posible lo que decís. Quizás sea parte del viraje del discurso neoliberal al que hago referencia, pero no lo sé.
Saludos

Anónimo dijo...

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