O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

sexta-feira, maio 07, 2004

Lower Taxes, Bitte

Mary Tupy (do Cato Institute) escreve no WSJ sobre a pressão, que Alemanha está a exercer, sobre os novos países-membros da UE para aumentarem as suas taxas de imposto e sobre o mito das ajudas comunuitárias ajudarem as Economias mais pobres.

To start, Mr. Schroeder is right to point to low taxes among new EU members. Estonia has a zero percent corporate tax on reinvested or retained profits. Latvia and Lithuania have a corporate tax of 15%; Hungary, 16%; Poland and Slovakia, 19%. However, the chancellor fails to mention that most of the old EU members have long since realized that lower taxes lead to higher economic growth. For instance, between 1996 and 2003, Belgium cut its corporate tax rate to 34% from 40.2%; Denmark to 30% from 34%; Greece, to 35% from 40%. Iceland cut its corporate tax rate to 18% from 33%; Ireland to 12.5% from 40%; Italy to 38.3% from 53.2%; Luxembourg to 30.3% from 40.3%; and Portugal's rate dropped to 33% from 39.6%.

Mr. Schroeder is hypocritical in his criticism of lower rates because Germany has done the same, reducing its corporate tax rate from 57.4% in 1996 to 39.4% in 2003. So, the real concern of the chancellor does not seem to be lower taxes per se. Rather, Mr. Schroeder seems to object to the fact that some nations are able to lower their taxes more than others, leaving Germany and its expensive system of welfare entitlements behind.


Economic growth is, of course, the primary concern of the new members. According to the World Bank, the 2002 GNI per capita in Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia was $3,480, $3,660 and $3,950 respectively. The 2002 GNI per capita in Germany, however, was $22,740. If the new members are to catch up with the West, in other words, they must be allowed to follow policies that generate faster economic growth. Luckily, it seems that their market-friendly policies have been paying off. Between 1998 and 2003, for example, average GDP growth in Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia was, 4.69%, 4.04%, 5.87%, 5.27% and 3.23% per year respectively. The German economy, on the other hand, grew at an average rate of 1.25% during the same period.


[A]id was supposed to generate faster economic growth in outlying regions of Europe. There are conceptual problems with that approach to economic growth. Governments are notoriously bad at tackling the essential problem of economics: efficient allocation of resources. Whereas the market decides allocation of resources according to risk-adjusted returns on investment, governments allocate resources on the basis of political lobbying.


As a practical matter, aid cannot be the determinant of economic growth in Europe. If that were true, Greece and Portugal, which received some of the largest amounts of aid, but pursued socialist economic policies, would be Europe's economic superpowers. Instead, they are among the poorest pre-enlargement members of the EU.


Thus, the proponents of aid look to Ireland as a supposed success story. But the lessons derived from the experiences of the Celtic Tiger are quite different. When Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973, it was one of Europe's poorest nations. By 2002, Ireland could boast a GNI per capita of $23,030 -- higher than Germany's $22,740 and France's $22,240. What happened?

The EU aid could not have been a major cause of Ireland's economic growth. As Benjamin Powell shows in a Cato Institute study, Ireland's economic growth rates increased at a time when European aid was declining as a percentage of the Irish GDP. What Ireland did to increase its growth was reduce its top marginal tax rate from 80% in 1975 to 44% in 2001, and cut the standard income tax from 35% in 1989 to 22% in 2001. The Irish cut their corporate tax rate from 40% in 1996 to 12.5% in 2003. All in all, Ireland's tax revenue in 1999 was 31% of the GDP. A comparable figure in the rest of the EU averaged 46%. As a result of those and other reforms, the Irish economy grew at an average annual rate of 7.65% between 1992 and 2001.

There is, in other words, enough evidence to suggest that market-friendly policies are better at generating rapid economic growth than financial aid. The new members should be encouraged, not threatened, when they adopt such policies. The old EU members should look at new members not as a threat, but as an example to be emulated.

posted by Miguel Noronha 5:42 da tarde

Constituição Europeia

No Daily Telegraph Tom Utley explica as razões pelas quais vai votar "Não" no referendo ao projecto constitucional.

Almost everything (...) that has come out of the EU - from the CAP [Política Agrícola Comum] to the 97,000 pages of European law to which we are now bound - has been a pain in the neck for Britain. We were prepared to bear all this bureaucratic meddling, and to pay a huge net contribution to the European budget, because we reckoned that this was a price worth paying for opening up all those lucrative markets to British goods and services.

Until somebody convinces me that I am wrong, I will think it absolutely marvellous if Brussels finds it increasingly difficult to pass new laws, and the torrent of directives from the commission dries up.

The fact is that Britain is very different from its partners. We depend more than any of them on trade with countries outside the EU. Our agriculture is far more efficient than most of theirs. Although there are many areas in which our interests coincide, there are many more in which they differ. For that reason, any move away from the national right of veto towards qualified majority voting will surely produce more bad decisions for Britain than good ones.

And why should Britain subscribe to a common European foreign policy? Can't the French, the Italians, the Latvians and the rest see that, from the British point of view, they are the foreigners - just as we are foreigners to them? Any foreign policy formulated in Brussels, based on the idea that the interests of all 25 nations of the EU are identical, must surely be based on a lie.

The case for voting No in the referendum seems to me to be blindingly obvious. I only wish that there were somebody in the other camp capable of explaining the case for voting Yes. And no waffle, please, about hearts, top tables and boats.

posted by Miguel Noronha 3:02 da tarde

Os Protocolos dos Sábios de Sião - Versão Actualizada

Na sua página Johan Norberg, chama a atenção para um artigo da publicação anti-globalista Adbusters Magazine.

No artigo "Why won't anyone say they are Jewish?" o articulista ataca os neo-conservadores não como grupo político mas como fazendo parte de uma conspiração judaica que pretende influenciar a política da Administração americana em relação a Israel. O autor adopta a imagem do judeu apátrida de lealdade duvidosa. Parece-vos familiar?

Alguns exemplos:

A lot of ink has been spilled chronicling the pro-Israel leanings of American neocons and fact that a the disproportionate percentage of them are Jewish. Some commentators are worried that these individuals – labeled ‘Likudniks’ for their links to Israel’s right wing Likud party – do not distinguish enough between American and Israeli interests. For example, whose interests were they protecting in pushing for war in Iraq?


Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle the issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the US (see above). Deciding exactly who is a neocon is difficult since some neocons reject the term while others embrace it. Some shape policy from within the White House, while others are more peripheral, exacting influence indirectly as journalists, academics and think tank policy wonks. What they all share is the view that the US is a benevolent hyper power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of the them are Jewish.

posted by Miguel Noronha 9:36 da manhã


O último World Competitiveness Yearbook indica que a maior parte dos países-membros da UE perderam competitividade. Apenas três melhoraram a sua posição (Eslovaquia, Irelanda e Suécia). Portugal permaneceu na mesma posição o que, tendo em conta o panorama geral , já não é mau.

Esta é mais uma prova que a famosa Agenda de Lisboa, cujas medidas pretendem aumentar a competitividade da UE, é um nado-morto.
posted by Miguel Noronha 9:12 da manhã

quinta-feira, maio 06, 2004

There's a proven way to rid the world of poverty

May Day protesters against 'neo-liberal' or 'corporate globalisation' know controversial political theorist Chomsky is right: Globalisation has not only exacerbated inequality but also worsened world poverty. But this is one of those things 'people know that just ain't so'. They are wrong in both their conclusions and their analysis.


Fortunately, evidence that the world has achieved a big fall in the proportion of destitute people and a significant fall in absolute numbers of destitute is strong. Indeed, with the recent acceleration in rates of growth of large poor countries - above all, China, and, to a lesser extent, India - both global inequality and poverty have fallen.


Now turn to the period since 1980 - the age vilified for its rush into globalisation. Both global inequality and the proportion of the world's population and number of the world's people in extreme poverty have fallen.

Start with poverty. The latest World Development Indicators from the World Bank, out last month, suggest the numbers in extreme poverty - defined by the World Bank's poverty line of US$1 a day, at 1993 purchasing power parity - fell from 1.451 billion in 1981 to 1.219 billion in 1990 and 1.101 billion in 2001. As a proportion of the population of developing countries, the decline was from 39.5 per cent in 1981 to 27.9 per cent in 1990 and 21.3 per cent in 2001.

Mr Surjit Bhalla, an Indian economist formerly at the World Bank, has estimated the number on a roughly comparable basis at 1.581 billion in 1980, 1.208 billion in 1990 and 899 million in 2000. Mr Bhalla argues that, by 2000, the proportion of the developing country population in absolute poverty was just 18.2 per cent, down from 46.5 per cent in 1980 and 29 per cent in 1990. This is true even when he uses lower estimates for consumption levels given by household expenditure surveys, rather than national accounts. On the latter basis, he finds the incidence of extreme poverty was as low as 13.1 per cent of the developing world by 2000.


If you care about global poverty and, for that matter, about equality, your aim should be to raise the growth rates of poor countries. Eliminating poverty is now a challenge, rather than the unchangeable reality of human existence it used to be - because we know, in principle, how to solve it. 'It's the growth, stupid.'

Where then does that pantomime villain, globalisation, fit in? The answer is that successful countries have all exploited global market opportunities, predominantly international trade and, to a more variable extent, foreign direct investment, to accelerate their growth. China is now the world's premier example of this strategy. But it is following the example of other countries in its dynamic region.

Successful globalisation has, in short, reduced both poverty and inequality. Opening up to trade is far from a sufficient condition for rapid growth. However, in the right conditions, it has proved an enormous help. In the post-World War II era, it is impossible to think of a consistently successful economy that has not put international economic integration at the core of its development strategy.

posted by Miguel Noronha 3:22 da tarde

O Centenário do L'Humanité

O February 30 têm um interessante post "comemorativo" do centenário do L'Humanité (que - para quem não sabe - é o equivalente francês do Avante!).

Last Saturday saw the centenary of the French communist newspaper L'Humanité (nicknamed L'Huma), whose history is recalled with considerable lack of affection by former dissident Leopold Unger in Gazeta Wyborcza.Its title wasn't quite such an exercise in Orwellian irony in the early days. It was founded on April 18, 1904 by the French socialist leader and Dreyfusard Jean Jaurès. By 1920 however it had become the mouthpiece of the French Communist Party (PCF). Unger writes:

The history of L'Huma would be pathetic were it not so full of hatred. "Ideologues" from Thorez and Marchais to Castro and Ho Chi Minh wrote for it; it published writers and artists: Aragon, Eluard, Neruda, Picasso, a long gallery of conscious or manipulated "fellow travellers". For all of them, L'Huma was the great tribune of communist and pro-Soviet propaganda in the democratic West.
Unger says the central "drama" of L'Huma was "its insane idolatrous cult of Stalin and the USSR". This led the newspaper to follow the Kremlin's line slavishly "during the Moscow [treason] trials, when Stalin liquidated the old cadres of the party and the army, or at the time of the "friendship" between Hitler and Stalin, regarding Kravchenko*, a 'firsthand' witness of Stalinism, the author of I Chose Freedom, accused of being a CIA agent*, or regarding the Soviet invasions of Budapest, Prague and Afghanistan or 'heresies' like Solidarity".

The newspaper's popularity peaked in the years immediately following World War Two when the PCF was the first or second largest political party in France. Its fortunes declined as that party gradually lost credibility and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, its funding dried up. It currently has a circulation of 50,000. Unger says that until recently L'Huma was so cash-strapped it wouldn't have been able to afford one hundred candles for the cake let alone champagne to celebrate its one hundredth birthday. In the comments below the article one wag recalls the old joke: "Why is L'Humanité more expensive than Pravda?" "You have to add the translation costs."

(* Victor Kravchenko, Soviet apparatchik who defected in 1946. His book I Chose Freedom exposed the truth about the USSR, including the camps system. He was accused by a French Communist journal Les Lettres Francaises of being a liar and CIA stooge and a famous libel trial ensued, in which Kravchenko cleared his name by bringing in dozens of Eastern Bloc refugees as witnesses).

posted by Miguel Noronha 11:07 da manhã

Bernad Lewis

Uma entrevits com Bernard Lewis na The Atlantic. Como não podia deixar de ser, o tema é o Médio Oriente.

Are you optimistic about the state of things there?

I'm cautiously optimistic about what's happening in Iraq. What bothers me is what's happening here in the United States.

Do you mean the controversy over the occupation? The pressure to pull out?

Yes, because the message that this is sending to people in that region is that the Americans are frightened, they want to get out. They'll abandon us the same as they did in '91. And you know what happened in '91.

posted by Miguel Noronha 9:51 da manhã


O Abrupto comemora hoje o seu primeiro aniversário.
posted by Miguel Noronha 8:30 da manhã

quarta-feira, maio 05, 2004


Parece que a hipótese de nacionalizar a empresa não era assim tão descabida. Carmona Rodrigues admite estar a ponderar a hipótese:

«Uma hipótese é envolver o sector público do Estado na assunção de uma certa capacidade de produção que existe em Portugal. É isso que estamos a tratar», afirmou o ministro das Obras Públicas, Transportes e Habitação.

O responsável explicou ainda que o Governo está a negociar com a empresa canadiana Bombardier a possibilidade de a
EMEF, que faz a manutenção dos comboios da CP, ficar com as instalações da fábrica da Amadora.

Carmona Rodrigues acrescentou que está em estudo uma eventual compra, trespasse ou aluguer da fábrica da Amadora pela EMEF, para evitar o seu encerramento.

Qual será a rentabilidade deste investimento? Necessitará a EMEF deste activo? Quanto nos irá custar esta decisão poilítica? Será que o Ministro ainda pensa que estamos em 1975?
posted by Miguel Noronha 4:18 da tarde

Patriotismo Económico

Excelente post do Bloguitica:

O ex-secretário de Estado do Tesouro e Finanças de António Guterres, António Nogueira Leite -- actualmente administrador da CUF e da Quimigal (Grupo Mello) -- defendeu ontem que a alienação de parte do capital da Galp ao Grupo José de Mello "representa a última grande oportunidade para o País criar um cluster petroquímico relevante".
Devo dizer que fico sensibilizado com o patriotismo demonstrado por António Nogueira Leite e com a sua preocupação em que se estabeleça um cluster petroquímico nacional.


Muito bem. Estou seguro que o Grupo Mello e António Nogueira Leite não vão dar espaço de manobra aos cínicos. Ontem António Nogueira Leite salientou que o Grupo Mello era a última grande oportunidade para Portugal criar um cluster petroquímico relevante. Nos próximos dias, o Bloguítica sabe que António Nogueira Leite irá divulgar que o Grupo Mello também fará a melhor oferta em termos de preço por cada acção.
O patriotismo tem destas coisas e não olha a custos para salvaguardar o interesse nacional...

posted by Miguel Noronha 3:31 da tarde

Fico À Espera...

Webasto investe 12 milhões em Palmela

O grupo alemão Webasto, líder mundial na produção de tejadilhos e ar condicionado para automóveis, vai investir 12 milhões de euros na construção de uma fábrica com 170 postos de trabalho no parque industrial da Autoeuropa, em Palmela. A futura fábrica representa um investimento directo estrangeiro em Portugal da empresa alemã Webasto AG, com sede em Stockdorf, Munique.

Fico à espera que o PCP condene mais esta intromissão duma entidade estranha ao país.
posted by Miguel Noronha 12:44 da tarde

Xenofobia (Outra Vez)

PCP questiona venda de empresas ao estrangeiro

O grupo parlamentar do PCP vai confrontar esta quarta-feira o Governo com as consequências para o país da venda de empresas portuguesas ao estrangeiro. Segundo os comunistas, mais de 200 empresas foram vendidas nos últimos dois anos.


O deputado referiu os casos da metalúrgica Bombardier, (ex-Sorefame, na Amadora), de empresas do sector têxtil e particularmente o da GALP, cujos «termos do processo levam ao reforço do papel de entidades estranhas ao país na condução da estratégia de energia e petrolífera» nacional.

Queria ainda realçar que acho estranho que um partido que se reclama herdeiro dos ensinamentos de um alemão e de um russo e que durante décadas alinhou as suas políticas segundo as directivas de Moscovo venha agora criticar o "papel de entidades estranhas ao país na condução d[e] estratégia[s]" nacionais.
posted by Miguel Noronha 10:05 da manhã

Constituição Europeia

Contrariando a unanimidade que as notícas reportavam, o discurso de Jens-Peter Bonde foi bastante crítico para com o tratado constitucional:

Mr. President,

Today we commemorate Monnet and Spinelli.

I have read Monnet?s memoirs with great pleasure, but nowhere have I found support for the undemocratic super-centralised EU state which the EU Constitution is now introducing.

Monnet envisioned a small practical Commission in Brussels, NOT an uncontrollable bureaucratic monster beset by fraud totalling about 10 billion euros a year.

During my first 10 years in the EU Parliament, I was Spinelli?s equivalent in the budget control committee and I have great respect for his consistent federal way of thinking.

It was he and Emanuelle Gazzo, the founder of the Agence Europe, who taught me that federalism is not centralism, but the idea of democracy on a higher level than the nation state.

posted by Miguel Noronha 9:11 da manhã

terça-feira, maio 04, 2004

Qualquer Coisa

O Presidente Jorge Sampaio afirmou que o Governo deve fazer «qualquer coisa de decisivo para manter o património industrial» da Bombardier.

Existem várias hipóteses. Entregar-lhe contratos sem concurso público, nacionalizar a empresa ou transforma-la em museu.

Seria bom que Sampaio decidisse qual das opções prefere para que o Governo possa fazer "qualquer coisa". Seria igualmente recomendável que aprendesse "qualquer coisa" de Economia antes de proferir estas sentenças.
posted by Miguel Noronha 5:16 da tarde


O Diário Digital relata brevemente o debate desta Terça sobre o projecto de Constituição Europeia.

A mensagem unânime dos parlamentares para os seus governos foi «para que não voltem atrás com a palavra dada» no projecto de tratado constitucional, que servirá de base à futura Carta Magna.

Ou muito me engano ou a mensagem do parlamentares foi tudo menos unânime. Existem vários eurodeputados que já expressaram publicamente a sua discordância quanto à CE.
posted by Miguel Noronha 3:10 da tarde


Na mesma notícia é citada uma intervenção de António José Seguro (AJS) contra a liberalização no sector dos texteis. Embora não o refira expressamente parece que AJS preferiria a continuidade das barreiras alfandegárias que protejem este sector da competição externa.

As medidas proteccionistas, é sabido, são essencialmente eleitoralistas (no pior dos sentidos). Beneficiam as industrias (ou empresas) protegidas prejudicam os restantes agentes económicos. Obrigam-nos a comprar o produto nacional mais caro (diminuido o rendimento disponível dos consumidores), desicentivam a redução de custos e outras medidas conducentes à melhoria da produtividade nas industrias protegidas e são sinais errados aos investidores (estas ultimas levam a uma diminuição do crescimento económico).

Um ultimo efeito do proteccionismo é impossibilitar que (principalmente) os países mais atrasados possam competir nos produtos onde possuem vantagens comparativas. Estamos, desta forma, a impedir o seu crescimento económico.
posted by Miguel Noronha 12:11 da tarde


É hoje noticiado que o líder parlamentar do PS vai propor um "debate de urgência sobre as políticas de promoção do emprego". A crítica é a mesma de sempre: o corte no investimento público.

Pretende o PS que o Estado seja o "motor" da Economia. Pretende que o investimento público é bom desde que gere emprego independentemente de qualquer análise custo-benefício (do investimento em si).

Os fundos captados para o investimento público representam menos fundos à disposição dos privados. Se os privados, por vezes, erram nas suas decisões de consumo e investimento não podemos supor que o Estado esteja a isso imune. Muito do investimento publico é guiado por uma óptica puramente política (leia-se eleitoralista) alheia a qualquer noção de rentablidade.Acresce ainda que o decisor público não sofre (ao contrário do privado) qualquer penalização por uma decisão errada. É assim, substancialmente, superior a probabilidade da decisão deste ser errada.

Logo, para além de diminuir a disponiblidade de fundos disponível para o investimento privado o investimento público nada contribui para o crescimento económico de médio/longo prazo. Não passa, muitas vezes, de uma simples transferência orçamental que gera empregos e consumos no curto prazo. A médio longo prazo significa inflação e recessão.
posted by Miguel Noronha 10:43 da manhã

Margaret Thatcher

Comemoram-se hoje o 25º aniversário da 1ª vitória eleitoral de Margaret Thatcher. Durate esta semana estão previstas várias homenagens.
posted by Miguel Noronha 9:33 da manhã

segunda-feira, maio 03, 2004

Duas (Boas) Novidades!

A colaboração (ainda que esporádica) de Vasco Rato n'O Acidental e o regresso d'O Comprometido Expectador.
posted by Miguel Noronha 2:20 da tarde


Consta que existe um novo modelo do impresso de IRS que será utilizado já nas declrações de rendimentos de 2004. Para além de ser extremamente simples de preencher parece estar a ser extremamente bem recebido por políticos de vários quadrantes.

posted by Miguel Noronha 1:43 da tarde

Constituição Europeia

Em mais uma demonstração do espírito de tolerânica que vigora na UE, Romano Prodi avisou que uma eventual recusa do Reino Unido em aprovar a Constituição terá "graves" consequências. Fez ainda algumas (infelizes) observações sobre a impossibilidade (no seu ponto de vista) de qualquer membro da UE poder recusar qualquer política ou tratado comunitário.

Relembro que este "grande democrata" será o candidato da coligação de esquerda nas próximas eleições legislativas italianas.
posted by Miguel Noronha 11:34 da manhã

Post Curto

De volta ao trabalho. Não deve ter tempo para postar (quase) nada hoje. Queria só deixar duas imagens do fim-de-semana.

posted by Miguel Noronha 11:12 da manhã

Powered by Blogger


"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

mail: migueln@gmail.com