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

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

sexta-feira, setembro 24, 2004

Dúvida Existêncial

Porque é que aqueles que mais clamam contra as privatizações e defendem com maior convicção o papel do Estado na Economia são os que mais se espantam com as recorrentes nomeações polítcas?

posted by Miguel Noronha 3:07 da tarde

O Estado da União

Artigo na Economist.

In 2004, a continent that had been wracked by war for centuries can look back on almost 60 years spent largely at peace. A continent that lay in economic ruins in 1945 is now prosperous as never before. A continent that in 1942 could list only four proper democracies is almost entirely democratic. A continent that was divided by the iron curtain until 1989 now enjoys free movement of people and common political institutions for 25 countries, stretching from the Atlantic coast of Portugal to the borders of Russia.


The people who run the European Commission in Brussels like to believe that this golden age of peace and prosperity is directly linked to the rise of the EU. Yet this view is often contested. Peace in Europe, it is argued, could equally be credited to the presence of American troops on European soil, and prosperity to the same causes of economic growth as in the United States or Asia, such as rising productivity and increasing trade. As for freedom, the revolutions in central Europe and Spain, Portugal and Greece were not led from Brussels.

Indeed, say critics of the EU, far from promoting peace, prosperity and freedom, it now threatens all of these achievements. In Britain, for example, Eurosceptics see a direct threat to British self-government and democracy in the many laws emanating from institutions in Brussels over which the British electorate has no control. In Britain and elsewhere, critics also argue that the EU is increasingly responsible for a tide of unnecessary regulation that is engulfing the European economy. And some believe that its overweening ambition may end up causing exactly the sort of conflicts that it has been seeking to eradicate. Martin Feldstein, an eminent American economist, has argued that the launch of a single European currency could cause political tensions culminating in war.


Over the past decade Europe, a continent often accused of sclerotic caution, has displayed a daring political imagination that has produced a run of successes. Javier Solana, the EU's foreign-policy chief, explains: ?Our philosophy is jump in the pool, there is always water there.?

The trouble with that kind of philosophy is that it can eventually lead to a nasty accident, and indeed the European project looks increasingly troubled. Economically, the EU is falling further behind the United States, and can only envy the dynamism of China or India. Politically, its members have been at each other's throats over Iraq, the management of the euro and the constitution. Perhaps most dangerously of all, the EU is plagued by a lack of popular understanding and enthusiasm.

posted by Miguel Noronha 2:16 da tarde

Harmonização Fiscal

Leiam o post do Office Louging acerca das decisões do Tribunal de Justiça da UE.

posted by Miguel Noronha 11:42 da manhã

A Polémica Sobre o "Dumping Fiscal"

Num artigo no FT Chris Patten responde ao Ministro das Finanças francês. Nicolas Sarkozy tem, nos últimos tempos, acusado os novos países-membros da UE de concorrência desleal e têm-se batido pela harmonização fiscal na UE. Chegou, inclusivamente, a ameaçar os países que não aumentassem as suas taxas de imposto com o corte dos fundos estruturais.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French finance minister, has established a reputation as an energetic public administrator and a relative liberal in economic matters. His recent remarks that tax rates in the new member states of the European Union are too low therefore caused surprise, which was increased by his proposal that the funds these countries receive from the Community budget for structural development should be reduced accordingly.


Why should we be surprised by what we now discover about economic management in the new member states? We have been negotiating with them for years and closely monitoring their progress. We should have noticed that, with our encouragement, they are trying to expand their economies on the basis of sound and liberal economic policy after decades in which they were stifled by central planning. Are we now to tell them to give up Adam Smith and embrace big government corporatism?

It is bizarre that anyone should see growing prosperity in one part of our single market as a threat, rather than an opportunity for us all. Should we regard poverty as a form of comparative advantage, for which the poor should be penalised? Personally, I am glad that the estimated annual gross domestic product growth rate of Estonia in 2004 is more than 5 per cent, and that of Lithuania going on for 7 per cent. Would we prefer the entire EU to grow at the current French or German rates of less than 2 per cent?


So if there is a worry about differential tax rates, the right response is for the richer countries to reduce their own taxes. If enlargement exposes the older member states to real competitive challenges within the EU from the newer ones, so much the better.

posted by Miguel Noronha 9:23 da manhã

quinta-feira, setembro 23, 2004

Contas Públicas

Recomendo a leitura do artigo de Medina Carreira sobre "a gravidade da actual crise financeira do Estado português".

Para não me alongar publico apenas as conclusões:

  • Há decisivas condicionantes económicas e financeiras que não permitirão a persistência com políticas orçamentais semelhantes às de 1990 a 2002, sob pena de uma maior e mais grave crise financeira do Estado português num prazo não muito afastado.

  • As diferentes circunstâncias de eficácia económica, de concretização oportuna de reformas essenciais e/ou de adequação das políticas orçamentais, afastam muito uns Estados dos outros, na UE/15, quanto à necessidade, à premência e à profundidade das reformas do "modelo social europeu".

  • É inaceitável e incompreensível que se tenha criado o "grupo" privilegiado de interesses do pessoal público que, só à sua conta, absorve mais de 60 por cento do acréscimo dos gastos públicos.

  • Está assim criada uma escandalosa e já insanável "fractura" na sociedade portuguesa, privilegiando claramente os "públicos" em detrimento dos "privados".

  • É, por isso, risível o discurso político frequente da "solidariedade", da "coesão" e da "justiça social", feito por alguns dos co-autores, e também beneficiários, das políticas da "fractura".

  • Sem políticas e reformas urgentes e profundas, nomeadamente no que respeita ao estatuto remuneratório daquele pessoal público, não haverá arranjos orçamentais suficientes para debelar a crise.

  • posted by Miguel Noronha 4:36 da tarde

    Notícias do Afeganistão

    Artigo de Peter Bergen no New York Times

    Based on what Americans have been seeing in the news media about Afghanistan lately, there may not be many who believed President Bush on Tuesday when he told the United Nations that the "Afghan people are on the path to democracy and freedom."


    Over the last three years, however, most of the important militia leaders, like Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Uzbek community in the country's north, have shed their battle fatigues for the business attire of the politicians they hope to become. It's also promising that some three million refugees have returned to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Kabul, the capital, is now one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, with spectacular traffic jams and booming construction sites. And urban centers around the country are experiencing similar growth.

    While two out of three Afghans cited security as their most pressing concern in a poll taken this summer by the International Republican Institute, four out of five respondents also said things are better than they were two years ago. Despite dire predictions from many Westerners, the presidential election, scheduled for Oct. 9, now looks promising. Ten million Afghans have registered to vote, far more than were anticipated, and almost half of those who have signed up are women. Indeed, one of the 18 candidates for president is a woman. Even in Kandahar, more then 60 percent of the population has registered to vote, while 45 percent have registered in Uruzgan Province, the birthplace of Mullah Omar. With these kinds of numbers registering, it seems possible that turnout will be higher than the one-third of eligible voters who have participated in recent American presidential elections.


    What we are seeing in Afghanistan is far from perfect, but it's better than so-so. Disputes that would once have been settled with the barrel of a gun are now increasingly being dealt with politically. The remnants of the Taliban are doing what they can to disrupt the coming election, but their attacks, aimed at election officials, American forces and international aid workers, are sporadic and strategically ineffective.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 2:21 da tarde

    Um Problema de Fontes

    A forma como foi noticiado um recente confronto entre soldados israelitas e terroristas palestinianos perto do colonato de Morag revela, mais uma vez, o enviesamento da TSF.

    Na TSF o título começa por ser enganador. Refere apenas "Dois Palestinianos Mortos (...)". Mais abaixo concendem que se tratavam de "palestinianos [que] tentavam infiltrar-se no sector do colonato israelita de Morag". Refere ainda que, no entanto, a sua "fonte, sem [não]d[eu] mais pormenores".

    Não sei qual foi a fonte da TSF mas não é difícil imaginar quais seriam as suas intenções.

    Talvez por ter acesso a outras fontes a mesma notícia no Financial Times é bem mais pormenorizada.

    Para além da "tentativa de infiltração" os referidos "palestinianos armados" atacaram um posto de controlo israelita junto ao referido colonato e reclamam ter morto três soldados. O porta-voz dos Comités de Resistência Popular gabou-se inclusivamente que a operação tinha sido "um grande sucesso".

    Gostava ainda de referir que,segundo o FT, o colonato de Morag pertence à lista dos 21 colonatos cuja evacuação em 2005 foi ordenada pelo PM israelita.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 11:36 da manhã

    Presidente do BCE Contra Revisão do PEC

    No EurActiv.com.

    Addressing the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Trichet rejected in strong terms the Commission's proposals that seek to relax the pact's rules on excessive budget deficits. He described as "dangerous" the Commission's suggestions that constraints should be eased on countries such as France and Germany which have been running 'excessive' deficits of over three per cent of GDP. He declared that such plans would not contribute to the "solidity and soundness" of the monetary union.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 9:40 da manhã

    quarta-feira, setembro 22, 2004

    Serviços Públicos de Saúde: O Caso Polaco

    Excerto do artigo na Tech Central Station.

    In January the Polish Constitutional Tribunal decided that the act establishing the National Health Fund (NHF) just a year earlier was full of mistakes. The tribunal found that the regulations on organization, financing and control over the NHF are unconstitutional and therefore ruled that the new act should be rectified by the end of this year.


    There are in Poland various interest groups that are unwilling to change anything in the public health care system. There are politicians who want to cash in on the huge amounts of money allocated to health care, following the example of Alexander Nauman - only a year ago the president of the NHF and now a money laundering suspect in an investigation conducted by the Swiss police. There are doctors, influential in society, who are not good professionals and would lose their positions if patients were given more choice. And there are public health care system bureaucrats - huge masses of them in the ministry, the agencies of the NHF around the country and various specialists at universities all remunerated with public money.

    That is why the people's voice does not count. Instead, bureaucrats say the only way to ensure that people have access to health care institutions is the public system, as the private one would be too expensive. But would it be really?

    As work on new law on public health care system continues in the Parliament, the private health care institutions have announced they are considering introducing cheap health insurance for poorer clients. Research those institutions conducted shows that more than 50 percent of respondents would be willing to pay a bond of about 30 zloty for private services. The bond would allow access to some basic services. The one ensuring access to more services (for example, specialist treatment) would cost about 100 to 200 zloty.

    It must be said, however, that on average each month every insured person in Poland already pays some 100 zloty for the public health care - exactly the amount that would allow them to use private services and specialist treatment of high quality. Yet, instead of services that should be competitive with private, they get poor, dirty, badly equipped public hospitals and clinics where doctors and nurses are rude and corrupt, where patients wait for months in queues for examination and surgeries.

    Although every person in the country is obliged to pay for health insurance and the amount of money they pay is considered by the private heath care services providers to be enough to ensure even specialist treatment, the Polish health care system is running a deficit. There is no money for medical equipment - not just modern appliances but also the simplest ones. Patients have already grown accustomed to bringing their own food to the hospitals. Lately they do not even get drugs unless their family provides them.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 5:13 da tarde

    Learning Economics

    Aconselho a leitura do artigo de Arnold Kling na Tech Central Station sobre o ensino da Economia. Kling editou recentemente um livro sobre o tema cujos capítulos estão disponíveis aqui.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 3:17 da tarde

    O (Re)Nacionalizador

    Da entrvista de João Soares programa "Diga Lá Excelência" na RR.

    P: No caso da Petrogal não o repugnaria uma renacionalização?

    R: No limite, não me repugnaria. Da mesma maneira que fui contra as nacionalizações que foram feitas em 75. Se for preciso renacionalizar nalguns casos pontuais, claro que sim. Os trabalhistas britânicos renacionalizaram os caminhos de ferro. Não devemos ter nenhuma espécie de inibições (...).

    posted by Miguel Noronha 12:17 da tarde

    As Listas

    O actual "caso" nd atraso na colocação dos professores constitui o excelente exemplo dos efeitos da centralização administrativa. Se bem me recordo as candidaturas e o preenchimento das vagas existentes era feito localmente. O anterior Ministro decidiu, numa decisão aplaudida pelos sindicatos, acabar com este resquício de autonomia. O resultado está à vista.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:51 da manhã


    O Anacleto é um blogue subversivo.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:35 da manhã

    terça-feira, setembro 21, 2004

    Constituição Europeia

    No Diário de Notícias.

    O ministro dos Assuntos Parlamentares, Rui Gomes da Silva, vai reunir-se amanhã com os partidos políticos [representados na AR] para discutir a data do referendo sobre questões europeias.

    Segundo fonte do gabinete do ministro, citada pela Agência Lusa, Rui Gomes da Silva irá também consultar os partidos quanto à pergunta (ou perguntas) sobre a União Europeia a colocar aos portugueses na consulta popular - que, por imposição constitucional, não poderá referendar o Tratado de Constituição Europeia -, mas não apresentará qualquer sugestão do Governo.


    Embora assegurando que o Governo está «aberto» em relação à data da consulta, o ministro voltou na altura a defender o dia 5 de Junho de 2005 - proposto pelo primeiro- -ministro - para a realização do referendo. O PS, por outro lado, insistiu que este decorra no primeiro trimestre do ano, o mais afastado possível das autárquicas, apesar de também admitir acertar a data, e a restante oposição garantiu que não colocaria objecções neste ponto.

    O facto de o Governo não sugerir a pergunta a colocar aos portugueses tem sido fortemente criticado pela oposição. PCP e Bloco de Esquerda têm igualmente sublinhado a importância de não repetir o que aconteceu com o referendo sobre o Tratado de Amesterdão, em 1998, em que a questão proposta foi considerada inconstitucional.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 4:26 da tarde

    Parlamento Europeu

    O jornal inglês The Sun publicou uma reportagem sobre os custos do Parlamento Europeu (PE). Descontando a habitual histeria anti-UE e anti-francesa deste tabloide podem-se, mesmo assim, retirar dados surpreendentes.

    O PE está sediado em Bruxelas onde se realizam as reuniões dos comités parlamentares e algumas sessões parlamentares.

    Uma vez por mês (por quatro dias) o PE muda-se para Estrasburgo para as sessões plenárias.

    O Secretariado Geral do Parlamento encontra-se por sua vez sediado no Luxemburgo.

    A mudança mensal para Estrasburgo implica a deslocação de Bruxelas dos 732 deputados e de cerca de 3000 funcionários que lhes dão apoio. A estes acrescem cerca de 170 funcionários vindos do Luxemburgo. É claro que ainda é necessário contabilizar os custos da deslocação de toda a documentação necessária aos trabalhos parlamentares [1].

    Os custos anuais destas "mudanças" ultrapassam 19 milhões de Euros.

    Os custos de manutenção das três localizações do PE ascendem aos 205 milhões de euros. Um estudo do Secretário-Geral do PE estimava que a concentração das actividades do PE apenas num local permitiria poupar cerca de 80 milhões de euros. O problema é que para alterar o actual estatuto do PE é necessária a aprovação de todos os países-membros. É claro que nenhum dos actuais benificiários parece disposto a isso.

    [1] Fazendo uma comparação com Portugal. Seria o mesmo que a AR estar sedidada em Lisboa e os serviços administrativos em Coimbra. Uma semana por mês, estas duas estruturas mudavam-se de armas e bagagens para Valença do Minho para realizar as sessões plenárias.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 2:26 da tarde

    Will The Pension Time Bomb Sink The Euro?

    Excertos do artigo de José Piñera no Cato Journal.

    The population in Europe is aging and declining. A trend that could have been perfectly manageable with foresight could turn into a catastrophe given the increasing unfunded liabilities arising from pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) public pension programs, now more than 200 percent of GDP in France and Italy, and more than 150 percent of GDP in Germany. This situation is especially difficult in a continent where entitlements are deeply entrenched in a welfare state culture.

    The European Commission recently stated, "There is a risk of unsustainable public finances in some half of EU countries. Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Austria and Portugal are on this black list." Furthermore, the monetary affairs commissioner of the European Union warned, "There is only a limited window of opportunity for countries to get their public finances in order before the budgetary impact of aging takes hold as of 2010" (EUobserver.com, May 21, 2003).

    So, the PAYGO pension system could turn out to be one of the gravest threats to the single European currency.


    [A] division is emerging between what can be termed a "Funded Europe" and an "Unfunded Europe." The first group comprises countries with large private pension systems (Britain and The Netherlands), those that have recently introduced personal retirement accounts and could go even further (Sweden and Poland), and those with such sound public finances that are able to "fund" the PAYGO system with general tax revenues (Ireland and Luxembourg). The second group comprises the four big countries that concentrate the bulk of EMU population and GDP - France, Germany, Italy, and Spain - and all the rest with unfunded PAYGO systems.

    The first skirmishes have already begun around compliance with the Maastricht rules. While Belgium?s prime minister says the rules on deficits are "our bible" (The Economist, October 4, 2003), the French prime minister retorts, "My duty is not to solve mathematical problems to please a particular office or country" (The Economist, September 13, 2003). "Unfunded Europe" leaders may want to follow the old Latin American recipe - namely, devaluation, so that the ensuing inflation reduces the purchasing power of benefits. But ?"unded Europe" will probably oppose devaluing the euro. A clash may ensue amidst the centers of decisionmaking in Europe, especially within the board of the European Central Bank. Of course, this perspective may be behind the reluctance of increasingly "funded" countries like Britain, Denmark, and Sweden to join the eurozone.

    More than renewed armed conflicts among European countries, as Martin Feldstein (1977) has envisioned, I believe that the prospects are for intense, exacerbated, maybe even violent, age wars: the young resenting the confiscation of a substantial part of their hard-earned salaries; the old living in permanent fear of the growing budget deficits and the possibility of substantial benefits cuts, either directly or through inflation.

    It cannot be denied that European workers in the PAYGO pension system are like passengers on the Titanic. By destroying the essential link between effort and reward, between contributions and benefits, this collectivist system encourages what Bastiat called "legal plunder." And by making the finances of the system dependent on fertility rates and life expectancies, it has been relegated to the wrong side of the European demographic megatrend of the 21st century toward aging and declining populations.


    The way out is to introduce personal retirement accounts that reestablish that essential link between effort and reward and move toward defined-contributions rather than defined-benefits pension systems. Already 15 countries have followed this path, including important European ones like Poland and Sweden (Piñera 2001).

    William Shipman (2003: 1) contends that "transition financing would be a complex issue," but that "it is cheaper to move to marketbased systems than to continue current PAYGO systems." Indeed, he thinks that "it is possible to design a transition scenario that is a win-win situation for all generations." A gradual and economically feasible transition to a private system has already been identified for Spain (Piñera 1996).

    A system of personal retirement accounts would also improve labor mobility, another key to a well-functioning monetary union. And, if complemented with a reform of the disability system, it would enlarge the available labor force and reduce wasteful government spending.

    The prospects of the euro, and of European integration, would be much better if one of the big countries of the eurozone were to begin a transformation in this direction, leading the way for the rest to follow (Piñera 1998). Ultimately, if Europeans, Americans, or Japanese do not want to have enough babies, they will have to accumulate enough euros, dollars, or yen in personal retirement accounts.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 11:26 da manhã

    Hayek Links

    Actualização do Hayek Links
    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:02 da manhã

    Por Favor

    Não leiam O Anacleto.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:31 da manhã

    segunda-feira, setembro 20, 2004

    Silêncio Incómodo

    Estranho o pacto de silêncio que paira na blogsfera acerca da proibição do Congresso Arabe-Islâmico em Berlim.

    Os seus organizadores "apenas" pretendiam apelar "a resistência no Iraque e na Palestina contra a ocupação americano-sionista". Uma causa que encontra eco em muitos blogues nacionais.

    O Ministério do Interior alemão é que não esteve com meias medidas. Afirmou que os organizadores "ultrapassaram limite do admissível em termos de opinião". Posto isto recambiou um dos organizadores para o Líbano.

    Presumo que fosse uma actividade marítima a recção dos blogues nacionais fosse diferente. Se calhar têm qualquer coisa a ver com o agro-mar...

    posted by Miguel Noronha 4:34 da tarde

    CBS: O Caso dos Documentos Falsificados

    No Weekly Standard Jonathan Last conta como tudo se passou desdea exibição do infame documentário no "60 minutes" até à humilhação de Dan Rather e da CBS.

    How the guys sitting at their computers in pajamas humiliated the suits at CBS News

    posted by Miguel Noronha 1:51 da tarde

    Escolha Pública

    Foi disponibilizada a edição de Janeiro 2004 da American Journal of Economics and Sociology inteiramente dedicada Teoria da Escolha Pública.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 11:51 da manhã


    Tomei conhecimento da existência de um novo e importanteblogue subvsersivo.

    Como auto-nomeado guardião da ortodoxia neoliberal da globalização não posso deixar de protestar.

    Temos de reagir. A revolução não passará!

    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:43 da manhã

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    "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