Friday, October 24, 2014
16

Las crisis posteriores a la crisis

NUEVA YORK – A la sombra de la crisis del euro y del precipicio fiscal en los Estados Unidos, resulta fácil pasar por alto los problemas a largo plazo de la economía mundial, pero, mientras nos centramos en las preocupaciones inmediatas, siguen agravándose y no por no tenerlos en cuenta dejarán de afectarnos.

El problema más grave es el calentamiento planetario. Si bien los débiles resultados de la economía mundial han propiciado una desaceleración correspondiente del aumento de las emisiones de carbono, representa tan sólo un corto respiro. Y estamos muy retrasados: como la reacción ante el cambio climático ha sido tan lenta, lograr el objetivo de limitar a dos grados (centígrados) el aumento de la temperatura mundial requiere reducciones pronunciadas de las emisiones en el futuro.

Algunos indican que, dada la desaceleración económica, debemos relegar la lucha contra el calentamiento planetario. Al contrario, reequipar la economía mundial para luchar contra el cambio climático contribuiría a restablecer la demanda agregada y el crecimiento.

Al mismo tiempo, el ritmo de cambio tecnológico y mundialización requiere rápidos cambios estructurales tanto en los mercados de los países en desarrollo como en los de los desarrollados. Dichos cambios pueden ser traumáticos y con frecuencia los mercados no reaccionan bien al respecto.

Así como la Gran Depresión se debió en parte a las dificultades para pasar de una economía agraria y rural a otra urbana y manufacturera, así también los problemas actuales se deben en parte a la necesidad de pasar de la manufactura a los servicios. Se deben crear nuevas empresas, pero los mercados financieros modernos son mejores para la especulación y la explotación que para aportar fondos para nuevas empresas, en particular las pequeñas y las medianas.

Además, para hacer la transición hacen falta inversiones en capital humano que con frecuencia las personas no pueden costear. Entre los servicios que las personas necesitan figuran la salud y la educación, sectores en los que el Estado desempeña de forma natural un papel importante (dadas las imperfecciones inherentes a los mercados en esos sectores y las preocupaciones por la equidad).

Antes de la crisis de 2008, se hablaba mucho de los desequilibrios mundiales y la necesidad de que países con superávits comerciales, como Alemania y China, aumentaran su consumo. Esa cuestión sigue pendiente; de hecho, uno de los factores de la crisis del euro es el de que Alemania no haya abordado su crónico superávit exterior. El superávit de China, como porcentaje del PIB, ha disminuido, pero aún no se han manifestado sus consecuencias a largo lazo.

El déficit comercial total de los Estados Unidos no desaparecerá sin un aumento del ahorro interno y un cambio más esencial en los acuerdos monetarios  mundiales. El primero exacerbaría la desaceleración del país y no es probable que se dé ninguno de esos dos cambios. Cuando China aumente su consumo, no necesariamente comprará más productos de los Estados Unidos. En realidad, es más probable que aumente el consumo de productos que no son objeto de comercio –como la atención de salud y la educación–, lo que originará perturbaciones profundas en la cadena mundial de distribución, en particular en los países que han estado suministrando los insumos a los exportadores de manufacturas de China.

Por último, hay una crisis mundial en materia de desigualdad. El problema no estriba sólo en que los grupos que tienen los mayores ingresos estén llevándose una parte mayor de la tarta económica, sino también en que los del medio no están participando del crecimiento económico, mientras que en muchos países la pobreza está aumentando. En los EE.UU. se ha demostrado que la igualdad de oportunidades era un mito.

Aunque la Gran Recesión ha exacerbado esas tendencias, resultaban evidentes antes de su inicio. De hecho, yo (y otros) hemos sostenido que el aumento de la desigualdad es una de las razones de la desaceleración económica y es en parte una consecuencia de los profundos cambios estructurales que está experimentando la economía mundial.

Un sistema político y económico que no reparte beneficios a la mayoría de los ciudadanos no es sostenible a largo plazo. Con el tiempo, la fe en la democracia y la economía de mercado se erosionarán y se pondrá en tela de juicio la legitimidad de las instituciones y los acuerdos vigentes.

La buena noticia es la de que en los tres últimos decenios se ha reducido en gran medida el desfase entre los países avanzados y los países en ascenso. No obstante, centenares de millones de personas siguen sumidas en la pobreza y se han logrado sólo pequeños avances en la reducción del desfase entre los países menos desarrollados y los demás.

A este respeto los acuerdos comerciales injustos –incluida la persistencia de subvenciones agrícolas injustificables, que deprimen los precios de los que dependen los ingresos de muchos de los más pobres– han desempeñado un papel. Los países desarrollados no han hecho realidad la promesa que formularon en Doha en noviembre de 2001 de crear un régimen comercial pro desarrollo o la que formularon en la cumbre del G-8 celebrada en Gleneagles en 2005 de prestar una asistencia mucho mayor a los países más pobres.

Por sí solo, el mercado no resolverá ninguno de esos problemas. El del calentamiento planetario es un problema de “bienes públicos”. Para hacer las transiciones estructurales que el mundo necesita, es necesario que los gobiernos desempeñen un papel más activo... en un momento en que las exigencias de recortes van en aumento en Europa y los EE.UU.

Mientras luchamos con las crisis actuales, debemos preguntarnos si no estaremos reaccionando de formas que exacerban nuestros problemas a largo plazo. La vía señalada por los halcones del déficit y los defensores de la austeridad a un tiempo debilita la economía actual y socava las perspectivas futuras. Lo irónico es que,  al ser una demanda agregada insuficiente la causa mayor de la debilidad mundial actual, hay una opción substitutiva: invertir en nuestro futuro, en formas que nos ayuden a abordar simultáneamente los problemas del calentamiento planetario, la desigualdad y la pobreza mundiales y la necesidad de cambio estructural.

Traducido del inglés por Carlos Manzano

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  1. CommentedNicolas Bollion

    Stiglitz is once again exagearating in this article. According to an OECD report I read, inequality has grown in almost every industrialized country but all levels of income have improved. That's the general picture. Globalization and economic policy are a few of many factors that have contributed to this increase in addition to a reduced redistribution within families (more singles and educated increasingly marrying educated) and immigration (mostly low educated people, increasing the number of people in the lowest income brackets). In some countries however the gap got smaller (Spain, Ireland, Greece, Turkey), as economic development moved landinward during these years. In France inequality stayed flat. In developing countires the picture is also mixed: inequality dropped in Brazil, with poorest and middle incomes rising faster than the highest incomes. In China it rose considerably but that is mainly because untill recently it were regions that were already more advanced that benefited most from globalization and foreign investment. The poorest provinces now grow faster than the richest. Income inequality in these emerging countries is matched by huge productivity differences. Yet, in all these countries, the poorest have advanced fast. And look at the poorest of the poorest: malnutrition rates are dropping and so do infant mortality and illiteracy rates. I agree inequality is a problem but the poorest in this world are doing better every year and these factors contributing to rising inequlity in the west will soon come to a halt or be reversed. Unit labor costs f.e. in low cost countries (China/Eastern and Central Europe) are rising fast. All this alarmism is not improving the economic climate Stiglitz is so worried about.

  2. CommentedOle C G Olesen

    For CLARITY i repeat the Links provided below as they did not work when i tested them

    You do Youself a favour ..by taking a look !


    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html


    and

    http://mailstar.net/money-masters.html



  3. CommentedOle C G Olesen


    There is a very SIMPLE SOLUTION to the current World Economic Crisis :

    ( the ONLY solution ! )

    NATIONALIZE ALL BANKS !... and ALL their Holdings :

    The REASON for this necesary HUMANITARIAN step are FACTS :

    Research by the Technical Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland :

    http://www.newscie...uns-the-world.html

    add to this the Vast Stock-holdings embedded in OFF SHORE Havens and we can safely estimate
    that these approx 150 Companies own between 50 - 75 % of THE WORLD

    We also KNOW who owns the lions share of CONTROLLING INTEREST in these 150 Companies

    furthermore

    Citation from : http://mailstar.net/money-masters.html :

    Let's take a look at the Fed shareholders: according to researcher Eric Samuelson, as of November, 1997, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (which completely dominates the other eleven branches through stock ownership, control, influence, having the only permanent voting seat on the Federal Open Market Committee and by handling all open market bond transactions), which has 19,752,655 shares outstanding, was majority-owned by two banks - Chase Manhattan bank (now merged with Chemical Bank) with 6,389,445 shares or 32.35%, and Citibank, N.A., with 4,051,851 shares or 20.51%. Together those two banks own 10,441,295 shares or 52.86%: majority control.

    We do KNOW who controls Chase Manhattan ..and CITI Bank not to mention other involved secretive Banks Controlled by a few Individuals … I could name names.. but ABSTAIN … You can get a hint by reading Above well documented narrative : “ Money-masters “ .. a remarkable piece of research and knowledge ..

    So ... There are NO CONSPIRACY THEORIES ... there are only FACTS ..plain to see .. for everyone !

    We therefore KNOW who controls between 50 and 75 % of all Capital in the world
    As well as the US Dollar System and the Federal Reserve System

    These entities have now STOLEN somewhere between 25 and 35 TRILLION US Dollar from the Public coffers across the Western World and have been bying Equity shares but no Gouvernment Bonds for the free capitals

    Therefore the TIME has come ..in the Interest of HUMANITY
    to STOP these CRIMINAL MEGALOMANIACS
    who with the HELP of subservant POLITICIANS
    during the last 5 Years have comitted the biggest FINANCIAL THEFT known in History

    To Paraphrase CATO : Secretae Argentarii delendae sunt !

    And to the latin scholars : please correct as appropriate

  4. CommentedAnton Astakhov

    Maybe it was not the problem itself - the move from rural agrarian economy to urban, manufacturing one, but rather the solution?

  5. CommentedLaurence Logan Lechumanan

    Can I say that the Laissez-faire economy / free market has failed to lead and create a better world. If G is to be present strongly 'Doha... & G8...' than what is democratic about liberalising an economy.

  6. CommentedCarol Maczinsky

    It would be easy to overcome the surplus, simply by a massive investment program. The surplus is not the reason of the Euro zone crisis but its symptom.

  7. CommentedAbdella Abdou Abdou

    Professor Stiglitz,

    I enjoyed your article. I like to see some more on your concluding statement. That is, how do we "address simultaneously the problems of global warming, global inequality and poverty, and the necessity of structural change." Hope one of your next articles elaborates on this.

  8. CommentedNirmalan Dhas

    We need to be clear on the type of changes required and the amount of resources required to make the change. We know the rate at which we consume these resources on a daily basis and so we can work out how long what we have left will last. If we subtract the amount of resources we require to make the change from the total amount of resources we have available we will know how much we can consume before we run out of the resources required to make this change and how long it will take to consume this amount. This will give us an idea of the time we have left within which to complete the transition. While miracles may happen, in general it is not possible to argue with global warming or ask it to wait for our political processes to get their act together. I think most of us have seen Australia burning…

  9. CommentedPhilani Lubanyana

    “The great financial crisis of 2007-09 called into question market fundamentalism. The trickle-down theory of market fundamentalism has not worked. While it has generated growth, some of which are financially fictitious and unsustainable, it exacerbated inequality, unemployment and poverty. However, rather than taking corner solutions of either market fundamentalism or total state control, we should engage in theory and in practice to find the right mix between the two, realizing that there is NO SINGLE MODEL for all societies. There is a role for both market and state forces; and they should be harnessed and regulated to achieve sustainable development from an ecological, social and economic viewpoint… There are three pillars to development – growth, Africa distribution and sustainability” Vicente Paolo Yu. We need to emphasize that Washington Consensus have failed to uplift the African economies, now most of African countries are looking toward East (Beijing Consensus). Although the world economy is sluggishing but Africa’s economy is booming thanks to China’s hunger for commodities. Although African economy is thriving but it is not diversifying! Although the African economy is blooming but the levels of inequalities are still enormous! The question that needs to be asked is: will this boom be sustained? Philani Lubanyana@Umlazi.South Africa

  10. CommentedTodd Clay

    Everyone's beating around the bush. It's not just global warming...it's global POLLUTION! That's what all this boils down to is pollution whether it's in the air or water or too much light or noise. It doesn't matter until we address every element of what unbridled capitalism has done to the planet. Every where you go no matter what corner of the earth...in the middle of the ocean we have the plastic bag island, at every oil rig there's ground level pollution that we don't even acknowledge that seeps into existing waterways and ends up killing people. People need to get real!

  11. CommentedJoseph Concordia

    Dr. Stiglitz thank you for including this crucial fact in your article. Economic disparity is at the root of so much social and political conflict throughout the world it is amazing that it does not receive more direct priority attention by governments, informed public, and academic institutions. The reason for this certainly is easy to discern. With the power structure populated by the "haves" it leaves the "have not" demographic incapable of making the fundamental changes in policies, laws, or practices needed to reverse the condition. What I fear is that the ultimate result of continuous degradation in the distribution of economic resource and franchise is a move to anarchy by those being deprived. While many say it will never happen in the USA, I believe it can happen here as it did many years ago in France, and in Russia, and elsewhere. The political philosophy that is most responsible for continuing this dangerous trend is that espoused by extremists of Libertarian thinking. Their utilitarian philosophy ignores the reality of the natural distribution of human capabilities. Some people are able to make it on their own, others cannot and will always need help. Ignoring the needs of the needy will eventually expand the demographic of the have-not and drive it to the level where they will demand the changes, under force of arms, that should be granted freely and fairly by a responsive aristocracy.

  12. Commentedsrinivasan gopalan

    Few would question the due concerns flagged off by Mr Stiglitz but the apathy with which most of the countries treat global warming issues reveals abysmal level of understanding the real calamitous implications such gross ignorance entails. In recent years, floods, famines, biting cold and flinty summer had been the bane of many a nation but nobody seems to dig deeper into these natural aberrations that cause incalculable pains to millions. Even as the reference to inequality within and across countries is a matter of worrisome concern, the plight of dispossessed and poor due to the weather-related aberrations continues to be irremediably acute. It is time that responsible countries of G 20 even as they coordinated to rescue the failed banking industry across the world in general and the developed countries in particular should show some modicum of real concern for the damaging repercussions of environment-related problems. Nature abhors vacuum and if the global leadership is lamentably jejune with any fresh idea to stem the global warming before long, the future for mankind is fraught with grave forebodings of no less ravaging dimension than the financial meltdown inflicted in the aftermath of 2008! G.Srinivasan, Journalist, New Delhi

  13. CommentedJohn Brian Shannon

    Hi Joseph,

    Kudos on yet another seminal article, one which should be required reading for (federal) government leaders around the world.

    But further (and complementary to your excellent piece) on this topic, I must say that the massive agricultural subsidies we have seen in some Western nations over the past decades, (especially the U.S. and France) effectively prevent entire continents from feeding themselves.

    How? In Africa for example, it is often cheaper for consumers to purchase imported foods and other items from the West, than it is to build up the infrastructure and industry necessary to allow Africans to grow their own crops, raise their own livestock, or build their own tractors.

    Therefore, this is one of the reasons the formation of a middle class ratio comparable to developed nations has grown markedly slower in Africa over the decades than it would have been without Western (domestic) ag subsidies.

    Quite without bad intent, but nevertheless still extant in the worldwide economy, Western nations have been holding back African agricultural investment and growth for decades, but only on account of our massively subsidized agricultural sector.

    But dropping our subsidies quickly now would cause great harm to vulnerable families in Africa, Asia and South America -- as prices would steeply and immediately rise to their non-subsidized benchmark.

    If free trade agreements are successfully concluded between Canada, the U.S. and Europe, those subsidies will at some point disappear, but this must be done very carefully -- as thousands, perhaps millions of lives will hang in the balance.

    For example; Can anybody tell me what would happen if 300-million+ consumers in Africa, Asia and possibly South America suddenly couldn't afford to buy groceries if a clumsy free trade deal created by the West were to go into effect?

    It IS logical to streamline trade arrangements between nations with the hope that barriers to trade will increase investment and opportunity.

    The benefits could be more competition, lower prices for consumers (without having to use multi-billions of taxpayer dollars to achieve those lower prices!) better quality goods and more choices for consumers. With lower or nonexistent tariffs, taxes, and a universal regulatory environment between Western nations, domestic businesses could then afford to go on a hiring spree, in order to meet higher demand. Resulting in real GDP growth.

    All of these things and more, are certainly possible with the right agreement and could easily benefit millions of citizens in all signatory nations.

    These particular free trade agreements are about more than just the normal bi-lateral trade and regulations between two continents (North America and Europe) -- as the implications for other continents are almost too large to contemplate.

    Still, these agreements are long-overdue and I look forward to successful and outstanding agreements, ones which take into careful account the impacts they will have on developing nation economies.

    Best regards, JBS
    http://jbsnews.com





  14. CommentedShane Beck

    The most serious global problem is population. The AGW is merely the result of the population X consumption X environmental impact. As Indian and Chinese middle class grows so will their environmental impact. Also under globalization, carbon emissions are basically just exported to the least restrictive environment. The only way to restrict such carbon emission transfers is through carbon tariffs (gasp, protectionism!!)
    On the jobs front, America's economic transition from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy is not going to be very successful. The first reason is that services are less jobs intensive than the manufacturing sector. The second reason is that ultimately service jobs can be offshored to the lowest common denominator.
    The third problem is that previous booms depended upon the availability of cheap energy in the form of cheap oil. It is no coincidence that the GFC hit when the price of oil went sky high. In a sense the price of oil is in itself a regulating feedback system, if Europe, the United States and China were to recover and experience a boom, the demand and price of oil would send them back into a slow growth mode. Maybe the extraction of large quantities of shale oil will provide a cheap energy source for economic recovery, but I doubt it. The costs of transitioning an economy to alternative energy sources must be taken into account not only in monetary terms but in time costs. It took over 50 years for the western world to become "motorized" and that was in an environment of cheap oil and cheap money. It is going to be a lot harder to transition a economy in an environment of slow growth, national deficits and high welfare expenditures.

  15. Commentedprasad p

    Who is responsible for 'Global Warming' problem? A.Private sector/Corporates ? B. Government policy C. People. D. Bank Lender.

  16. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    Dr. Stiglitz raises a number of issues, almost a complete range of issues that plague the world economy, but I would like to single out one that has been constantly raised as a means for salvation, education. In the developing world, this is almost as important as basic needs, but are we sure that this is that simple a case for the developed world? U.S. for example where student loans touch $1 Trillion, makes no connection between where the jobs are and where education is headed and in absence of a market clearing mechanism, the price of education has been peaking; this is further aggravated by surplus graduates pushing salaries down further while jobs have to wait for students who are still to enroll in the right programs to be able to avail the opportunity.

    Procyon Mukherjee

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