A economia da inclusão

CAMBRIDGE – Muitas pessoas acham que o crescimento económico é uma meta moralmente ambígua – agradável ao espírito apenas se, argumentariam eles, for amplamente partilhada e ambientalmente sustentável. Mas, tal como o meu pai gosta de dizer, “porquê tornar algo difícil se pode torná-lo impossível?” Se não sabemos como fazer as economias crescerem, o que acontece é que depois não sabemos como fazê-las crescer de forma sustentável e inclusiva.

Os economistas debatem-se com o compromisso entre o crescimento e a equidade há séculos. Qual é a natureza do compromisso? Como é que pode ser minimizado? Poderá o crescimento ser sustentado se conduzir a uma maior desigualdade? A redistribuição dificulta o crescimento?

Eu acredito que tanto a desigualdade como o crescimento lento resultam, muitas vezes, de uma forma particular de exclusão. Adam Smith argumentou que, numa frase conhecida, “Não é da benevolência do carniceiro, do cervejeiro ou do padeiro que esperamos o nosso jantar, mas da sua consideração pelo seu próprio interesse”. Então por que é que o crescimento não incluiria pessoas do seu próprio interesse, em vez de exigir a acção deliberada colectiva?

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