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samedi 19 mars 2011

A much too short Intro from Foreign Affairs...Paul Krugman, great visionary....


The view that nations compete against each other like big corporations has become pervasive among Western elites, many of whom are in the Clinton administration. As a practical matter, however, the doctrine of "competitiveness" is flatly wrong. The world's leading nations are not, to any important degree, in economic competition with each other. Nor can their major economic woes be attributed to "losing" on world markets......
This is particularly true in the case of the United States. Yet Clinton's theorists of competitiveness, from Laura D. Andrea Tyson to Robert Reich to Ira Magaziner, make seemingly sophisticated arguments, most of which are supported by careless arithmetic and sloppy research. Competitiveness is a seductive idea, promising easy answers to complex problems. But the result of this obsession is misallocated resources, trade frictions and bad domestic economic policies.
Paul Krugman is Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent book is Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in the Age of Diminished Expectations (W. W. Norton).
In June 1993, Jacques Delors made a special presentation to the leaders of the nations of the European Community, meeting in Copenhagen, on the growing problem of European unemployment. Economists who study the European situation were curious to see what Delors, president of the EC Commission, would say. Most of them share more or less the same diagnosis of the European problem: the taxes and regulations imposed by Europe's elaborate welfare states have made employers reluctant to create new jobs, while the relatively generous level of unemployment benefits has made workers unwilling to accept the kinds of low-wage jobs that help keep unemployment comparatively low in the United States. The monetary difficulties associated with preserving the European Monetary System in the face of the costs of German reunification have reinforced this structural problem.
It is a persuasive diagnosis, but a politically explosive one, and everyone wanted to see how Delors would handle it. Would he dare tell European leaders that their efforts to pursue economic justice have produced unemployment as an unintended by-product? Would he admit that the EMS could be sustained only at the cost of a recession and face the implications of that admission for European monetary union?
Guess what? Delors didn't confront the problems of either the welfare state or the EMS. He explained that the root cause of European unemployment was a lack of competitiveness with the United States and Japan and that the solution was a program of investment in infrastructure and high technology.

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