quarta-feira, maio 13, 2009

Uma Terceira Via com Obama e Sócrates

Steven Pearlstein, prémio Pulitzer de 2008, assinou uma coluna de opinião no Washington Post em que afirma que Barack Obama e José Sócrates encarnam uma terceira via política.

Veja-se o texto na íntegra infra:

"In Portugal, as in America, a 'Third Way' Is Reemerging

You can easily imagine the popular story line that plays out daily in the
politics of much of Western Europe. It's the one about bankers and money
managers in New York and London who got rich by playing fast and loose with
other people's money, under the eyes of regulators so blinded by their faith
in markets that they couldn't spot a con game going on right under their
noses.

And what makes it all the more galling to Western Europeans is how easily
this plague of greed and deregulation so easily crossed the Atlantic,
sending their own economies into a recession that is expected to be deeper
and longer than it will be where it all began.

Sitting in his office last week, José Sócrates, the prime minister of
Portugal, joked as he recalled the day last September when he first learned
about "this thing they call a subprime loan." As head of this country's
nominally socialist party, Sócrates spent the previous four years reducing
the size of Portugal's government, taming its runaway budget deficit,
challenging labor unions and deregulating its markets. And what is his
reward? An economic crisis that has once again put the country in a fiscal
bind and boosted the polling numbers of Portugal's Communist Party.

There are similar tales to be told across the continent. In France, top
executives have been taken hostage by workers demanding that layoff notices
be rescinded. In Sweden and Switzerland, companies have revoked pay packages
for top executives in response to public outcry. And just last week, the
European Union unveiled new regulations that have the hedge funds howling.
Everywhere, there are calls for higher taxes on the rich, with the British
government proposing to raise the top marginal rate to 50 percent from 40
percent.

"In terms of further market liberalization, I would say the window of
opportunity is now closed," Christine Lagarde, France's reform-minded
finance minister, told reporters recently in Washington.

Given the circumstances -- unemployment as high as 17 percent in Spain,
exports off 20 percent in Germany, house prices off 40 percent in Ireland --
none of this is surprising. But the real story in Europe may be how firmly
market liberalization seems to have taken hold. Not only have there been
few, if any, calls for re-nationalizations, but some countries are still
moving toward privatization and deregulation. Instances of protectionism are
outweighed by the examples of cross-border mergers and acquisitions that
have been accepted as a matter of course -- Fiat's designs on GM's Opel,
based in Germany, is the latest. And in the face of international calls for
additional fiscal stimulus, both governments and voters have been reluctant
to borrow and spend their way out of this recession.

Here in Portugal, for example, huge teacher demonstrations recently shut
down the capital but failed to derail Sócrates's plan to require annual
evaluations of instructors in a public school system that has some of the
highest costs, and lowest test results, in Europe.

And Americans would do well to consider Portugal's plan to put its Social
Security on a more sustainable footing by linking the retirement age to life
expectancy while still giving people the choice to retire at 65 with
slightly lower benefits.

Perhaps the best example of Portugal's market-based approach to its economic
problems is its big push toward renewable energy.

To harness the wind, Economy Minister Manuel Pinho set out to move the
country beyond small, subsidized wind farms to create an industry big enough
to achieve economies of scale, invest seriously in research and development,
and attract billions of dollars in capital. The incentive came in the form
of huge long-term transmission contracts that assured investors that there
would be a market for the power at a guaranteed price, determined in an open
and competitive auction. The hitch was that winners were required to
manufacture a certain percentage of the windmills and the turbines in
Portugal. A number of big European companies have now set up shop here.

Pinho took a similar approach to hydroelectric power, putting up for
competitive bid long-term licenses to build and operate a dozen new or
expanded dams. Bidders can also extend the life of the licenses if they
agree to enter long-term contracts to buy nighttime power from the country's
wind producers and use it to pump water from reservoirs below the dams back
up to the reservoirs above. Energy gets stored during those hours when
demand is low and used the next day when demand is at its peak.

What's noteworthy is that all this was done without a government subsidy and
without favoring the country's former electric monopoly, EDP, in which the
government continues to hold a minority stake. Indeed, EDP has been buying
or building renewable-energy assets across Europe, in Brazil and in the
United States. The spinoff of its renewable-energy division was the biggest
IPO in Europe last year and is now the world's fourth-largest
renewable-energy producer.

Back in the days of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, there was a lot of loose
talk about a "third way" that would combine the best features of
Anglo-American capitalism with the social and economic safety net prevalent
in Europe. If Portugal is any indication, Europe has been moving in fits and
starts toward market capitalism ever since. Now that Barack Obama has become
the most popular politician in Europe and his administration back home is
intent on increasing the profile of a more-competent government in the
workings of the American economy, a convergence seems possible once again."


in Washington Post

É esta a imagem que um dos mais importantes jornais do mundo difunde de Portugal e do seu Governo.

Estranho que os meios de comunicação social que afirmam arbitraria e recorrentemente que a nossa imagem exterior está cada vez mais afectada, não venham agora dar o devido destaque a esta notícia.

1 comentário:

poeta irreverente disse...

Esta Terceira Via deve incluir políticas de como pressionar magistrados do MP e coisas do género...