Javne investicije so spet v modi

Najbolj znani razvojni ekonomist, Dani Rodrik iz Harvarda, v zadnjem komentarju pravi, da se javne investicije v infrastrukturo po nekaj desetletjih izgnanstva spet vračajo v modo. Rodrik “cherrypicks” nekaj primerov držav (Etiopija v Afriki, Indija v Aziji, Bolivija v Latinski Ameriki), ki so v zadnjih letih prek povečanih javnih naložb v infrastrukturo in energetiko močno dvignile dinamiko gospodarske rasti ali pa jo vzdržuejo.

Seveda pa je infrastrukturna luknja velika tudi v mnogih razvitih državah, ki bi lahko z javnimi investicijami spodbudile mizerno gospodarsko rast. Pri tem pa, kot pravilno ugotavlja Rodrik (v skladu tudi z izračuni IMF), strahovi pred povečanim javnim zadolževanjem v ta namen niso upravičeni. Javne investicije v infrastrukturo in energetiko namreč povečujejo državno premoženje in dokler je donos teh javnih investicij večji od stroškov financiranja, se bilanca države izboljšuje.

The potential benefits of public investment are not limited to developing countries. In fact, today it may be the advanced economies of North America and Western Europe that stand to gain the most from ramping up domestic public investment. In the aftermath of the great recession, there are many ways in which these economies could put additional public spending to good use: to increase demand and employment, restore crumbling infrastructure, and boost research and development, particularly in green technologies.

Such arguments are typically countered in policy debates by objections related to fiscal balance and macroeconomic stability. But public investment is different from other types of official outlays, such as expenditures on public-sector wages or social transfers. Public investment serves to accumulate assets, rather than consume them. So long as the return on those assets exceeds the cost of funds, public investment in fact strengthens the government’s balance sheet.

We do not know how the experiments in Ethiopia, India, or Bolivia will eventually turn out; so caution is warranted before one extrapolates from these to other cases. Nonetheless, all three are examples that other countries, including developed ones, should watch closely as they search for viable growth strategies in an increasingly hostile global economic environment.

Vir: Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate

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