Ta hudičev neoliberalizem

Dani Rodrik ima podoben problem z neoliberalimom kot ga imam jaz. Že tam od leta 2004. Takrat so mene in kolege, ki smo se zavzemali za malce več trga in malce manj države, v nekaterih medijih (predvsem v Sobotni prilogi Dela in Mladini) psovali kot neoliberalce. Vendar pa mi niti tega izraza niti koncepta za njim nismo razumeli. Ker je bil v ekonomiji povsem neznan. Rodrik je šel nazaj v stare zapise pogledat, od kje se je pobral ta hudičev neoliberalizem. In res je našel tam leta 1982 en zapis Charlesa Petersa z naslovom “A Neo-Liberal’s Manifesto“. Vendar pa je bil ta neoliberalni manifest en povsem drugačen koncept, kot se ga danes predstavlja, in namesto Ronalda Reagana in Margaret Thatcher je kot neoliberalne guruje za vzgled dajal povsem druge politike, katera imena danes več ne povedo prav veliko (Bill Bradley, Gary Hart in Paul Tsongas ???).

No, meni je koncept neoliberalizma kapnil šele tam leta 2007, ko sem bil gostujoči profesor na Wirtschaftsuniversitaet na Dunaju, ko sem v pisarni prijatelja Wilfrieda Altzingerja začel opažati knjige različnih sociologov in ekonomistov bolj levičarskega pedigreja. Takrat sem šele vzel na znanje, da ta osovraženi koncept neoliberalizma res obstaja. Kasneje, po izbruhu finančne krize v ZDA in EU, pa sem začel povezovati neoliberalizem z dvema ključnima značilnostima: finančno deregulacijo (finacializacijo) in globalizacijo. Oboje skupaj je z malce preveč naslonitve na čudežno moč trgov in njihovo samoregulativno moč vrglo zahodni ekonomski model s tečajev.

Toda tudi takrat, v letih 2008-2010, nisem v ozadju tega nikjer videl eksplicitne ekonomske teorije “neoliberalizma”. Minilo je še kakšno leto, preden sem začel spoznavati, da pri neoliberalizmu sicer ne gre za neko eksplicitno ekonomsko teorijo, pač pa da neoliberalizem kot pojavna oblika zahodnega ekonomskega modela v svojem bistvu temelji na ekonomskih konceptih, v katere se je prikradla velika doza ideologije. Na konceptih – homo economicus, popolni trgi, racionalna pričakovanja, Eulerjeva enačba etc. – ki se zdijo nedolžni kot sveže oprane bele pleničke dojenčkov.

Toda ko te koncepte uporabite kot ključne predpostavke in na njih logično zložite skupaj članek oziroma teorijo, lahko dobite eksplozivno mešanico. Denimo, da je monetarna ekonomska politika v primeru racionalnih pričakovanj povsem neučinkovita in zato nepotrebna, kar se imenuje teorem neučinkovitosti politik (Robert Lucas, Thomas Sargent, Neil Wallace). Ali da je tudi fiskalna ekonomska politika v primeru racionalnih pričakovanj povsem neučinkovita, kar se imenuje Ricardijanska ekvivalenca (Robert Barro). Ali da je v primeru ekonomske krize bolj učinkovito zategniti pas kot pa povečati javne izdatke, ker da ima restriktivna fiskalna politika ekspanzivne učinke (t.i. Bocconi boys: Alberto Alesina, Silvia Ardagna, Guido Tabellini, Francesco Giavazzi, Roberto Perotti etc.). Ali ko jih zložite v t.i. Neokeynesianski (DSGE) model (kjer je keynesianska predpostavka le tista o rigidnosti plač in cen navzdol), ki je postal glavni makroekonomski model centralnih bank, ki pa lahko daje vsaj približno smiselne napovedi le v zelo lepem in stabilnem ekonomskem vremenu (Mankiw, Woodford, Clarida, Gali, Gertler, Smets, Wouters etc.).

In šele takrat okrog leta 2011 mi je kapnilo, kako so te osnovne predpostavke in na njihovi osnovi sestavljeni modeli dejansko polni ideologije njihovih sestavljalcev. No, verjamem, da se mnogi ali morda tudi večina ekonomistov, ki uporablja te predpostavke, te ideološkosti sploh ne zaveda. Pač dela s temi koncepti, ker jih pač tudi vsi ostali uporabljajo in ker je modeliranje z njimi bistveno bolj enostavno oziroma edino, ki rezultira v traktabilnih modelih oziroma v enem, splošnem ravnotežju namesto v polju nedeterminiranosti z mnoštvom možnih ravnotežij. Toda nekateri ekonomisti, ki očitno so ideološko profilirani, so te predpostavke uporabili namenoma z zelo jasnim namenom, kakšne rezultate želijo dobiti. Zato sem nekoč zapisal, da lahko že po uvodni predstavitvi predpostavk nekega modela napovemo, kakšni bodo končni rezultati po 10 ali 15 straneh matematične telovadbe.

Ekonomija ni neoliberalizem. Slednji je le zlorabil vedo za svoje ideološke cilje. Toda – in tukaj se vračam nazaj k Rodriku – ali moramo zaradi zlorabe ekonomije v smislu neoliberalnega koncepta povsem zavreči nekatere ključne elemente ekonomije, kot so tržno gospodarstvo ali prosta trgovina? Jasno, da ne, saj ne prvi in ne drugi nimata prave alternative. Toda to ne pomeni, da sta splošno uporabna, pač pa da lahko – družbeno sprejemljivo –  funkcionirata zgolj v nekaterih panogah in zgolj znotraj določenega institucionalnega okvirja. In nobenega splošnega recepta ni, koliko trga in koliko državne regulacije je potrebno, da bo sistem učinkovito deloval. In nobenega splošnega recepta ni, koliko odprtosti je optimalno za državo in po katerem tempu to doseči. Vse je odvisno od konteksta, od konkretne situacije v državi. Vsaka država mora najti svoj optimalni lastni recept – na podlagi svojih danosti, zgodovine in institucionalne zrelosti. Ti “modeli” oziroma recepti niso prenosljivi med državami.

In kot Rodrik ugotavlja in piše že več kot 20 let, države, ki so slepo sledile tujim nasvetom, so kmalu nasedle, in države, ki so se odpovedale pravovernosti in heretično sledile svojim lastnim razvojnim potrebam na podlagi svojih danosti, so prosperirale. V prvi skupini imate predvsem latinskoameriške države, v drugi pa azijske z Japonsko, Južno Korejo, Tajvanom in Kitajsko na čelu.

Eden izmed ključnih problemov pri tem je, da tako nekateri ekonomisti, predvsem pa mednarodne organizacije, poskušajo presaditi za neko državo uspešen razvojni koncept in to v njegovem zadnjem stadiju v države, ki so strukturno in institucionalno povsem različne in/ali šele na začetku razvojnega cikla.

Ni recepta. Vsak mora najti svojo lastno pot. Predvsem v času globalizacije. Globalizacija je v svojem bistvu pozitiven okvir, znotraj katerega se države lahko uspešno razvijajo, če ustrezno izkoristijo njene danosti. Toda če se prehitro preveč odprejo, ker sledijo receptom hiperglobalizma, jih to lahko razvojno zaustavi. Kot pravi Rodrik – tako kot je ekonomijo treba rešiti pred neoliberalizmom, je globalizacijo treba rešiti pred hiperglobalizmom.

How then should we think about globalization in order to liberate it from the grip of neoliberal practices? We must begin by understanding the positive potential of global markets. Access to world markets in goods, technologies, and capital has played an important role in virtually all of the economic miracles of our time. China is the most recent and powerful reminder of this historical truth, but it is not the only case. Before China, similar miracles were performed by South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and a few non-Asian countries such as Chile and Mauritius. All of these countries embraced globalization rather than turn their backs on it, and they benefited handsomely.

Defenders of the existing economic order will quickly point to these examples when globalization comes into question. What they will fail to say is that almost all of these countries joined the world economy by violating neoliberal strictures. China shielded its large state sector from global competition, establishing special economic zones where foreign firms could operate with different rules than in the rest of the economy. South Korea and Taiwan heavily subsidized their exporters, the former through the financial system and the latter through tax incentives. All of them eventually removed most of their import restrictions, long after economic growth had taken off. But none, with the sole exception of Chile in the 1980s under Pinochet, followed the neoliberal recommendation of a rapid opening­-up to imports. Chile’s neoliberal experiment eventually produced the worst economic crisis in all of Latin America. While the details differ across countries, in all cases governments played an active role in restructuring the economy and buffeting it from a volatile external environment. Industrial policies, restrictions on capital flows, and currency controls—all prohibited in the neoliberal playbook—were rampant.

By contrast, countries that stuck closest to the neoliberal model of globalization were sorely disappointed. Mexico provides a particularly sad example. Following a series of macroeconomic crises in the mid-1990s, Mexico embraced macroeconomic orthodoxy, extensively liberalized its economy, freed up the financial system, sharply reduced import restrictions, and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These policies did produce macroeconomic stability and a significant rise in foreign trade and internal investment. But where it counts—in overall productivity and economic growth—the experiment failed. Since undertaking the reforms, overall productivity in Mexico has stagnated, and the economy has underperformed even by the undemanding standards of Latin America.

These outcomes are not a surprise from the perspective of sound economics. They are yet another manifestation of the need for economic policies to be attuned to the failures to which markets are prone, and to be tailored to the specific circumstances of each country. No single blueprint fits all.

Before globalization took a turn towards what we might call hyper-globalization, the rules were flexible and recognized this fact. Keynes and his colleagues viewed international trade and investment as a means for achieving domestic economic and social goals—full employment and broad-based prosperity—when they designed the global economic architecture in Bretton Woods in 1944. From the 1990s on, however, globalization became an end in itself. Global economic arrangements were now driven by a single-minded focus on reducing impediments to the flows of goods, capital, and money across national borders—though not of workers, where the economic gains in fact would have been much larger. 

This perversion of priorities revealed itself in the way trade agreements began to reach behind borders and remake domestic institutions. Investment regulations, health and safety rules, environmental policies, and industrial promotion schemes all became potential targets for abolition if they were deemed to stand in the way of foreign trade and investment. Large international firms, rendered footloose by the new rules, acquired special privileges. Corporate taxes had to be lowered to attract investors (or prevent them from leaving). Foreign enterprises and investors were given the right to sue national governments in special offshore tribunals when changes in domestic regulations threatened to reduce their profits. Nowhere was the new deal more damaging than in financial globalization, which produced not greater investment and growth, as promised, but one painful crash after another.

Just as economics must be saved from neoliberalism, globalization has to be saved from hyper-globalization. An alternative globalization, more in keeping with the Bretton Woods spirit, is not difficult to imagine: a globalization that recognizes the multiplicity of capitalist models and therefore enables countries to shape their own economic destinies. Instead of maximizing the volume of trade and foreign investment and harmonizing away regulatory differences, it would focus on traffic rules that manage the interface of different economic systems. It would open up policy space for advanced countries as well as developing ones—the former so they can reconstruct their social bargains through better social, tax, and labor market policies, and the latter so they can pursue the restructuring they need for economic growth. It would require more humility on the part of economists and policy technocrats about appropriate prescriptions, and hence a much greater willingness to experiment.

Vir: Dani Rodrik,

 

One response

  1. Sam neoliberalizem razumem kot uspešno prizadevanje ali lobiranje kapitala, če hočete, da se ukine vsaka kontrola ali omejevanje proste poti kapitala. Tako kot je to storil Clinton sedaj pa Trump, ki je pred kratkim blokiral kontrolo bančnega sektorja v ZDA. In to je podlaga za novo svetovno krizo, ki bo usodnejša kot zadnja. Edina pot je omejevanje globalizacije in večja vloga države pri brzdanju kapitala.

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