O Economist desta semana traz um artigo de leitura obrigatória sobre a vizinha Suécia que vai amanhã às urnas para eleger novo Parlamento e Governo.Alguns extractos que de forma alguma dispensam a leitura integral do artigo:
[…] In recent years defenders of the European social model—capitalism tempered by a generous and interventionist welfare state—have taken to praising Scandinavia to the skies. The Nordic region, to go a bit wider, has the world’s highest taxes and most generous welfare benefits. And yet Sweden, Finland and Denmark (Norway’s oil sets it apart) have delivered strong growth and low unemployment, and rank among the world’s most competitive economies. Nordic companies are strong in technology and research and development. Their health-care and educational systems are much admired. And, unlike other European countries, most Nordic states run healthy budget and current-account surpluses.
Esta parte já é conhecida de todos. O que talvez desconheçam é a versão mais céptica:
[…] But the biggest beef is, perhaps surprisingly, the economy. The opposition maintains that Sweden’s economic record is nothing like as good as its fans believe. If so, that has implications for other Nordic economies—and raises doubts about whether other European countries are wise to look northwards for a model.
Olhando mais de perto é possível encontrar umas manchas na fotografia.
[…]The official unemployment rate is 6%. But Sweden is a world champion at massaging its jobless figures, which exclude those in government make-work programmes, those forced into early retirement and students who would prefer to be working. Sweden’s suspiciously large number of workers on long-term sick leave are counted as working, and included in the employment rate […]
[…]The McKinsey boffins conclude that the “true” unemployment rate is around 15-17%,[…]
[…]High personal taxes and generous welfare benefits—which pay people who lose their jobs as much as 80% of previous incomes for three years—discourage work. The “tax wedge” (ie, the non-wage cost of employment) is too thick, especially for low earners.[…]
An overweening public sector has stifled growth in jobs in service industries. Sweden’s public sector is, indeed, the economy’s second big failing. […]
The truth is that there is never a single economic model for other countries, even the Nordic states, to follow.[…]The right conclusion, in other words, is that it is wisest not to look for a single-country model at all, but just to take best practice wherever you find it.
Caso para dizer, elementar, meu caro, mas aparentemente ainda há muitos que preferem a receita pronta.
Sobre a Finlândia diria que padece dos mesmos males – desemprego elevado, particularmente entre os jovens entalados entra a rigidez do mercado de trabalho e a inflexibilidade dos sindicatos, um sector público que consome recursos como só o português na UE – embora seja um poucochinho mais eficiente. Impostos e beneficios são por cá mais moderados.