1892 – 2012: Um pouco de história, do “avô” Oliveira Martins a Victor Gaspar

1892 – 2012: Um pouco de história: um texto imperdível (ainda que em inglês) de Rui Esteves no The Portuguese Economy: “São Bento Revisited – Fiscal Consolidation 19th Century Style“.

Eis um excerto onde, após se sublinharem as chocantes e imperdíveis semelhanças entre os dois momentos e programas de ajustamento, se destaca uma diferença importante:

“(…) Basically, tax increases were roughly of the same order as expenditure cuts (3562 contos against 3800), a proportion the IMF would certainly approve. But the missing element in today’s plans, a haircut of the Portuguese sovereign debt (as Greece obtained last year) was actually the largest item on the balance, estimated to be worth more than 5000 contos, or about 40% of the total fiscal consolidation.

As I write this, the idea of opening up a renegotiation of Portuguese debt is still rejected by the government, the troika, and most economists and politicians alike. However, a recent analysis by Harald Hau and Ulrich Hege suggests that sovereign default, especially if used early, is a better option than the alternatives of fiscal austerity and intra-European solidarity. Hau and Hege’s article, although only posted on the 8 September is already one of the most viewed ever in the Vox EU site. Perhaps this is an internet premonition of things to come, but I believe the authors have too candid a view of what a sovereign default entails, especially in the context of the Eurozone. That, however, will have to remain for another time.
Until then, we may as well join Oliveira Martins, who contrary to the current Prime Minister did not need to quote Camões to give a poetic interpretation to the nation’s plight, and placed his greater trust on «the same self-denial, the same loyalty, and this firm resistance against adversity, which was always one of the arms of the Portuguese spirit.»

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