Archive for maio \30\UTC 2011

O Brasil está sem uma política cambial?

maio 30, 2011

Saiu a nova newsletter da Creativante, cujo título é “O Brasil está sem uma política cambial?“, que você pode acessar aqui!

Este blog está tentando entender até que ponto o atual governo vai continuar colocando em discurso que o câmbio no Brasil vai “continuar flutuando”, enquanto deixa sua indústria “evaporando”, à medida que com um real apreciado se inibe a competitividade desata mesma indústria e se favorece a entrada de produtos manufaturados no nosso mercado!

Enquanto dólar cai por conta de uma estratégia, real sobe sem estratégia

maio 24, 2011

Enquanto nos EUA a discussão sobre o dólar é uma questão estratégica (ver depoimento do Prof. Paul Krugman no post anterior), e é tratada com uma franqueza incrível (ver artigo da Prof. Christina Romer reproduzido abaixo), no Brasil o Ministro da Fazenda fica botando a culpa nos outros (“estamos numa guerra cambial”) e o Presidente do Banco Central “não tem uma opinião clara”.

O fato é que estamos com uma moeda valorizada (ver gráfico abaixo, retirado de uma apresentação do Prof. Afonso Celso Pastore no Fórum Nacional).  Segundo o Prof. Pastore,  não há uma causa única para este fenômeno: queda na percepção de riscos macroeconômicos provocou o aumento da demanda por ativos brasileiros; no mercado financeiro internacional cresceram os preços dos bônus de dívida soberana, reduzindo os prêmios de risco; a maior demanda de bônus no Brasil por parte de estrangeiros provocou a entrada de dólares, que valorizou o real.

A questão central é: o que estamos (isto é , o atual governo) fazendo em relação a isto?

May 21, 2011

Needed: Plain Talk About the Dollar


AT a recent news conference, Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, was asked about the falling dollar. He parried the question, saying that the Treasury secretary was the government’s spokesman on the exchange rate — and, of course, that the United States favors a strong dollar.

Listening to that statement, I flashed back to one of my first experiences as an adviser to Barack Obama. In November 2008, I was sharing a cab in Chicago with Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary and a fellow economic adviser to the president-elect. To help prepare me for the interviews and the hearings to come, Larry graciously asked me questions and critiqued my answers.

When he asked about the exchange rate for the dollar, I began: “The exchange rate is a price much like any other price, and is determined by market forces.”

“Wrong!” Larry boomed. “The exchange rate is the purview of the Treasury. The United States is in favor of a strong dollar.”

For the record, my initial answer was much more reasonable. Our exchange rate is just a price — the price of the dollar in terms of other currencies. It is not controlled by anyone. And a high price for the dollar, which is what we mean by a strong dollar, is not always desirable.

Some countries, like China, essentially fix the price of their currency. But since the early 1970s, the United States has let the dollar’s value move in response to changes in the supply and demand of dollars in the foreign exchange market. The Treasury no more determines the price of the dollar than the Department of Energy determines the price of gasoline. Both departments have a small reserve that they can use to combat market instability, but neither has the resources or the mandate to hold the relevant price away from its market equilibrium value for very long.

In practice, all that “the exchange rate is the purview of the Treasury” means is that no official other the Treasury secretary is supposed to talk about it (and even he isn’t supposed to say very much). That strikes me as a shame. Perhaps if government officials could talk about the exchange rate forthrightly, there would be more understanding of the issues and more rational policy discussions.

Such discussions would start with some basic economics. The desire to trade with other countries or invest in them is what gives rise to the market for foreign exchange. You need euros to travel in Spain or to buy a German government bond, so you need a way to exchange currencies.

The supply of dollars to the foreign exchange market comes from Americans who want to buy goods, services or assets from abroad. The demand for dollars comes from foreigners who want to buy from the United States.

Anything that increases the demand for dollars or reduces the supply drives up the dollar’s price. Anything that lowers the demand for dollars or raises the supply causes the dollar to weaken.

Consider two examples. Suppose American entrepreneurs create many products that foreigners want to buy, and start many companies they want to invest in. That will increase the demand for dollars and so cause the dollar’s price to rise. Such innovation will also make Americans want to buy more goods and assets in the United States — and fewer abroad. The supply of dollars to the foreign exchange market will fall, further strengthening the dollar. This example describes very well the conditions of the late 1990s — when the dollar was indeed strong.

Now suppose the United States runs a large budget deficit that causes domestic interest rates to rise. Higher American interest rates make both foreigners and Americans want to buy more American bonds and fewer foreign bonds. Thus the demand for dollars increases and the supply decreases. The price of the dollar will again rise.

This example describes conditions in the early 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and military buildup led to large deficits. Those deficits, along with the anti-inflationary policies of the Fed, where Paul A. Volcker was then the chairman, led to high American interest rates. The dollar was very strong in this period.

Both developments — brilliant American innovation and troublesome American budget deficits — caused the dollar to strengthen. Yet one is clearly a positive for the American economy, the other a negative. The point is that there is no universal good or bad direction for the dollar to move. The desirability of any shift in the exchange rate depends on why the dollar is moving.

It also depends on the state of the economy. At full employment, a strong dollar is good for standards of living. A high price for the dollar means that our currency buys a lot in foreign countries.

But in a depressed economy, it isn’t so clear that a strong dollar is desirable. A weaker dollar means that our goods are cheaper relative to foreign goods. That stimulates our exports and reduces our imports. Higher net exports raise domestic production and employment. Foreign goods are more expensive, but more Americans are working. Given the desperate need for jobs, on net we are almost surely better off with a weaker dollar for a while.

Fed policy is determined by inflation and unemployment in the United States. But if Mr. Bernanke could discuss the exchange rate openly, he would probably tell you that one way any monetary expansion helps a distressed economy is by weakening the dollar. That is taught in every introductory economics course, yet the Fed is asked to pretend it isn’t true.

Likewise, fiscal policy is determined by domestic considerations. But trimming our budget deficit, as we should over the coming years, would also weaken the dollar. And that, in turn, would blunt the negative impact of deficit reduction on employment and output in the short run.

STRANGELY, every politician seems to understand that it would be desirable for the dollar to weaken against one particular currency: the Chinese renminbi. For years, China has deliberately accumulated United States Treasury bonds to keep the dollar’s value high in renminbi terms. The United States would export more and grow faster if China allowed the dollar’s price to fall. Congress routinely threatens retaliation if China doesn’t take steps that amount to weakening the dollar.

But in the very next breath, the same members of Congress shout about the importance of a strong dollar. If a decline in its value relative to the renminbi would be beneficial, a fall relative to the currency of many countries would help even more in the current situation.

To say this openly risks being branded not just an extremist but possibly un-American. Perhaps it is time for a more adult conversation. The exchange rate is the purview of market economics, not of the Treasury or strong-dollar ideologues.

Christina D. Romer is an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and was the chairwoman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Making Things in America

maio 24, 2011

Pelo menos algo o Prof. Paul Krugman aponta como positivo em sua coluna em The New York Times (

Isto mostra que os americanos sabem desenvolver uma estratégia (diminuir o valor do dólar) quando têm algo em mente (recuperar a indústria deles)!


Making Things in America


Published: May 19, 2011

Some years ago, one of my neighbors, an émigré Russian engineer, offered an observation about his adopted country. “America seems very rich,” he said, “but I never see anyone actually making anything.”

That was a bit unfair, but not completely — and as time went by it became increasingly accurate. By the middle years of the last decade, I used to joke that Americans made a living by selling each other houses, which they paid for with money borrowed from China. Manufacturing, once America’s greatest strength, seemed to be in terminal decline.

But that may be changing. Manufacturing is one of the bright spots of a generally disappointing recovery, and there are signs — preliminary, but hopeful, nonetheless — that a sustained comeback may be under way.

And there’s something else you should know: If right-wing critics of efforts to rescue the economy had gotten their way, this comeback wouldn’t be happening.

The story so far: In the 1990s, U.S. manufacturing employment was more or less steady. After 2000, however, it entered a steep decline. The 2001 recession hit industry hard, while the bubble-fueled expansion of the decade’s middle years — an expansion marked by a huge rise in the trade deficit — left manufacturing behind. By December 2007, there were 3.5 million fewer U.S. manufacturing workers than there had been in 2000; millions more jobs disappeared in the slump that followed.

Only a handful of these lost jobs have come back, so far. But, as I said, there are indications of a turnaround.

Crucially, the manufacturing trade deficit seems to be coming down. At this point, it’s only about half as large as a share of G.D.P. as it was at the peak of the housing bubble, and further improvements are in the pipeline. The Boston Consulting Group, which is now predicting a U.S. “manufacturing renaissance,” points to major U.S. firms like Caterpillar that once shifted production abroad but are now moving it back. At the same time, companies from other countries, especially European firms, are moving production to America.

And one potential disaster has been avoided: the U.S. auto industry, which many people were writing off just two years ago, has weathered the storm. In particular, General Motors has now had five consecutive profitable quarters.

America’s industrial heartland is now leading the economic recovery. In August 2009, Michigan had an unemployment rate of 14.1 percent, the highest in the nation. Today, that rate is down to 10.3 percent, still above the national average, but nonetheless a huge improvement.

I don’t want to suggest that everything is wonderful about U.S. manufacturing. So far, the job gains are modest, and many new manufacturing jobs don’t offer good pay or benefits. The manufacturing revival isn’t going to make health reform unnecessary or obviate the need for a strong social safety net.

Still, better to have those jobs than none at all. Which brings me to those right-wing critics.

First, what’s driving the turnaround in our manufacturing trade? The main answer is that the U.S. dollar has fallen against other currencies, helping give U.S.-based manufacturing a cost advantage. A weaker dollar, it turns out, was just what U.S. industry needed.

Yet the Federal Reserve finds itself under intense pressure from the right to make the dollar stronger, not weaker. A few months ago, Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, berated Ben Bernanke for failing to tighten monetary policy, declaring: “There is nothing more insidious that a country can do to its citizens than debase its currency.” If Mr. Bernanke had given in to that kind of pressure, manufacturing would have continued its relentless decline.

And then there’s the matter of the auto industry, which probably would have imploded if President Obama hadn’t stepped in to rescue General Motors and Chrysler. For those companies would almost surely have gone into liquidation, closing all their factories. And this liquidation would have undermined the rest of America’s auto industry, as essential suppliers went under, too. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were at stake.

Yet Mr. Obama was fiercely denounced for taking action. One Republican congressman declared the auto rescue part of the administration’s “war on capitalism.” Another insisted that when government gets involved in a company, “the disaster that follows is predictable.” Not so much, it turns out.

So while we still have a deeply troubled economy, one piece of good news is that Americans are, once again, starting to actually make things. And we’re doing that thanks, in large part, to the fact that the Fed and the Obama administration ignored very bad advice from right-wingers — ideologues who still, in the face of all the evidence, claim to know something about creating prosperity.

Statistics on the Amazing Volume of Online Activity

maio 24, 2011

Post do dia 21/05 do blog do Porf. Mark Perry (


Statistics on the Amazing Volume of Online Activity

Facebook: Users submit 650,000 comments every minute

YouTube: 35 hours of video are uploaded every minute

eBay: $2,000 of transactions every second

Google: 34,000 searches per second

Twitter: 1,600 Tweets per second

Apple: 3 billion apps downloaded from users in 77 countries.

Future: By 2024 the world’s enterprise servers will annually process the digital equivalent of a stack of books extending more than 4.37 light-years to Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star system in the Milky Way Galaxy.

~Technology Liberation Front blog

Discurso do Presidente Barack Obama sobre Estado da União em 2011

maio 24, 2011

Saiu a nova newsletter da Creativante, cujo título é “Discurso do Presidente Barack Obama sobre Estado da União em 2011“. Trata-se de um discurso memorável do Presidente Obama enderençando questões como inovação e educação para a competitividade dos EUA.

Quem sabe este dicurso contamina um país da América latina, de 8,5 milhões de km2, e, principalmente, sua Presidente, que até agora não disse ao que veio!

A newsletter pode ser lida aqui!

Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century

maio 16, 2011

Saiu a nova newsletter da Creativante tratando de um recente relatório do ADB- Asian Devlopment Bank.  O título da letter é: “Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century“, que você pode acessar aqui!

Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competititon, and productivity

maio 15, 2011

Novo relatório da McKinsey:

Report - Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity - May 2011 Research Topic: Productivity and Competitiveness

Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivityAnalyzing large data sets—so called big data—will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus as long as the right policies and enablers are in place.

Research by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office examines the state of digital data and documents the significant value that can potentially be unlocked.

For example, a retailer using big data to the full could increase its operating margin by more than 60 percent. Harnessing big data in the public sector has enormous potential, too. If US health care were to use big data creatively and effectively to drive efficiency and quality, the sector could create more than $300 billion in value every year. Two-thirds of that would be in the form of reducing US health care expenditure by about 8 percent. In the developed economies of Europe, government administrators could save more than €100 billion ($149 billion) in operational efficiency improvements alone by using big data, not including using big data to reduce fraud and errors and boost the collection of tax revenues. And users of services enabled by personal location data could capture $600 billion in consumer surplus.

The use of data has long been part of the impact of information and communication technology, but the scale and scope of changes that big data are bringing about is today at an inflection point as a number of trends converge. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, together with the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future. Data have now reached every sector in the economy.

Big data will help to create new growth opportunities and entirely new categories of companies. Many of these will be companies that sit in the middle of large information flows where data about products and services, buyers and suppliers, consumer preferences and intent can be captured and analyzed.

Drawing on detailed analysis of five domains—health care, retailing, the public sector, manufacturing, and personal location data—the research identifies five broadly applicable ways to leverage big data:

  • Making big data more accessible in a timely manner. In the public sector, making data more accessible across otherwise separated departments can sharply reduce search and processing time. In manufacturing, integrating data from R&D, engineering, and manufacturing units to enable concurrent engineering can cut time-to-market.
  • Using data and experimentation to expose variability and improve performance. As they create and store more transactional data in digital form, organizations can collect more accurate and detailed performance data on everything from product inventories to personnel sick days.
  • Segmenting populations to customize actions. Big data allow organizations to create ever-narrower segmentations and to tailor services precisely to meet customer needs. This approach is well-known in marketing and risk management, but can be revolutionary in places like the public sector.
  • Replacing and supporting human decision-making with automated algorithms. Sophisticated analytics can substantially improve decision making, minimize risks, and unearth valuable insights that would otherwise remain hidden. Such analytics have applications from tax agencies to retailers.
  • Innovating new business models, products, and services. Manufacturers are using data obtained from the use of products to improve the development of the next generation of products, and to create innovative after-sales service offerings. The emergence of real-time location data has created a new set of location-based mobile services from navigation to people tracking.

However, companies and policy makers must tackle significant hurdles to fully capture big data’s potential. The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis of big data. And there are difficult issues around privacy and security, as well as hurdles associated with technological limitations such as the difficulties of pooling data from legacy IT systems with incompatible formats.

Read the executive summary (PDF – 920 KB)
Read the full report (PDF – 2.87 MB)

“Decline of Manufacturing” is Global Phenomenon: And Yet the World Is Much Better Off Because of It

maio 7, 2011

Post de 29/04 do blog do Prof. Mark Perry (


“Decline of Manufacturing” is Global Phenomenon: And Yet the World Is Much Better Off Because of It

The chart above shows manufacturing output as a share of GDP, for both the world and the U.S., using United Nations data for GDP and its components at current prices in U.S. dollars from 1970 to 2009.  We hear all the time from Donald Trump and others about the “decline of U.S. manufacturing,” about how nothing is made here any more, and how everything that used to be made here is now made in China, etc.  An underlying assumption here is that if the manufacturing base is shrinking in the U.S., there is an offsetting manufacturing gain that is captured elsewhere in the world.  In reality, the decline in U.S. manufacturing as share of GDP is a really a global phenomenon as the entire world becomes increasingly a services-intensive economy.

As a share of GDP, manufacturing has declined in most countries since the 1970s.  A few examples: Australia’s manufacturing/GDP ratio went from 21.3% in 1970 to  9% in 2009, Brazil’s ratio went from 24.6% to 13.3%, Canada’s from 21.7% to 11.3%, Germany’s from 35% to 19%, and Japan’s from 35% to 20% (I’ll maybe create a chart with a more complete list).

Bottom Line: The complaints about the “decline in U.S. manufacturing” are really a somewhat misguided acknowledgment of the global shift in production that has taken place since we entered the Information Age with the commercial introduction of the microchip in 1971 and gradually left the Machine Age behind.  When we complain that “nothing is made here anymore,” it’s not so much that somebody else is making the stuff we used to make as it is the case that we (and others around the world) just don’t need as much “stuff” any more in relation to the overall size of the economy.

The standard of living around the world today, along with global wealth and prosperity, are all much, much higher today with manufacturing representing 16-17% of total world output compared to 1970, when it was almost twice as high at 26.7%. And for that progress, we should applaud, not complain.

Uma proposta indecente: a re-alocação de recursos do FNDCT para o núcleo da indústria brasileira

maio 5, 2011

Em tempo, a nova newsletter da Creativante está no ar. O seu título é “Uma proposta indecente: a re-alocação de recursos do FNDCT para o núcleo da indústria brasileira“, e pode ser acessada aqui!

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