A heterodoxia na raiz da crise

Por Valor Econômico

Os números do PIB de 2016, liberados pelo IBGE na semana passada, revelaram um quadro de terra arrasada, uma crise como nunca ocorreu antes neste país. Trata­se da pior recessão da história, deixando para trás a “década perdida” dos anos 1980 e a crise de 1929.

A queda do PIB acumulada nos dois últimos anos superou 7%. A renda per capita caiu mais de 9% desde 2014. O PIB encontra­se hoje no nível de meados de 2010, enquanto a renda per capita está três pontos percentuais abaixo do valor observado nesse mesmo ano. A crise disseminou­se por todos os setores produtivos. Agricultura, serviços e indústria enfrentaram queda da produção no ano passado. O consumo das famílias caiu 4,2% e o investimento despencou abissais 10,2%, levando a taxa de investimento a apenas 16,9% do PIB, o menor valor em 21 anos.

Qualquer que seja o indicador ­ produto, emprego, renda, investimento, etc. ­ o quadro é muito negativo. Isto, claro, dentro do Brasil, por que lá fora as coisas não vão mal. A expansão do PIB nos Estados Unidos no ano passado foi de 1,6%, no Reino Unido, de 1,8% e na Espanha, de 3,2%. O México cresceu 2,3% e a China “somente” 6,7%. Assim, não há crise externa para justificar a crise brasileira, como a presidente Dilma Rousseff e sua equipe econômica diziam. O fato de Venezuela e Argentina, outros dois países que seguiram ou seguem políticas heterodoxas intervencionistas, também estarem em recessão aponta o possível culpado: as políticas desastradas adotadas no país a partir do final do segundo mandato do presidente Lula.

Não foi por falta de aviso. Em que pese a euforia lulista finda em 2010 e a própria eleição ­ e reeleição! ­ de Dilma Rousseff, para nós e para alguns poucos analistas ­ como Alexandre Schwartsman, Armando Castelar, Rogério Werneck e Roberto Ellery ­ estava claro, desde meados de 2011, que o conjunto de políticas denominadas Nova Matriz Econômica não poderia dar certo e levaria o Brasil a uma crise inédita.

Os fundamentos teóricos eram absolutamente equivocados, o respeito aos dados e à evidência empírica era inexistente, não havia qualquer estudo prévio sobre o impacto das políticas adotadas e, como se fosse pouco, qualquer grupo de pressão ­ alguns representando interesses nada republicanos ­ conseguia transformar em políticas públicas seus objetivos particulares. Somem-­se a isso a fraude explícita nas contas públicas, decorrentes do total desprezo pelo equilíbrio orçamentário e do mais deslavado oportunismo político, e o resultado final foi o caos em que se jogou o país a partir de 2014.

Já em 2010 os números de produtividade, especialmente produtividade total de fatores, davam sinais de estagnação e queda. E, para quem não se formou repetindo chavões políticos ou ideias dos anos 50, o resultado não poderia ser outro. Distorções como controle de preços e câmbio, subsídios sem critérios e proteção comercial agressiva geram sempre ineficiências que mais cedo ou mais tarde impactam negativamente o crescimento da economia. Basta estudar Introdução à Economia em uma boa escola para saber que a desorganização das contas públicas, por diferentes e vários motivos, vem acompanhada de baixo crescimento de longo prazo.

Ainda assim, muitos acharam que esses eram problemas menores e que fazendo tudo errado o Brasil daria certo.

As escolas heterodoxas, de onde saíram todos os formuladores das políticas econômicas adotadas no país a partir de 2008, em particular a própria presidente Dilma Rousseff, deveriam neste momento estar fazendo uma profunda revisão de seus métodos, fundamentos teóricos e práticas políticas. Afinal, o apoio à Nova Matriz foi unânime entre seus membros, em que pese uma discordância de ênfase, mas não de direção, aqui e ali. Não se ouve, entretanto, qualquer autocrítica. Ao contrário, aparentemente quase todos os heterodoxos teriam sido contrários ou tinham críticas à Nova Matriz. Alguns dizem que “essa não era a verdadeira política heterodoxa”. Filho feio não tem pai.

É verdade que muitos desses economistas estão mais interessados em fazer suas pesquisas e nem todos são a favor de se arrebentar as contas públicas. Entretanto, no que toca ao debate de política econômica daquele momento, o equilíbrio fiscal parecia uma preocupação menor, ou rudimentar, quando comparado a questões como o volume ideal de dinheiro público que o BNDES deveria doar para esse ou aquele setor, ou o nível ótimo de manipulação do câmbio.

Há também, por parte de um grupo algo vocal, grande desonestidade intelectual. Uma das explicações favoritas é que as políticas de ajuste de Joaquim Levy em 2015 teriam provocado a recessão. A atribuição de culpa peca duplamente. Primeiro por incompatibilidade com a cronologia dos eventos, afinal a recessão começou em 2014, antes da chegada de Levy. Segundo por impossibilidade quantitativa, pois o multiplicador dos gastos públicos sobre o produto teria que ser de uma ordem de grandeza muito acima das maiores estimativas existentes para que a recessão pudesse ser explicada pelo ajuste fiscal iniciado por Levy. Esse fato é provavelmente sabido, mas convenientemente ignorado.

Outros se assanharam com os números de 2016, pois com eles puderam atacar seus adversários políticos, jogando a culpa no atual governo. É o tipo de comportamento que se espera ­ mas não se aceita ­ de um político oportunista, ou em uma conversa de botequim, mas por agredir os fatos e o mais básico saber econômico, jamais se esperaria de professores de Economia. Teme-­se pelo futuro de seus alunos.

O país paga agora o preço dos erros da mais equivocada política econômica jamais implementada por aqui. A reação dos economistas heterodoxos às críticas do passado, bem como suas respostas à crise atual, sequer permite o único consolo possível ­ o de que a magnitude do estrago impediria a repetição dos mesmos erros. Aparentemente não houve aprendizado.

Pedro Cavalcanti Ferreira é professor da EPGE­FGV e diretor da FGV Crescimento e Desenvolvimento

Renato Fragelli Cardoso é professor da EPGE­FGV. Escrevem mensalmente neste espaço.

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