streda, januára 31, 2007

Motivácia podnikania? „Iba“ zisk

Ayn Rand - „Atlas Shrugged“:

The reporters who came to the press conference in the office of the John Galt Line were young men who had been trained to think that their job consisted of concealing from the world the nature of its events. It was their daily duty to serve as audience for some public- figure who made utterances about the public good, in phrases carefully chosen to convey no meaning. It was their daily job to sling words together in any combination they pleased, so long as the words did not fall into a sequence saying something specific.

In the clear, monotonous voice of a military report, consulting no papers, looking straight at the men, Dagny recited the technological facts about the John Galt Line, giving exact figures on the nature of the rail, the capacity of the bridge, the method of construction, the costs. Then, in the dry tone of a banker, she explained the financial prospects of the Line and named the large profits she expected to make. 'That is all,"she said.

"All?" said one of the reporters. "Aren't you going to give us a message for the public?"

"That was my message."

"But hell—I mean, aren't you going to defend yourself?"

"Against what?"

"Don't you want to tell us something to justify your Line?"

"I have."

Another asked, "Aren't you going to tell us your motive for building that Line?"

"I have told you: the profit which I expect to make."

"Oh, Miss Taggart, don't say that!" cried a young boy. He was new, he was still honest about his job, and he felt that he liked Dagny Taggart, without knowing why. "That's the wrong thing to say. That's what they're all saying about you."

"Are they?"

"I'm sure you didn't mean it the way it sounds and . . . and I'm sure you'll want to clarify it."

"Why, yes, if you wish me to. The average profit of railroads has been two per cent of the capital invested. An industry that does so much and keeps so little, should consider itself immoral. As I have explained, the cost of the John Galt Line in relation to the traffic which it will carry makes me expect a profit of not less than fifteen per cent on our investment. Of course, any industrial profit above four per cent is considered usury nowadays. I shall, nevertheless, do my best to make the John Galt Line earn a profit of twenty per cent for me, if possible. That was my motive for building the Line. Have I made myself clear now?”

The boy was looking at her helplessly. "You don't mean, to earn a profit for you, Miss Taggart? You mean, for the small stockholders, of course?" he prompted hopefully.

"Why, no. I happen to be one of the largest stockholders of Taggart Transcontinental, so my share of the profits will be one of the largest.

utorok, januára 30, 2007

Reaganomics, The Economics of Success

By Rok SPRUK (written for Súkromné vlastníctvo)

The economic policy pursued by Ronald Reagan is often called “Reaganomics” or “supply-side” economics. Fortunately, this policy meant a radical cut of Keynesianism where consumption was stimulated with massive government spending. Keynes put the emphasis of economic policy on the demand-side (consumption). Reagan, by contrast, put the emphasis on the supply-side (production). Keynes believed that demand would create supply, but Reaganomics started from the opposite idea, namely that supply would create demand. In this way of thinking, the supply side of the economy (economic activity, production etc…) had to be stimulated in order to create wealth. The best way to do this was to cut the marginal tax rates on personal income. Such a tax cut would create a strong incentive to increase economic activity and would have spectacular effects on growth, investment, risk-taking and saving

President Ronald Reagan’s stature will grow as his achievements come to be more widely recognized. It was Reagan’s confidence in capitalism, not his defense buildup that caused Soviet leaders to lose their confidence in further pursuit of destructively devastating state-controlled economy. Ronald Reagan took away the Soviets’ comfort factor when he said that the “Phillips curve” and falling US productivity were the results of the wrong policy mix, not inherent features of a market economy. The U.S. economy, in other words, could be easily fixed, but the Soviet economy could not. Later I will speak about Reagan’s slashing of tax rates from 70 to 28 percent. After imposing genius liberal economic reforms, Margaret Thatcher achieved similar results in reforming Keynesian legacy of British economy. Surprisingly, even French followed and pursued fueled privatization of their socialized economy. Reagan revitalized the U.S. economy. He abandoned the Keynesian policy mix of monetary expansion to stimulate demand and high tax rates to restrain inflation--which was obviously not being restrained by Keynesian demand management. Reagan got the supply-side message that high tax rates were restraining real output while money growth pumped up demand, thus causing inflation.

Reagan’s policy was a success. But at the time it was misunderstood. Accustomed to thinking of tax cuts as a demand-side measure to stimulate consumer spending, the entire economics profession, along with the Federal Reserve, the Republican Senate, and most of Reagan’s own government, predicted accelerating inflation. Reaganomics is probably the only economic doctrine that made its way into a pop song. In 1985, the British group Simply Red criticized the 'antisocial' policy of Reagan in their song “Money’s Too Tight To Mention” (actually, a cover version of an original American song by the Valentine Brothers from 1982).

The popular perception of Reaganomics is clear: an antisocial policy with a curtailment of social expenses. But criticizing Reaganomics is not the monopoly of the left. Even classical (i.e. pro free market) liberals and libertarians are convinced that although Reagan stimulated the economy, it came at the cost of an enormous budget deficit. Even George Herbert Walker Bush was initially very sceptical of the economic ideas of Reagan. In 1980 he spoke about “voodoo economics”. He changed course when Reagan chose him as running mate for the presidency.

In the sixties and seventies, Keynes' economic theory was applied on a large scale. Keynes developed his ideas in the deep economic recession of the thirties, with its high unemployment. Keynes argued that governments should stimulate aggregate demand by massive spending and infrastructure works in order to invigorate the economy. Through the “multiplier” effect every dollar spent by the government would create a multiple in income. Unemployment would vanish, the tax base would broaden, and the budget deficit would disappear, Keynes argued. But during the oil crisis of the seventies, it became clear that Keynesianism did not work. Higher public spending did not resolve unemployment. On the contrary, unemployment increased in line with the increase of government spending. Moreover, unemployment and inflation appeared simultaneously, a fact which could not be explained by the dogmas of Keynesian thinking. The only thing they were able to do, was to give it a name: "stagflation", which meant that we had a combination of creeping inflation, recession and unemployment. During the Carter years, inflation was at a staggering 13%. Huge interest rates were necessary to fight it. The interest rate on credit facilities reached the unbelievable level of 21%. The drama was complete when taxes were increased to fight both inflation and government deficits. During the Carter years, the top marginal tax rate on personal income rose to the insane record level of 70%. Experts in Economic & Tax Policy did not know how to agree on any economic policy. They simply had no solution!

Many of the recent studies have indicated that high public spending as Keynes had advocated does not stimulate the economy. The main reason is that money that could otherwise be spent by private sectors, shags off with public jobs which offer very little or even zero return. Money to pay the deficit must come from somewhere else to paid-off and usually it is the taxpayer who must pay it. The fundamental basis of Keynesian logic is that it hardly makes sense to tax money away from productive people, thereby reducing their rewards, so as to spend it on unproductive goals. The United Kingdom which is the home of Keynesianism experienced it long years after the war. Keynesian economic policy was sticking and sticking and everybody seemed that there’s no way to stop it. Finally, Margaret Thatcher stopped putting continued Keynesian economic policy into practice. Another, more recently observed example is Japan. This country has provided one of history’s best demonstrations that the Keynesian demand stimulus is a deeply flawed economic philosophy. Despite huge government outlays, the Japanese economy is still wallowing in the slump that has afflicted it for more than ten years. According to the analysis of the relationship between and the size of governments in 16 European countries, the two main causes leading to poor growth performance are excessive government spending and a demotivating tax structure, which put a heavy burden on work, income and profit. This study has recently been confirmed and underpinned by multiple regression analysis, using econometrics tools to show the results.

There were four young economists who convinced Reagan to completely reserve the economic policy of that time. Those four economists were: Paul Craig Roberts, Robert Mundell, Norman Ture and Steve Entin. And there was another Journalist Jude Wanninski who contributed a great portion to the turnover of economic policy when Ronald Reagan started running his first mandate. The very basic point of view was that tax rates very extreme, too high and worked like a barrier, embodying a strong disincentive to work, risk and save. In a very popular point of view, “Economics of Discouragement” had to be translated into “Economics of Encouragement”. People are producing because it pays to do so. Consumption will not result in increased production when there are no incentives to do so. The logic is simple. When tax rates are becoming higher, people are loosing their interest in taxed working activities such as risk-taking, work and entrepreneurship. When tax rates fall down, people are starting to increase their participation in those activities since they see more incentives to participate in productive behavior and raise their incomes on a permanent basis. Only few people knew that Reagan had a major in Economics from Eureka College (Illinois) in 1932 The economic theory he was taught was untouched by Keynesian thinking and, as a consequence, very appropriate to the problems of the eighties. Reagan immediately took action. He lowered marginal tax rates from 70% in two phases: to 50% (Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981) and in a later phase to 28% (The Tax Act of 1986).

These tax cuts created 18 million new jobs in 8 years, lowered inflation to 4.3% and cut unemployment from 9.7% to 5.4%. One of the longest and strongest economic expansions since World War II had begun, with an average annual growth rate of 3.5%. But the first two years (1981 and 1982) were lost for Reagan. Fed chairman Paul Volcker fought inflation with a tight monetary policy and high interest rates. The Reagan administration urged Volcker to decrease monetary growth by a maximum of 50%, in order not to kill the tax cut program. But as the Federal Reserve is totally independent, Volcker cut money growth by 75% in 1981. The recession became even worse, and unemployment rose further. But after inflation had been defeated, money growth resumed and the Reagan expansion took shape.

Many leftist critics claim that Reagan gave money away to the rich at the expense of poor. Under Reagan’s leadership the so called rich people paid-out comparatively more through income and corporate taxes than ever before. The economic position for the poor was suitable and enabled them to move-up because tax revenues paid by the poor went down. But the reason for that is very simple. Lowering tax rates enabled instant participation in productive behavior. If the rich worked more, they saved more and logically they paid more. Reagan’s tax policy was followed by a principle in which increasing tax rates will not result in an increase of tax revenue. If you want to increase tax revenue you must expand the tax base and consequently lower marginal rates in order to let the economy grow.

Percentage of paid income tax


Percentage of taxes paid

$0 - $15 000




$15 000 - $30 000




$30 000 - $50 000




$50 000 - $100 000




$100 000 - $200 000




+ $200 000 -







Source: IRS

Incomes and Social Mobility

1991 dollars

Average Family Income of 1977 Quintile Members in

1977 Quintile



% Change

Bottom 20%

$15 853

$27 998


Second 20%

$31 349

$43 041


Third 20%

$43 279

$51 796


Fourth 20%

$57 486

$63 314


Top 20%

$92 531

$97 140



$48 101

$56 658


Source: Urban Institute

Job Creation in the Eighties

Jobs Created, Jan 1982 – Dec 1989

Job Category

Number (Million)

Percentage Increase

1989 Median Earnings


7 600


$32 873


2 194


$25 831


6 630


$20 905


1 374


$19 886


2 210


$14 858


- 0,116


$13 539


19 892


$23 333

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau

It is often claimed that the budget deficit had risen to enormous proportions during the Reagan years. But between 1981 and 1989 the budget deficit increased only slightly, from 2.6% to 2.9% of GDP. The deficit peaked in 1983 to 6.1% of GDP (the Volcker recession with tight money). During the same years the Belgian budget deficit varied between 7% and 13% of GDP. The average budget deficit for the G-7 countries was only slightly lower than that of the US.

The public debt of the US as a percentage of GDP, remained below that of the G-7 countries, i.e. below 32% of GDP. But Belgian public debt, the result of years of Keynesian policy, was higher than 100% of GDP and remains around 100% at this moment.

Net Public Debt as a percentage of GDP





















Increasing social outlays doesn’t make sense when you have previously created poverty and unemployment with wrong and possibly destructive economic policy. Redistribution of wealth through high marginal tax rates has no clue. It distributes poverty.

Keynesian thinking explained the economic achievement in terms of the level of spending. Deficit spending will keep employment high and will stimulate the economy. Cutting the deficit (for the Keynesians) would reduce spending and throw people out of work, raising the unemployment rate, reduce national income and hence produce less tax revenues. Reagan on the contrary brought a totally new perspective to economic policy. Instead of putting the emphasis on spending, supply-side economists showed that tax rates directly affect the supply of goods and services. Lowering tax rates mean better incentives to produce, to save, to invest and to take risks. In other words lower tax rates stimulate supply and not demand. The broader tax base will compensate at least partially for the lost revenue caused by the tax cut. Higher savings will result in increased investment and unemployment will disappear. Instead of pumping up demand to stimulate the economy, reliance would be placed on improving incentives on the supply side.

Entire population couldn’t believe that former movie actor could enable the most explosive expansion of the growth of income with revolutionary economic policy that stepped with new supply-side approach.

But Ronald Reagan was not the only one leading a strong, productive and impressive economic policy considering supply-side mechanism. Ludwig Erhard put in practice supply-side economics in Western Germany in 1948. At that time he was in charge of economic policy. He introduced an economic shock therapy completely in line with Reaganomics. He abolished rationing and price-controls, although he restricted his own power with this measure. Erhard believed in the self regulation of the market.

Not only the Social Democrats were vehement opponents of the abolishment of price-control, but also Lucius D. Clay, the US. military governor, was furious. Erhard had pushed through the economic deregulation without ever asking the general. Clay called Erhard to account, thundering that the professor had infringed upon the Allies’ privileges by changing the rationing regulations. Erhard coolly responded : “you are mistaken, sir, I have not changed them, I have abolished them.”

Later on Erhard, as secretary for the economy, cut the high marginal tax rate in two steps: first from 95% to 63% and afterwards to 53%. The first 8000 DM earned became tax free.

The decisions taken by Ludwig Erhard allowed West-Germany to rebuild itself at a pace never seen. No surprise that he was called the “
father of the wirtschaftswunder”.

The German economic miracle cannot be explained by the Marshall Plan. Britain and France received Marshall money too, but they wasted their chances. Britain voted Labour, which brought rationing and price controls. France opted for economic protectionism, which prevented Marshal help to be used in an efficient way.

After Reagan, the theory of supply-side economics was applied in numerous countries. In Iceland, David Oddson became prime minister in 1991. He inherited a poorly performing economy burdened by heavy income taxes. He lowered the corporate tax rate from 50% to 30%. During the next five years the economy grew by 5% per year. Government income did not fall and social outlays could be maintained.

Ireland is another example. In 1987 this country was the “sick man” of Europe, with a public debt of 135 % of GDP. After the elections of 1987 a new economic policy was introduced. Corporate tax rate was reduced from 32% to 12.5% and capital gains tax was lowered from 40% to 20%. Ireland is now the fastest growing country of the EU. Japan, to the contrary, is a classic example of the failure of a Keynesian demand-side policy. The economy has been in shambles for many years and public debt has risen to a gigantic 170% of GDP.

The following graph compares government spending and GDP per capita in Ireland and Belgium between 1960 and 2003. The Irish 'turning point' came with the adoption of supply-side economics.

A Reaganomics Plan for Slovenia

1. A considerable tax cut down to 20% on personal income.

2. The complete abolition of corporate tax rates repealing all public subsidies transferred to public enterprises where government owns major or partial stake

3. The abolition of taxes on dividends. Investment and risk taking has to be encouraged, not punished. A reduction (or abolition) of tax rates can make investment opportunities profitable that formerly were not

4. The abolition of all agricultural subsidies. At this moment 45% of the total EU budget goes to agricultural subsidies, respresenting the huge amount of 45 billion euro per year. This is not only dramatic for the tax payers, but it is also very harmful for the developing world, mainly for the poor countries in Africa. As a consequence of the subsidies, European agricultural products are dumped (at prices far below the cost) on the markets of these countries, preventing them from competing on the world markets with their own products.

5. A radical cut in the size of Government. After Sweden, Slovenia has the second largest part of public expenditures according to Fraser Institute. The government has received more than 2% of total revenues from public enterprises and other forms of government ownership.

Supply-Side and the Laffer curve

Supply-Side economics is widely misinterpreted as the Laffer curve. Arthur Laffer, an economics Professor at University of Southern California claimed that an important feature of supply-side economics is that tax cuts will pay for themselves. Laffer became famous after he illustrated this idea on a napkin in a restaurant in Washington in 1974. But the question is not whether tax cuts pay for themselves, but whether they are more effective in creating economic growth and welfare, compared to a Keynesian policy of increasing government spending. The difference between Keynesianism and the supply side school centers on fiscal policy. Does a successful fiscal policy work by incentives (tax cuts) or by increasing demand (spending)? The important question is not whether such a fiscal policy will pay for itself. The Keynesians stress demand, supply-siders stress incentives. Changing fiscal policy by creating incentives will change the behaviour of people. If tax rates rise, people will reduce their participation in taxed economic activities, such as working, risk-taking, investment and saving. When tax rates go down, people are motivated to increase their economic activity. The economic expansion that will follow a tax cut is far more important than the fact that tax cuts should pay for themselves. Most politicians in Western Europe have not yet understood this very important distinction. Even worse: the media in Europe have killed Reaganomics because they do not understand this difference.

Flat Tax: A Gate to the Future

Flat tax is even better solution to the problem than 5 points program above. If flat tax was introduced it would apply to both personal and corporate income. All relieves, deductions, allowances and subsidies will be eliminated. Loopholes would be impossible. The system would be so simple that it will perhaps take no more than five minutes to file a tax return. In 2004, 85% of Estonians filled their tax returns electronically. In the last ten years flat tax rates have been introduced in several economies. The first among them was Estonia in 1994 after having ignored painful advice from IMF aiming to introduce progressively applied tax rates and increase administrative costs what would push the economy even deeper of the cliff. Luckily, Mart Laar has been smart enough to follow Milton Friedman’s sophisticated solutions from “Free to Choose” in order to let Estonia become the pioneer of classical liberal free market policies shifting its economy ever upward.

A low level of a flat tax is important. The well-known Richard K. Armey, previous Majority Leader of the House of Representatives advocates a tariff for the US of maximum 17%. But this rate could even be lower. An analysis by the French economist Philippe Manière indicates that a flat tax rate of 10% in France would maintain the government revenues at the present level.

For Slovenia, an introduction of maximum 20% flat tax rate applied on both personal and corporate income would have enormous advantages:

1. Economic Growth would explode, leading Slovenia to become one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. Simple, fair and non-discriminatory Flat tax would create beneficial incentives to encourage people to expand their productive behavior with more risk, work, entrepreneurship, investment and saving habits. To find loopholes would be impossible and thus people would find very little reason to hide or offshore their money away from the government

2. Unemployment would be likely to almost disappear.

3. Since it makes almost impossible to avoid paying taxes, people would not evade them since they are willing to pay minimal tax burden when tax rates are less off. Flat tax won’t punish people for their contribution for “working too much” or perhaps “saving too much” since there’s a principle of territorial taxation put into context so you don’t have to pay taxes on your properties if you own one abroad. Tax return can be done in less than 15 minutes on a postcard-sized filling form.

4. At last, an important part of bureaucrats would be ripped off and perhaps they could transform their activity towards more productive tasks.

5. Remember what “Der Vater den Deutschen Wirtschaftswunder” Ludwig Erhard once wisely told: “A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.”

Will Reaganomics or supply-side economics ever be applied in Slovenia? In the UK, Ireland, Iceland and Eastern Europe current economic policy has strong supply-side influences. Currently Germany is in a worse socio-economic situation than Slovenia. Who knows, perhaps some day Slovenia might return to the successful formula of Ludwig Erhard and create a new Wirtschaftswunder, by applying supply-side economics. Such an example could show the way for Germany and other countries too.


Rok SPRUK is a supply-side economist and a classical liberal. He currently lives in Slovenia where he studies economics. His fields of research are economic growth, macroeconomics, monetary economics, international economics, tax policy and international competitiveness. His articles, observations, views and ideas are posted on his blog Capitalism & Freedom



Paul Craig Roberts: Reagan Changed the World, Townhall, 7 June 2004

William A. Niskanen: Reaganomics, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore: Reaganomics. Then, Now and Forever, The Growth Club, 12th of June 2004

Murray Rothbard: The Myths of Reaganomics, Mises

William A. Niskanen, Stephen Moore: Supply Tax Cuts and the Truth About
the Reagan Economic Record, CATO

Robert Bartley, Seven Fat Years and How to do it Again, Free Press, 1995

Luc van Braekel, Reaganomics, A Success Story, Brussels Journal

Daniel J. Mitchell: Taxes, Deficits and Economic Growth, Heritage Lecture

piatok, januára 26, 2007

Na margo: Gore odmietol stretnutie s Lomborgom

Isté najväčšie dánske noviny pozvali pána Gora na spoločné interview s Bjornom Lomborgom, človekom vyvracajúcom mýty o následkoch klimatického otepľovania. Gore pozvanie odmietol s dodatkom, že Lomborg „veľmi kritizoval jeho posolstvo o globálnom otepľovaní a spochybňoval nestrannosť.“

Pre niekoho by to bola výzva na vzájomnú konfrontáciu, nie dôvod na vyhnutie sa.

štvrtok, januára 25, 2007

Prečo regulácie spôsobujú problémy

Problémy v krajinách so značnými štátnymi intervenciami na trhu práce nie sú náhodné. Napriek početným rozdielom medzi týmito krajinami, existuje tu veľa spoločných čŕt. Jednou z nich je nesúlad medzi ponukou práce a dopytom v dôsledku vládou vnucovaných obmedzení a ochraňovania na trhu. Veľmi zjednodušený obraz miestneho trhu práce môže napomôcť vniesť svetlo k príčinám a dôsledkom. Predstavte si, že váš sused si zlomí nohu a chce od vášho syna, aby mu pokosil trávnik. Je pripravený mu zaplatiť 20 euro a váš syn je ochotný to spraviť najmenej za 15 euro. Ale predstavte si, že štát požaduje 50 % daň. Dohoda (a práca) je vďaka dani vyautovaná.

Alebo predpokladajme, že vláda požaduje, aby bola služba vykonaná verejným monopolom, ktorý si vypýta viac ako 20 euro. Opäť, váš syn ostane bez práce. Alebo obmedzenie trhu práce požaduje minimálnu mzdu 50 euro a sused nie je ochotný toľko zaplatiť. Opäť, nič sa nedeje. Alebo odbory môžu zamietnuť vášmu synovi prístup k susedovmu trávniku, pretože nie je členom ich organizácie. Výsledok: žiadne zamestnanie.

Skutočnosť je samozrejme oveľa komplikovanejšia, ale tento príklad v princípe vystihuje niektoré z najbežnejších bariér vytváraných vládami na trhu práce. Štát používa silu, aby kládol prekážky slobodnej výmene a tak vytvára nezamestnanosť – všetko v mene nejakej „sociálnej“ politiky. Nie je ťažké pochopiť, prečo takéto obmedzenia v mene ochrany vytvárajú u mladých ľudí širokú nezamestnanosť a zlosť, rezultujúc do takých výsledkov ako boli nepokoje v Paríži. A takýchto tykajúcich bômb podobných Parížu je v západnej Európe niekoľko. OECD nedávno publikovala niekoľko štúdií, ktoré potvrdzujú tieto súvislosti v členských krajinách.

Vládne intervencie na trhu práce vyúsťujú do vážnych negatívnych dôsledkov z hľadiska nezamestnanosti, najmä medzi mladými ľuďmi a imigrantami. Do istej miery je toto zámerom. Odbory predstavujú kartel zameraný na obmedzovanie konkurencie. Regulácie proti prepúšťaniu zamestnancov zabraňujú nahradeniu starých pracovných miest novými. Je všeobecne známe, že umožnenie takýchto zásahov vytvára opačné efekty, ale niektorí ľudia sú pripravení tieto efekty akceptovať – napríklad v záujme víťazstva vo voľbách.

Preklad z článku Johnyho Munkhammara, Index ekonomickej slobody 2007, kapitola č. 2 - „Naliehavá potreba slobody práce v Európe a vo svete“, The Heritage Foundation a The Wall Street Journal

utorok, januára 23, 2007

Na margo

Svalovca sa boja naši, nie európski inšpektori

Tak úradné kontroly pri domácich zabíjačkách si nakoniec nevymysleli eurobyrokrati, ale táto iniciatíva pochádza od našich nudiacich sa inšpektorov.

No ešteže tak. To úplne mení pohľad na situáciu.

Pekný príklad toho, ako sa úradnícke návrhy na strpčovanie života schovávajú za vyššiu autoritu (ak je dobrý úmysel len ťažko zdôvodniteľný). Tento krát im to s požiadavkou EÚ celkom nevyšlo.

pondelok, januára 22, 2007

Index ekonomickej slobody 2007

Heritage Foundation spolu s denníkom Wall Street Journal publikoval Index ekonomickej slobody pre rok 2007 (nemýliť si s podobným indexom, ktorý pripravuje Fraser Institute a na ktorom sa podieľa aj Nadácia F.A. Hayeka).

Na čele a chvoste rebríčka nič nové – Hong Kong, Singapúr, Austrália najslobodnejšie, Líbya, Kuba a Severná Kórea najmenej slobodné krajiny. Od predchádzajúcich ročníkov sa tento líši zmenami v metodológii (stupnicová škála 0 – 100%, zavedenie nového kritéria slobody pracovného trhu a ďalšie zmeny, umožňujúce detailnejšie zachytenie niektorých skutočností). Pribudol tiež prehľad za jednotlivé regióny. Ako priznávajú autori (medzi nimi aj Johny Munkhammar s kapitolou slobody trhu práce), „akademická metodológia a starostlivo merané tabuľky nemôžu naozaj vystihnúť ekonomickú slobodu. Skutočný svet, napríklad prechádzka centrom Hong Kongu, je oveľa viac veľavravnejší.“

12 z prvých 20 najslobodnejších ekonomík sa nachádza v Európe, lídrom je Veľká Británia, Írsko, Luxembursko a Švajčiarsko. Slovensko obsadilo celkovo 40. priečku a naša ekonomika je z dvoch tretín slobodná. V porovnaní s predchádzajúcim ročníkom nastal pokles o 0,8%, čo možno považovať za dôsledok zmeny metodológie.

Na Slovensku existuje podľa autorov vysoký stupeň slobody investovania, obchodovania, finančnej slobody a slobody podnikania. Už horšie sme na tom s oslobodením od vlády (výdavky vlády na úrovni 39% HDP sú nadpriemerné; alarmujúce sú príjmy štátu pochádzajúce zo štátom riadených spoločností a majetku v štátnom vlastníctve na úrovni 9% – z európskych krajín majú väčší podiel len Bosna a Hercegovina, Cyprus a Nórsko + ďalších 46 najmä menej slobodných krajín vo svete), vlastníckymi právami a úrovňou korupcie. Súdnictvo je nezávislé od politických vplyvov, ale uzavretie prípadov trvá roky ako pre občanov, tak aj pre zahraničných investorov. Úroveň korupcie v súdnictve a štátnej správe je výrazná vzhľadom na moderné európske štandardy.

Hoci Slovensko patrí ku slobodnejším stredoeurópskym krajinám (lepšie na tom je len ČR), stále to nie je dôvod na oslavu. A v najbližších rokoch ho zrejme mať ani nebudeme.

piatok, januára 19, 2007

Citát na dnes

„Ak máte desaťtisíc regulácií, ničíte tým všetok rešpekt voči zákonu.“

- Winston Churchill

štvrtok, januára 18, 2007

Stačí ponechať trhu priestor

Pri hodnotení úrovne bytovej výstavby a bývania ako takého na Slovensku sa stav u nás často porovnáva so situáciou v rozvinutejších krajinách Európy. „Zaostávame“ v objeme bytovej výstavby, ako aj kvalite existujúcich a nových príbytkov. A zvyčajná odpoveď na otázku čo s tým, znie: „Štát musí pomôcť. Výstavbou nájomných bytov pre mladé rodiny, podporou hypotekárnych úverov pre ľudí s nízkymi príjmami, dotáciami na rekonštrukcie, ...“ Nejaký prostriedok sa vždy nájde. Veď peniaze sa do rozpočtu len tak sypú, tak prečo nerozdávať?

Úroveň bývania vždy úzko súvisí s kvalitou životnej úrovne. A keďže príjmy na Slovensku budú ešte pár desiatok rokov dobiehať tie v západnej Európe, o nič kratší čas to nebude trvať ani štandardu bytov. Napomôcť tomu môže rozvinutý a fungujúci rezidenčný trh. Ten však nebude fungovať vďaka najrôznejším dotáciam od výmyslu sveta, ale najmä prostredníctvom vytvorenia trhového prostredia. Jasne určené vlastnícke práva, ich ľahké vymáhanie, nenarúšaný prenos majetku na iné osoby, rozšírené formy poistenia (napríklad stavebných závad pri kúpe nehnuteľnosti), kvalitné oceňovanie, hodnotenie stavebnej kvality, či pestrá ponuka hypotekárneho financovania. To všetko sú oblasti, (na základe) v ktorých je súkromný sektor schopný ponúkať riešenia v prospech ľudí a ktoré v rastúcich krajinách západnej Európy fungujú. A zo strany štátu stačí málo – len mu v tom nebrániť.

Hypotekárne pôžičky sú podstatným impulzom rozvoja rezidenčného trhu. A hoci sa tento nástroj financovania u nás značne rozšíril, ani so štátnou podporou nedosahuje taký význam ako na západe. Príčinou vysokých úrokov finančných inštitúcií (okrem sadzby centrálnej banky) môže byť nutnosť pokrytia stále značného rizika (chýbajúca „história“ klienta).

Vládou dotované hypotéky môžu mať na trhu presne opačný efekt. V situácii, keď ponuka bytov je stále minimálna, môžu vyvolať ešte silnejší dopyt. Ten bude tlačiť na zvyšovanie cien (aj celkovej inflácie) a bývanie sa stane ešte menej dostupné.

Bývanie nevyžaduje riešenia založené na dotáciach. Práve naopak. Vhodný príklad sa núka v súvislosti s niektorými stavebníkmi avizovaným nedostatkom pracovných síl v tomto odvetví. Kvôli tomu budú nútení obmedzovať alebo rušiť niektoré kontrakty. Aký to paradox! Na Slovensku je značný nedostatok bytov, stále vysoká miera nezamestnanosti, dobre naštartovaná ekonomika, súperiaci záujemcovia o kúpu bytov, ale málo ľudí ochotných zarábať peniaze na stavbách. Príčina? Pozrite sa, o koľko vzrástli dávky v nezamestnanosti.

Pri hľadaní riešení je možné sa poučiť aj na krajinách južnej Európy. Podmienky na bývanie v Grécku, Španielsku, Portugalsku boli pred pár desiatkami rokov len málo porovnateľné so súčasným stavom. S rastúcou prosperitou a rozvojom štandardného trhového prostredia sa dokázali dotiahnuť na úroveň ich susedov. Kľúčom bolo vytvorenie podmienok pre fungovanie trhu, nie kozmetické organizačné úpravy pri udeľovaní dotácií, ani zmena účelu podpory. Hypotekárny trh zaznamenal rozmach v Taliansku potom, čo bolo uľahčené veriteľom domôcť sa svojich pohľadávok cez súdy.

Konkurencia v oblastiach súvisiacich s bývaním - od stavebníctva, financovania, sprostredkovania, poisťovníctva, až po oceňovanie, dokáže divy. Stačí jej ponechať priestor.

(Článok je publikovaný v týždenníku Trend č.3/2007)