viernes, 22 de febrero de 2002

Innovation=Flexibility, Initiative, and Imagination

People don’t want to listen to anything that is not related to production and work.

People no longer distinguish between politicians and economists. They see and associate them in general with an insensitive pathology and think their creative capabilities are inhibited. Prizes 2002 in Economy of the Swedish Academy (Nobel) are the prelude of true changes. This is a challenge for professionals in economic sciences. The heirs of Alfred Nobel wanted to eliminate the prize in Economy a short time ago. Nevertheless it is worrisome that one of them (Kahneman) is not even a traditional economist, but psychologist. His analysis of how the human beings make decisions when they face uncertainty and risk has created a new branch of the economy, although may not be nice for us. To offer a message from an economist who has an exclusive focus and education as well as a monetary and fiscal tendency will not be more serious.

In the last years was Joseph Stiglitz, Daniel Kahneman of the Princeton University and Vernon Smith of the George Mason University of Virginia Colorado. The message is clear, it advises the retirement of non-compassion economists who have prevailed for the last twenty-five years. We mean that one who appears in Argentina and many parts of the world as an extremely egoistic person, able to turn anything in a number or to speak of mathematical abstractions. People are deploring to |unbearable know-it-all who do not give solutions to their quality of life and give opinion folding their legs in a TV program, and they are not perturbed when speech of unemployment, factories that close, retired and pensioned, poor and undernourished children. It seems to be that preferences are directed to people understandable and simple who trust in their intuition and observation of events to make decisions and frequently do not show off that their knowledge is perfect. The new

Nobel’s have revealed that people observe the information around to try to understand how the world works, instead of having a limitless knowledge, which the economists who live in the ozone hole took for, granted until now. They also discovered that people have difficulties to calculate the probabilities associated with the occurrence of future events. We must underline, they discovered that the answer in surveys are conditioned by the procedure in which the questions are formulated. This could clearly be subject of manipulation. Although it seems obvious, it’s important to know that people calculate risks in a non-proportional way.

For example they have discovered that people tend to exaggerate the probabilities of a nuclear catastrophe, but diminishes the risks of experiencing a car crash.

The classic economist tends to think human decisions in terms of the benefits waited for each possible future scene in respect of associated occurrence probabilities. But if people very crazily give greater importance to some situations than to others, their decisions will be against the basic calculation. In nearly domestic terms this is an approach of the "Prospective theory" of Kahneman and Tversky (died in 1996). I am not saying the classic economy is useless neither that the monetary and fiscal approach is not an essential and important contribution. It is necessary that we proceed to the transformation, which for many innocents has become an unpleasant and declining science. Notwithstanding its import to avoided the constant contests between arrogant personages in order to verify or to demonstrate who knows more and who express with incomprehensible ostentations for common people what papers or textbooks of the best universities of the world contain. It’s intended to contribute applied knowledge with sufficient sensitivity and tolerance to the society to work on the problems that it suffers.

Probable Opponents

Existing Interest, Preexistent Structures With Cultures "Anti Innovation"

The most habitual reaction to face a change is the resistance. Ironies or crudeness like: "things have always been like this", "that is not the way to do the things in the world, we cannot modify the gravity law”,” It doesn’t seem to me beneficial", "Yes, but...” "It didn’t never made it", "if it were so good why didn’t anybody do it before".

Changing something is always disturbing for somebody structured or formed in an only thought. The conventional wisdom got in the University is the best argument for it and the worse one for a country with the problems as Argentina. In Argentina, economists who occupied a post in public sector have that mentality and they find always a reason to explain why a new thing will not work. Argentina needs to flee from that depressed and contagious spirit who kills the imagination in order to improve.

That discouraged attitude to be against to which is not orthodox and to fight all the unknown things, has already had horrifying costs. In our consultant tasks, in addition to brain storming in groups, we usually make personal interviews with directors. We converse about the base for business strategy diagnoses.

In one of them with an executive of an important textile company with financial difficulties he told me that never we could implement the dressmaking section in a Northern Province.

Of course he gave us as much arguments and abundant experience as discouraging to Superman. Not conform to that, he signed it ironically, although he authorize them to try it.

Our proposal consisted to get an annual saving of 800 thousand dollars. We implemented the proposal successfully and a day we showed the signed napkin. All of us have found experienced and sincere people who would seem to know everything.

Many times in companies and of course in the countries, we don’t think about differentiating strategies because there are intellectual or tradition tying as result of frustration on previous attempts. Right there "impossible ones appear ". For many people these were the countries defeated in the World War II, those of Southeast Asia, the closed economy of Communist China.

Most of innovating advantages come from countries and organizations with human capital and creativity. Argentina offers mathematics professors to the best schools of the United States and Europe. Brains should emigrate since they don’t see development possibilities in the country. In this way, intellectuals and producers lose motivation. Who doesn’t think about taking liberties with an alternative abroad to stop suffering, sometimes? We need to exile historical traditions.

Standardized economists and chancellors, structured and comfortable international public employees must abstain from pressing this proposal.

Very often, in business experience there are immutable things and people, tasks impossible to do otherwise maintain by obstinate people to their armchair, "sacred cows".

People, strategies, policies, systems, automatism and techniques are standardized that say

"We have always done in this manner and we will not move". These mentalities drown and debilitate competitive strength. The MIT´s productivity commission called the great American corporations as "deposit of old attitudes and old-fashioned policies". I want to underline and affirm this observation. Public employees and their advisers, as those executives of the private sector assume political attitudes that were solidified through the years.

In the globalization any reasoning that it wants to persist unscathed during more time than necessary it will be ineffective and counter-productive; it was demonstrated in only one decade. It was unfortunate that IMF had given green light to a country and to recommend plans design decades before, signing agreements, accepting strict requirement and later failing.

It’s as though a medical committee would discharge a patient, prescribing to him a treatment. Only that when he is coming out he carries expired medicine samples gave to him and as consequence the patient falls ill and then die.

If we persist in these attitudes, we will set towards economic decay together with organisms, institutions and developing countries as Argentina. We have been using plans belong to inflationary stabilization in the Seventies to deal with countries with deflation process in century XXI.

We must get ready to sacrifice honors and reputation. This is a consequence of innovating and facing the apparently "decreed thing, in writing or tacitly".

Sometimes who resist the idea are those that anyone would think they are the best people to realize the advantages to execute something new.

I presented here what in my opinion it constitutes the base of a plan for economic miracle. Of course that this is not an orthodox plan neither he is traditional heterodox. It is not Keynesian neither nor monetarist either. It is very intolerable for the tradition anyone is being the direction. It must be pure innovation, almost a provocation.

jueves, 14 de febrero de 2002

Ambito, El tribunal supremo de los economistas

Por: Pablo Tigani*
Para: Ámbito.
Pese a que trato y deseo no ser discrepante en circunstancias como las que atraviesa el país, tampoco puedo ser solidario por omisión, con ciertos hábitos que observo.
Si existe un grupo de personas que necesita adherir a un alto standard de conducta e integridad en estos momentos, debería ser la de los técnicos dedicados a la Economía.
Toda profesión tiene un manual de ética por el cual se rige y un tribunal de disciplina que controla la conducta de sus miembros. Por razón de nuestro rol en Argentina, los profesionales dedicados a analizar y opinar sobre política económica, tenemos que ser consistentes con la responsabilidad que nos deparó esta hora.
Parece ser que hay una idea prevaleciente que algunos, porque son miembros de una fundación, una universidad o tienen de cliente a tal o cual empresa, no son responsables de responder a la sociedad en la cual actúan. Esto explica porque sus vidas se distinguen como un ejemplo de falta de compromiso con la Nación, sus instituciones y sus ciudadanos; siendo que, al mismo tiempo son sospechadas de gravísimas operaciones.
Personalmente, he tenido experiencias con influyentes especialistas, cuyo estilo y orientación no es propio ni de la gente que opera en el bajo mundo. Es más, es interesante observar que hombres con mucho menos formación, adhieren a ciertos códigos de ética como la "lealtad de potrero", absolutamente ausentes en los ámbitos referidos.
Si bien es triste lo que voy a decir, es un comportamiento que no podemos negar. Una camada de consultores portátiles y plegables, por alguna razón ha llegado a ciertas conclusiones en cuanto a ética y conducta, las cuales no concuerdan con los más mínimos conceptos de honorabilidad. La idea prevaleciente en muchos, es que porque tienen artificiosas credenciales, eso les excusa de adherir a ciertas reglas de conducta. La soberbia los convence de que están entronizados en el establishment y creen tener impunidad para hacer cosas, que si la realizaran otros colegas, ellos mismos reprocharían. Una especie de fariseos, que piden a nuevos funcionarios cosas que ellos jamás hicieron estando en la función pública. No obstante desdichadamente, se han constituido en el "Tribunal Supremo de la Economía". Idólatras de Bob Mundell, Milton Fridman, James Tobin, Miguel Sidrauski, Babu Jones y Frenkel; muchos de ellos serían capaces, aunque más no fuese, de sostenerle el portafolio a Rudiger Dornbusch para salir en una foto con él. Exaltan en forma pública y textualmente valores como la avaricia, el egoísmo y la envidia. Enseñan que los mismos son motores del "dios Mercado". Aprueban y defienden todo lo que haga un personaje en apariencia "refinado", aunque constituya una villanía. Unos han sido miembros, y por lo tanto han participado de decisiones en gobiernos sospechados de la más grave y grande corrupción de la historia. Otros han participado recientemente de los gobiernos más ineficientes e incapaces, auto excluyéndose cuando analizan el periodo y sin involucrarse para nada en sus propios mandatos, omitiendo que fueron parte ocupando cargos ejecutivos. Trabajan en Argentina aunque le llaman "este país", algunos tienen dinero en el exterior y veranean en lugares exóticos pero recomiendan austeridad, piensan en una economía sin gente. Otros van a Punta del Este y viven de apariencia, consiguiendo becas para alentar a sus hijos que se vayan del país. Sus clientes no son asesorados sino, atemorizados y desalentados constantemente, con lo cual estimulan su perecedera dependencia. Muchos de ellos, desconocidos aprendices de gurú, son temerarios e irrumpen en programas donde sus fugitivos clientes pagarán la publicidad antes de huir del país.
No son inofensivos, generan tendencia de opinólogos de medios, instalando retorcidos sofismas que después el oyente repite como un periquito.
Actualmente son el único partido de la oposición. Si las medidas que anunció Remes Lenicov son aceptables para el G7, O´Neill, Aznar y Meltzer, para ellos son perjudiciales ex ante.
Sus clientes se replantean hoy la conveniencia del vínculo con ellos, como las grandes potencias lo hicieron en su momento con los grupos fundamentalistas.
No se puede servir a dos señores. No pudieron ayudar a sus clientes y al mismo tiempo destrozarles el mercado con espeluznantes vaticinios inminentes.
Antes dije que no tenían compromiso con la Nación, pero ahora digo también, que nunca tienen compromiso con sus clientes.
Los profesionales no solo deben tener un código de ética profesional, sino uno de ética moral y espiritual. No hay excusa, somos responsables ante nuestra sociedad, aún cuando los fundamentos de la misma están trepidando. Tenemos que reconstruir las bases aplicando requisitos simples: "No hagas a otro, lo que no quieres que te hagan a ti" - "Todo lo que siembres cosecharás", etc.
El establecimiento y práctica de una alta ética es una forma madura de pensar, y de ningún modo una postura beata. Significa entender lo que es ocupar una posición profesional en una sociedad civilizada.
Necesitamos poner fin a la ética situacional.
Una filosofía de vida que nos quiso aleccionar que podíamos actuar en diferentes formas y con distintos standars de acuerdo a las circunstancias que nos rodean. En otras palabras, que lo que es ilegal o inmoral en una situación, deja de serlo en otras. Los que sufrimos porque en el exterior no nos creen o nos llaman bananeros, no deberíamos ocultar más esa escuela de supervivencia, porque la misma elimina hasta los valores establecidos por Dios mismo. No mentirás. No hurtarás. No codiciarás. Verdades infinitas, no condicionadas al medio ambiente o a las circunstancias que enfrentamos. Aceptar y practicar la integridad e inspirar a otros para que la sigan ya no debería ser un motivo de burla.
La conclusión, es que la ética de un economista en adelante deberá ser algo más que una ética profesional; deberá ser una ética espiritual y moral, íntegra en todas las áreas de su vida.
*Master en Política Económica Internacional- Presidente de