lunes, 6 de junio de 2011

Crecimiento económico y desarrollo económico

En ocasiones se confunden los conceptos de crecimiento económico y desarrollo económico .
El crecimiento económico es el crecimiento de la producción per cápita de un país  Se mide por el PIB real
El desarrollo económico implica un crecimiento económico que   supone un aumento en la calidad de vida de la población .
Aunque parezcan lo  mismo no lo son. Un PIB elevado en paises donde la riqueza se concentra en unas pocas familias no supone una mejora en la calidad de vida de sus ciudadanos.  Para que un incremento del PIB  repercuta en la población es necesario que existan sistemas de reparto de la riqueza generada (  sistemas tributarios , sistemas sanitarios, educación pública, programas asistenciales........)

Sir Arthur Lewis , premio Nobel de Economía por su investigación en el desarrollo económico, estudió  los problemas de  crecimiento en los países en desarrollo .

Opinaba que el crecimiento :
  • amplía  las posibilidades de elección de los individuos.
  •  liberaba al hombre de una muerte prematura ( comparaba la mortalidad en Africa a los 45 años con la mortalidad en Europa  a los  78 años)
  • permite al individuo elegir entre mayor ocio o mayor cantidad de bienes 
  • permite la igualdad entre hombres y mujeres , liberando a las mujeres de una serie de penosas tareas.
Cuando hablamos de algún economista nos referimos a sus teorías , tal economista dijo esto, tal economista dijo lo otro...... en ocasiones su vida es un ejemplo de trabajo y superación que también merece la pena conocer . Os dejo un extracto de la autobiografía de Arthur Lewis.

Autobiography                              Sir Arthur Lewis

I was born in St. Lucia on January 23, 1915. My parents, who were both school teachers, had immigrated there from Antigua about a dozen years before. The islands were dissimilar in religion and culture, so our family had some slight characteristics of immigrant minorities.

My progress through the public schools was accelerated. When I was seven I had to stay home for several weeks because of some ailment, whereupon my father elected to teach me so that I should not fall behind. In fact, he taught me in three months as much as the school taught in two years, so, on returning to school, I was shifted from grade 4 to grade 6. So, the rest of my school life and early working life, up to age 18, was spent with fellow students or workers two or three years older than I. This gave me a terrible sense of physical inferiority, as well as an understanding, which has remained with me ever since, that high marks are not everything.

My father died when I was seven, leaving a widow and five sons, ranging in age from five to seventeen. My mother was the most highly-disciplined and hardest working person I have ever known, and this, combined with her love and gentleness, enabled her to make a success of each of her children.

I left school at 14, having completed the curriculum, and went to work as a clerk in the civil service. My next step would be to sit the examination for a St. Lucia government scholarship to a British university, but I would be too young for this until 1932. This job was not wasted on me since it taught me to write, to type, to file and to be orderly. But this was at the expense of not reading enough history and literature, for which these years of one's life are the most appropriate.

In 1932 I sat the examination and won the scholarship. At this point I did not know what to do with my life. The British government imposed a colour bar in its colonies, so young blacks went in only for law or medicine where they could make a living without government support. I did not want to be a lawyer or a doctor. I wanted to be an engineer, but this seemed pointless since neither the government nor the white firms would employ a black engineer. Eventually I decided to study business administration, planning to return to St. Lucia for a job in the municipal service or in private trade. I would simultaneously study law to fall back on if nothing administrative turned up. So I went to the London School of Economics to do the Bachelor of Commerce degree which offered accounting, business management, commercial law and a little economics and statistics. This training has been very helpful in the various administrative jobs I have had to do, its weakness from the standpoint of my subsequent career (which was then inconceivable) was that it lacked mathematics.

I had no idea in 1933 what economics was, butdid well in the subject from the start, and when I graduated in 1937 with first class honours, LSE gave me a scholarship to do a Ph.D. in Industrial Economics.

In 1938, I was given a one-year teaching appointment which was sensational for British universities. This was converted into the usual four-year contract for an Assistant Lecturer in 1939. My foot was now on the ladder, and the rest was up to me. My luck held, and I rose rapidly. In 1948, at 33, I was made a full professor at the University of Manchester.--------------------

------------------Now for development economics. From the middle of the 1930s, I had spent time in the Colonial Office Library reading reports from the colonial territories on agricultural problems, mining, currency questions and the like, and by comparing different territories, had learnt something about the efficacy of different policies. I did some lecturing on this to colonial students at LSE in the 40s, but it was the throng of Asian and African students at Manchester that set me lecturing systematically on development economics from about 1950, following Hayek's rule that the way to learn is to teach.-------

-----------------My wife Gladys was born in Grenada. Her father, who was an Antiguan, and my parents had known each other all their lives. She went to England in 1937 and trained as a teacher. We married in 1947 and have two daughters, Elizabeth and Barbara. My travels have meant much separation, but mutual love has supported the family in all its endeavours.

From Nobel Lectures, Economics 1969-1980, Editor Assar Lindbeck, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

Sir Arthur Lewis died on June 15, 1991.