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Política Internacional / 29/07/2020

Paul Collier: “Capitalism does not work without cooperation and mutualism”

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Paul Collier: “Capitalism does not work without cooperation and mutualism”


Oxford Economics Professor proposes to tax large cities to stimulate more depressed regions, hampered by business migration

Anxiety is perhaps the word that best defines this century so far in the West. Anxiety before the professional insecurity of the younger age groups; anxiety caused by inequality, by seeing through the screen of the cell phone the display of lives that many cannot even aspire to live; and anxiety, now too, in the face of a pandemic that threatens to shake the social foundations that still stood and that is forcing States to burn their ships to avoid another Great Depression. There is a more or less clear consensus around the causes of this new (or perhaps not so much) sense of pessimism and radical uncertainty: a mixture of accelerated technological change with globalization of production, which has left large groups of people with obsolete skills or much worse paid, which transferred the most easily replicable areas of the industry to emerging countries in search of cheap labor and that, in the end, gave room to the noisy defenders of easy and radical solutions to complex problems.

Pedestrians are reflected in the storefront window of a Chinese restaurant displaying roasted duck in downtown Lima, Peru, Saturday, July 11, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo / Rodrigo Abd) With this diagnosis in hand, Paul Collier (Sheffield, UK, 71 years old), professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Oxford, tries to get to the bottom of the “decline syndrome”, whose beginning actually locates almost four decades ago. “The 2008 and 2009 crisis manifested pessimism, but it was a trend that had been growing since the mid-eighties”, says Collier by videoconference. This pessimism is largely justified: today, half of the generation born in the eighties lives "markedly worse" than their parents lived at the same age, as mentioned in his latest book, The Future of Capitalism (L&PM, 2019).

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