Μεταφέρω επιστολή αναγνώστη με τίτλο “A green economy means curbing growth of the financial sector” στην Financial Times της 25 Ιουλίου 2022. Το ερώτημα της ‘πράσινης μετάβασης’ είναι πρωτίστως διανεμητικό, όπως υποστηρίζει πειστικώς ο συντάκτης της επιστολής.
“[T]he fall in the investment share in gross domestic product over the past decades as a major problem in the face of investment required to achieve the transition to a green economy.
When we widen the geographic horizon to the OECD countries which account for around 60 per cent of world GDP, we see that between 1976 and 2021 their investment share has fallen from 27 per cent to 22 per cent. And this happened at a time when financing costs were at historic lows.
At today’s prices, restoring the previous share would amount to $3tn a year, going a long way towards green transition’s investment needs. What is remarkable about these data is that at the same time labour’s share in national income (approximated by GDP) has fallen by between 5 and 10 percentage points, thus non-labour’s income, the profit share has increased by that amount.
So we have increasing profits but falling investment (in plant and equipment and some intangible investment). Where has the money gone? Well, it has gone into the financial sector, into real estate and stock prices, into speculative and other financial assets. In terms of the UN System of National Accounts, businesses have become net savers, instead of investors… — [e.g.] share buybacks which return money to investors instead of investing it in their own companies. The enormous expansion of financial market turnover during these decades is proof of this misallocation of profit.
The money for the green transition (and other investment needs) is potentially there: workers and managers have over time created large surpluses, but managers and owners have sought easy and quick reward in the volatile financial sector.
To reverse this trend will take a heroic power struggle in order to shrink the expanding financial sector in favour of socially beneficial investment into the green transition. Politicians and regulators will need all their courage — and the strongest support of voters to win this fight.”
Former Board Director, World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Vienna, Austria
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