dijous, 25 de juliol de 2013

Col·lectiu Emma: aniversari d'una editorial

Fa un any d'una editorial molt especial del Col·lectiu Emma. Crec, va ser, un punt d'inflexió.

El 25 de juliol del 2012, quan el Parlament de Catalunya aprovava per àmplia majoria demanar el pacte fiscal, el Col·lectiu Emma va difondre l'editorial "What's really going on in Catalonia (Notes on the present financial crisis in Spain and the political options for Catalans)", amb el suport de personalitats rellevants de la societat catalana (molts d'ells signaven un text així per primera vegada; pots veure la llista de persones al final de l'editorial).

Va ser un text brillant del fundador i ideòleg del Col·lectiu Emma, Jaume C. Major, amb aportacions de Jordi Comas, Xavier Roig, Salvador Cardús i Carles Boix (Emma sempre ha tingut molts bons amics, molt compromesos, que han ajudat en tot el que han pogut).  I el missatge al món era clar: els catalans volíem anar moooooolt més enllà que el pacte fiscal.

Aquí pots trobar el text sencer.  I a continuació uns extractes (la negreta és meva):
(...) a clean break is exactly what a large body of Catalans –civil society organizations, local councils, the rank-and-file of various parties and a growing number of private individuals– appears to be demanding from its leaders. The latest polls show support for independence at over fifty per cent, while the numbers of those squarely opposing it –now around twenty-one percent– continue to fall.

Understandably, economic grievances are cited by many of the Catalans who have been warming up to the idea of independence in the past few months. When citizens are being subjected to service cuts and tax hikes while a big chunk of the revenue they generate continues to be siphoned off by the central government, the economy would be a good enough reason for Catalans to give some serious thought to political separation from a state that is clearly working against their interests.

But it would be wrong to characterize this as a mere financial dispute between a province and its capital. There is a more fundamental disagreement, which is of a political nature and whose solution would imply a complete redefinition of the state that no one outside of Catalonia is even ready to consider. These deeper problems will be impossible to solve as long as Spain refuses to acknowledge the existence within the state of very diverse societies with conflicting sets of values and to revise some tenets that it regards as essential to its national being.
(...) Beyond their immediate difficulties, Catalans are now calling for a brand new long-term political project allowing the survival of an economic, social and cultural model that, in spite of all the obstacles and shortcomings, both external and self-imposed, has succeeded in building a relatively prosperous, creative and inclusive society.

In Catalonia today the people are well ahead of their government. They expect from their leadership that it takes on its responsibilities towards the present and future generations. If their government chooses to heed this call and throw its weight behind them, many more will come round. If it doesn't, Catalans are likely to forge ahead no matter what, either by their government's side or marching in front of it to show the only way to a better future.
Doncs això, endavant.

diumenge, 7 de juliol de 2013

El private-equity millora els resultats de les empreses?

Interessant estudi de Jonathan B. Cohna, Lillian F. Millsa, Erin M. Towerya de la Universitat de Texas ("The evolution of capital structure and operating performance after leveraged buyouts: Evidence from U.S. corporate tax returns") on analitzen, a partir d'informació de la hisenda americana (IRS), l'evolució d'empreses que cotitzen a borsa que han estat adquirides per fons de private-equity (i s'han exclòs de la borsa, el que es coneix com LBO - Leverage Buyouts).

Aquests fons compren empreses (sovint amb molt apalancament, és a dir, amb molt deute), les reestructuren, fan canvis en la gestió... amb l'objectiu de vendre-les al cap d'uns anys (més info aquí).

Els resultats? (les negretes són meves):
We present three primary results. First, we find little evidence of operating improvements subsequent to an LBO on average. We do, however, observe operating improvements in the set of firms for which public financial data are available, which suggests that the conclusions of prior, albeit careful, studies showing performance improvements for this group do not generalize to the population of LBOs. Second, we show that leverage and debt levels increase after LBOs and the frequency of positive tax payments declines. Finally, we find no support for arguments that private equity firms use LBOs to opportunistically “strip” otherwise healthy firms. LBO firms make limited dividend payments following an LBO, and firms do not appear to shrink after LBOs. The healthiest firms – those that were operationally profitable pre-LBO – continue to grow post-LBO, even after the initial asset revaluation that likely occurs for financial reporting purposes. Further, even the loss firms tend to experience 37 asset growth both during and after the LBO. Our results collectively suggest that the primary effect of LBOs is to produce a sustained increase in financial leverage.
És a dir, sense millores operatives però amb canvis fonamentals en l'estuctura de capital (bàsicament, molt més deute).

divendres, 5 de juliol de 2013

Discrepàncies entre economistes

Interessants reflexions de Greg Mankiw al NYT ("Politics Aside, a Common Bond for Two Economists") on explica per què els economistes poden tenir posicions polítiques diferents a pesar de compartir la mateixa "tradició intel·lectual".

Dóna tres hipòtesis:
Arthur M. Okun, who served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote that the big trade-off faced by society is between equality and efficiency. We can redistribute income to give everyone a more equal slice of the economic pie, but as we do so we blunt work incentives and the economic pie shrinks, he said. From this perspective, the Democrats are the party of more equality, and the Republicans are the party of more efficiency.

Another view is that the important tradeoff is between community and liberty. As members of society, we have goals we want to achieve with others. But as we reach those shared goals, we are asked to sacrifice some personal freedoms. From this perspective, the Democrats are the party that emphasizes communal values, and the Republicans are the party that emphasizes individual liberty.

Finally, there is the issue of how much one trusts centralized governmental power. Democrats tend to want to expand the scope of the federal government to improve the lives of the citizenry, while Republicans are more fearful that centralized power leads to abuse and lack of accountability.
És a dir, els equilibris entre eficiència i igualtat, comunitat-individu (llibertat), i confiança (o no) en la capacitat en que el govern faci bé les coses.  Interesant.