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Concerning the Relevance of SMEs

António Rebelo de Sousa

Economist

António Rebelo de Sousa

It is true to say that the Tradable Goods Sector (and the larger companies that are part of it) is of the utmost importance for the national economy, since it contributes decisively to the improvement of our Foreign Accounts, to the incorporation of technological progress, to the increase in productivity and, therefore, to economic growth.
And, of course, the larger companies, enjoying economies of scale and having the ‘stock’ of capital needed for the wholesome exercise of R&D, have a central importance and should be supported by the Portuguese state, through the implementation of various incentive measures, especially in a critical period like the one we are going through.
This does not mean, however, that we should forget SMEs and even micro-enterprises, many of which are more connected to the Non Tradable Goods Sector, which is to say, to the domestic economy, which use more labour-intensive combinations, but which occupy, in many cases, interstitial spaces, creating employment and avoiding dramatic situations from the socio-economic point of view.
Hence the need for a two-speed growth model, which guarantees not only the channelling of financial resources to the Tradable Goods Sector, but also to the Non Tradable Goods Sector, avoiding the occurrence of excessive sector and regional asymmetries.
This all comes about to prevent the state from redirecting support to certain sectors – such as the media, for example – to large companies, theoretically (but not always in practice) with increased competitive capacity and a greater impact on public opinion.
The state should also look after smaller media companies, supporting them by creating incentives, purchasing advertising at times, and basically ensuring that, as far as possible, the most diverse sectors of public opinion feel represented in terms of information, covering a diverse range of specialities and trends of thought.
This isn’t a matter of seeking to criticise what has been done in this field, but simply of drawing attention to it for constructive purposes.
This is not about pretending to be maximalist in our purposes, in our projects, in our ambitions.
It is simply a matter of trying to be fair, having an integrated and integrating vision of society.
Nothing more, nothing less...