Un mundo en convergencia

WASHINGTON, DC - Durante casi dos siglos, a partir de alrededor de 1800, la historia de la economía mundial fue en general una de divergencia de los ingresos medios. En términos relativos, los países ricos se enriquecieron aún más. También hubo crecimiento en los países menos desarrollados, pero de manera más lenta que en los ricos, y fue elevándose la brecha entre sus niveles de prosperidad.

Esta "divergencia" era muy pronunciada en la época colonial. Disminuyó después de la década de 1940, pero no fue hasta alrededor de 1990 que se pudo observar una tendencia totalmente nueva: la convergencia de los ingresos promedio del grupo de países ricos con los del resto del mundo. De 1990 a 2010, el ingreso promedio per cápita en los países emergentes y en desarrollo casi triplicó los ingresos medios en Europa, Norteamérica y Japón, en comparación con tasas de crecimiento menores o, a lo sumo, iguales durante casi dos siglos.

Se trata de un cambio revolucionario, pero ¿continuará esta tendencia que lleva ya 20 años? ¿Mantendrá la convergencia su rápido ritmo, o será más bien una fase pasajera en la historia económica mundial?

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