electronics factory workers ILO in Asia and the Pacific/Flickr

Los Estados Unidos, China y la paradoja de la productividad

NEW HAVEN – A finales del decenio de 1980, hubo un debate intenso sobre la llamada paradoja de la productividad; cuando inversiones enormes en tecnología de la información (TI) no estaban logrando mejoras apreciables en materia de productividad. Dicha paradoja está de vuelta y plantea un problema tanto a los Estados Unidos como a China que puede plantearse en su Diálogo Económico y Estratégico anual.

En 1987, el premio Nobel Robert Solow expresó su famosa broma: “Se ve la era de las computadoras por doquier, excepto en las estadísticas de productividad.” La paradoja de la productividad pareció resuelta en el decenio de 1990, cuando los Estados Unidos experimentaron un renacimiento espectacular de la productividad. El aumento anual de la productividad en la economía, exceptuado el sector agrícola, se aceleró hasta el 2,5 por ciento de 1991 a 2007, frente a la tendencia del 1,5 por ciento en los quince años anteriores. Los beneficios de la era de Internet se materializaron por fin. La preocupación por la paradoja prácticamente desapareció.

Pero parece que la celebración había sido prematura. Pese a otra revolución tecnológica, el aumento de la productividad ha vuelto a hundirse y esta vez el bajón es de alcance mundial, pues afecta a las dos mayores economías del mundo –los EE.UU. y China– más que a todas las demás.

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