La segunda oportunidad de la Tercera Vía

SANTIAGO – La Tercera Vía de Tony Blair y Bill Clinton ha regresado. Los rostros y los nombres no son los mismos, pero la idea de que los gobiernos pueden - y deben - combinar valores de la socialdemocracia con los instrumentos de una economía moderna y liberal está una vez más al centro del debate.

En una reunión de líderes mundiales efectuada en junio de 2000 en Berlín, cuyo anfitrión fue el entonces canciller alemán Gerhard Schröder, la Tercera Vía parecía ser el camino del futuro. La reunión fue idea de Blair y aunque él no asistió porque su mujer acababa de dar a luz, Clinton argumentó elocuentemente que las nuevas tecnologías podían ayudar a resolver antiguos problemas sociales. Los líderes de Suecia y Nueva Zelanda afirmaron que los estados podían ser más ágiles y también más eficaces. Y la Tercera Vía daba respuesta a los problemas de lo que solía llamarse el Tercer Mundo, sostuvieron Thabo Mbeki de Sudáfrica, Fernando Henrique Cardoso de Brasil y Ricardo Lagos de Chile (yo estuve presente formando parte de la delegación chilena).

Desgraciadamente, la esperanza se extinguió pronto. Las frases sonoras sobre la gobernanza progresista no alcanzaron a convertirse en una filosofía política duradera. Al Gore abandonó las ideas económicas de Clinton por un populismo tradicional y fue derrotado por George W. Bush. Los socialdemócratas y sus aliados perdieron poder en varios países europeos. La guerra en Irak y la crisis económica mundial de 2008-2009 suscitaron una reacción negativa a algunas de las políticas por las que abogaban los líderes de la Tercera Vía.

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