El futuro de Asia después del tsunami

No se puede subestimar la escala de la devastación humana provocada por los espantosos tsunamis. Se han perdido miembros de familias, han quedado destruidos hogares y se han arruinado medios de subsistencia. Como ocurre con frecuencia en los desastres naturales, los pobres son los que más están sufriendo.

Y, sin embargo, pese a los daños en infraestructuras, como, por ejemplo, carreteras y enlaces ferroviarios, se espera que las repercusiones económicas globales del tsunami sean de menor importancia. En las zonas más afectadas de la India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka y Tailandia, las zonas interiores inmediatas no resultaron afectadas, mientras que los sectores turístico y pesquero –los medios de subsistencia de las zonas costeras destrozadas- representan sólo una proporción muy pequeña del PIB de esos países, pues las reformas liberalizadoras han propiciado la diversificación y el crecimiento rápido.

No siempre fue así. Históricamente, ha sido difícil convencer a los asiáticos de que el comercio internacional no es un juego de suma cero, en el que los asiáticos serían invariablemente los perdedores. Ésa es una razón por la que, después de que los comunistas de Mao Zedong triunfaran en China en 1949 y otras naciones asiáticas consiguieran la independencia, la mayoría de los países asiáticos adoptaron políticas económicas proteccionistas, cerradas al exterior y encaminadas a forjar una fuerza interior, excluir a los “imperialistas” y lograr la autosuficiencia.

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