Lecciones brasileñas de política industrial

SAO PAULO – Pocas ideas económicas son más alabadas y vilipendiadas que la de la política industrial. Los partidarios, como aquéllos que estudiaron el ascenso de las economías de Asia oriental, están totalmente convencidos. Los opositores se enfurecen de tan sólo escuchar hablar de ella. Los primeros señalan el desarrollo económico; los segundos sostienen que decenas, incluso centenares de miles de millones de dólares se han desperdiciado.

Un área actual que genera (in) satisfacción es la de los combustibles renovables. En todo el mundo se están asignando 184,000 millones de dólares en inversiones públicas de estímulo para promover la energía limpia, con los Estados Unidos en primer lugar (67,000 millones de dólares) seguidos de China (47,000 millones de dólares). Por supuesto, ha habido progresos –la energía eólica satisface el 20% de la demanda de electricidad en Dinamarca y aproximadamente el 15% en España y Portugal, por ejemplo – pero la receta del éxito sigue siendo difícil de alcanzar.

En este sentido, la experiencia de Brasil en la promoción de combustibles renovables, desde principios de los años setenta, está directamente relacionada con las actuales posturas polarizadas sobre la política industrial. Un programa de política industrial de 10 años llamado Pro-álcool  fue crucial en el desarrollo de la industria. Actualmente, Brasil es el productor de combustibles renovables más competitivo del mundo, basado principalmente en el bioetanol. El etanol representa más del 50% de la demanda actual de combustible de vehículos ligeros en el país, y Petrobras, el gigante energético de Brasil y una de las compañías más grandes de América Latina- estima un aumento de esta proporción a más del 80% para el 2020.

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