China va para adelante

BEIJING – El ingreso per capita de China, de 3.800 dólares, ya superó el umbral para un país de ingresos medios. Pero, aún mientras economistas y estrategas extrapolan afanosamente el futuro sendero de crecimiento de China para predecir cuándo afectará a Estados Unidos, el clima dentro de China se volvió sombrío y apagado en 2010. De hecho, el premier Wen Jiabao considera que el crecimiento de China es “inestable, desequilibrado, falto de coordinación y en definitiva insostenible”.

El crecimiento económico, por supuesto, nunca fue lineal en ningún país. A lo largo de la historia, existen innumerables ejemplos de países de ingresos medios que quedaron atascados en esa categoría por décadas y/o, llegado el caso, retrocedieron a la condición de ingresos bajos. El economista galardonado con el premio Nobel Michael Spence señaló que, después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, sólo un puñado de países pudo crecer a un nivel plenamente industrializado de desarrollo.

El progreso de China en las últimas tres décadas es una variación exitosa del modelo de crecimiento del este asiático que surge de las condiciones iniciales legadas por una economía socialista planificada. Ese modelo de crecimiento ya casi agotó su potencial. De manera que China llegó a una coyuntura crucial: sin un ajuste estructural doloroso, su momento de crecimiento económico se puede perder de repente.

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