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Una buena economía para China

NUEVA YORK – Las décadas de arduo crecimiento junto con la crisis financiera del año 2008 han provocado un cambio sísmico en el pensamiento económico en gran parte del mundo. Se habla de desplazar recursos desde el ámbito de la inversión hacia el del consumo, de la industria pesada hacia los “servicios”, y del sector privado al sector público. Sin embargo, lo que me llama la atención es que estos argumentos se centran sólo en la mejora de la mezcla de los productos dentro de una economía, sin prestar atención a la mano de obra.

Esto es obvio en el caso de China, ahora la mayor economía del mundo según algunas mediciones. Sin duda, China debe rechazar nuevas inversiones en gigantescas fábricas de acero y edificios de apartamentos vacíos. De manera simultánea, sin embargo, debe centrarse en los trabajadores y elevar la vivencia en el trabajo que ellos tienen, aspecto que los economistas desde Adam Smith a Karl Marx y Alfred Marshall colocaron en el centro de sus preocupaciones.

No todo el mundo está de acuerdo. Cuando se trata de vivencias en el trabajo, muchos – sobre todo en Europa continental – creen que la asignación óptima (lo que implica tener instituciones que funcionen bien), en el caso que esté acompañada de inversión en educación, es todo lo que se necesita. Al fin y al cabo, los italianos, alemanes, franceses trabajan duro y bien durante un número relativamente pequeño de horas, lo que resulta en una alta productividad y altos salarios por hora – más altos que en Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido.

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