Desarrollo 3.0

BEIJING - Hasta la Revolución Industrial, el mundo era bastante plano en términos de renta per cápita. Pero luego las fortunas comenzaron a divergir rápidamente y unos pocos países occidentales industrializados pronto alcanzaron el dominio mundial en lo político y económico. En los últimos años -incluso antes de que estallara la crisis financiera de 2008- estaba claro que el panorama económico mundial había vuelto a cambiar. Hasta el año 2000, el G-7 representaba alrededor de dos tercios del PIB mundial. Hoy, China y algunos grandes países en desarrollo se han convertido en líderes mundiales del crecimiento.

Sin embargo, a pesar de todo lo que se habla del ascenso de Asia, en las últimas décadas apenas unas cuantas economías del este asiático han logrado realizar la transición de tener bajos a altos ingresos. Más aún, entre 1950 y 2008 solo 28 economías del mundo -y sólo 12 economías no occidentales- fueron capaces de reducir en diez puntos porcentuales o más su brecha de ingreso per cápita con Estados Unidos. Mientras tanto, más de 150 países han quedado atrapados en un estado de ingresos bajos o medianos. Reducir la brecha con los países industrializados de altos ingresos sigue siendo el principal reto del mundo en desarrollo.

En el período post-colonial tras la Segunda Guerra Mundial, el paradigma de desarrollo predominante era una forma de estructuralismo: el objetivo era cambiar la estructura industrial de los países pobres para que se pareciera a la de los países de altos ingresos. Los estructuralistas solían aconsejar a los gobiernos que adoptaran estrategias de sustitución de importaciones, con intervención del sector público para superar las "insuficiencias del mercado". Llamemos a esto "Economía del desarrollo 1.0". Los países que siguieron esta receta disfrutaron de un auge inicial impulsado por las inversiones, seguido de repetidas crisis y estancamiento.

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