Paul Lachine

Desarrollo a la inversa

CAMBRIDGE – No hace falta pasar mucho tiempo en países en desarrollo para observar que sus economías son una mezcolanza, pues combinan lo productivo con lo improductivo, el primer mundo con el tercer mundo. En los sectores modernos y más productivos de su economía, la productividad (aun siendo habitualmente lenta) está más próxima a lo que observamos en los países avanzados.

En realidad, ese “dualismo” es uno de los conceptos más antiguos y fundamentales del desarrollo económico, formulado por primera vez en el decenio de 1950 por el economista holandés J.H. Boeke, quien se inspiró en sus experiencias en Indonesia. Boeke consideraba que había una separación absoluta entre el estilo capitalista moderno de organización económica que predominaba en Occidente y el modo precapitalista y tradicional que predominaba en las entonces llamadas “zonas subdesarrolladas”. Aunque los procedimientos industriales modernos habían entrado en las sociedades subdesarrolladas, no le parecía probable que pudieran penetrar profundamente y transformar totalmente semejantes sociedades.

Cuando los economistas contemporáneos piensan en el dualismo económico, recuerdan primordialmente al premio Nobel Sir W. Arthur Lewis, quien dio la vuelta a la idea de Boeke, al sostener que la migración laboral de la agricultura tradicional a las actividades industriales modernas es el motor del desarrollo económico. De hecho, para Lewis la coexistencia de lo tradicional junto a lo moderno es lo que hace posible el desarrollo.

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