¿Tiene futuro el capitalismo?

NEW YORK – A medida que el año 2008 llega a su fin, muchos europeos han comenzado a hablar del fin del capitalismo. Olvidan que el capitalismo en Europa ya dio paso una vez –a menudo de manera violenta- al estatismo y al corporativismo en los años 30, para resucitar sólo en algunos de sus países en los años 80.

Sin embargo, en vista de la crisis financiera actual –la última de una serie de crisis que ha visto el capitalismo- es justo preguntar si en los países donde existe, sus beneficios, si los tiene, superan sus costes. Aunque Marx confesó una considerable admiración por el capitalismo, hoy se sugiere que su virtud -el espíritu de emprendimiento- se puede inocular en otro tipo de sistema que no tenga la destructividad a la que predispone el capitalismo.

La admiración inicial que recibió el capitalismo fue por ser "progresista", en palabras de Marx. Cuando la productividad aumentaba, no volvía a caer. De hecho, con el surgimiento, pieza a pieza, del capitalismo financiero, alrededor de 1820, la productividad despegó en en un país europeo tras otro -Gran Bretaña, Bélgica, Francia, Alemania y Austria-. Se aceleró aún más en los Estados Unidos, donde había comenzado a aumentar antes incluso. Los pocos datos históricos disponibles para el análisis sugieren que, alrededor de 1820, más o menos, los salarios (ajustados hacia abajo según los brotes de inflación de las décadas anteriores y hacia arriba según la deflación de las décadas subsiguientes) comenzaron a aumentar de modo similar.

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