La pesadilla de la desigualdad

ABU DHABI – “Los pobres no pueden dormir porque tienen hambre”, es la famosa cita del economista nigeriano Sam Aluko, dicha en 1999, “y los ricos no pueden dormir porque los pobres están despiertos y con hambre”. A todos nos afectan las profundas desigualdades de los ingresos y la riqueza, ya que el sistema económico del que depende nuestra prosperidad no puede seguir enriqueciendo a unos mientras empobrece a otros.

En tiempos difíciles, los pobres pierden fe en sus líderes y en el sistema económico, y en tiempos de vacas gordas son demasiado pocos los que disfrutan de los beneficios. El coeficiente GINI, un indicador de la desigualdad económica, se ha ido elevando en los países en desarrollo y en los desarrollados, como Estados Unidos. En Europa ha crecido la desigualdad debido al rápido aumento del desempleo, especialmente entre los jóvenes. Algunos han reaccionado con manifestaciones callejeras, otros han respaldado a partidos xenófobos de extrema derecha; muchos más observan en silencio, cada vez más enfadados y resentidos con los políticos y el sistema que representan.

El problema se aprecia crudamente en las megaciudades del mundo, que representan cerca del 80% del PIB global. Pero hasta en las más desarrolladas las disparidades pueden saltar a la vista. Por ejemplo, si se viaja en el metro de Londres apenas 6 millas (o 14 paradas) hacia el este, desde el centro del gobierno en Westminster hasta Canning Town, la esperanza de vida de los habitantes va reduciéndose seis meses en cada estación.

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