Escapar de la trampa de la pobreza

La eliminación de la pobreza debe seguir ocupando el primer puesto en los programas políticos de América Latina y el Caribe, donde la desigualdad es mayor que en ninguna otra región y una de cada cinco personas sobrevive con poco más de dos dólares al día (calculados con la paridad en el poder adquisitivo y el tipo de cambio de 1993).

La pobreza es un fenómeno intrínsecamente dinámico. Los pobres están encerrados en una trampa de bajo nivel de activos (o capacidad). Por eso, las medidas en pro de la reducción de la pobreza deben ir encaminadas a brindar incentivos que alienten a los pobres a adquirir activos y capacidades que les permitan escapar de la pobreza en el futuro.

Naturalmente, resulta imposible hacer incursiones importantes contra la pobreza sin crear un crecimiento económico persistente, pero, si nos basamos en los resultados económicos del continente durante los quince últimos años, no parece probable que el crecimiento por sí solo reduzca la pobreza en más del 25 por ciento en los diez próximos años. Aun cuando los dirigentes políticos lograran crear unas circunstancias que retribuyeran mejor la inversión y, por tanto, fomentaran un crecimiento más rápido, no se resolverían los males de América Latina. El alto nivel de desigualdad en los ingresos requiere medidas específicas de reducción de la pobreza.

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