Urban street in Europe

Para superar los dos problemas del crecimiento en Europa

MÚNICH – Cuando la recuperación económica empieza por fin a afianzarse en Europa, el imperativo para las autoridades es el de velar por que el crecimiento se mantenga durante mucho tiempo futuro. Los estímulos fiscal y monetario pueden haber sido apropiados en el punto máximo de la crisis, pero poco servirán para abordar la mayor amenaza a las perspectivas a largo plazo del continente: la constituida por una demografía débil y una inversión escasa.

Aun suponiendo que haya una afluencia constante de inmigrantes, las fuerzas laborales combinadas de los 28 países de la Unión Europea experimentarán una disminución de entre doce y dieciséis millones de personas a lo largo de los quince próximos años,  según las proyecciones de la OECD y de la European Commission. Un aumento pronunciado del número de inmigrantes podría mejorar la situación, pero la inmigración no es por sí sola una solución suficiente para los problemas a largo plazo de la economía de la UE.

La única esperanza de crecimiento sostenido en Europa es el aumento de la productividad, de modo que su fuerza laboral en disminución produzca un mayor valor. Lo malo es que el continente lleva muchos años sin tener aumentos importantes de la productividad. En la Europa occidental, la productividad laboral (la producción por hora trabajada) lleva decenios desacelerándose. En el decenio de 1960, aumentó con una sólida tasa del cuatro por ciento anual, antes de aminorarse hasta el dos por ciento en el decenio de 1980 y caer por debajo del uno por ciento hacia el final del siglo. Actualmente avanza tan sólo un 0,5 por ciento, aproximadamente, al año. Entretanto, la productividad total de los factores, que tiene en cuenta la innovación tecnológica, ha estado estancada.

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