La trampa de la competitividad de Europa

LONDRES - Una idea errónea de lo que impulsa el crecimiento económico se ha convertido en la amenaza más grave para la recuperación en Europa. Los políticos europeos están obsesionados con la "competitividad" nacional y parecen pensar realmente que la prosperidad es sinónimo de superávits comerciales. Esto explica en gran medida por qué se cita habitualmente a Alemania como ejemplo de una economía sólida y "competitiva".

Sin embargo, el crecimiento económico, incluso en las economías tradicionalmente orientadas a la exportación, se ve impulsado por el aumento de la productividad, no por la capacidad de capturar una parte creciente de los mercados mundiales. Si bien es evidente que las importaciones deben ser financiadas por las exportaciones, el énfasis en la competitividad del comercio está desviando la atención del problema subyacente de Europa: el muy débil crecimiento de la productividad. Y esto es un problema tan serio en las economías con superávits comerciales como en las deficitarias.

La idea de que el crecimiento económico está determinado por una batalla por la cuota de mercado mundial de productos manufacturados es fácil de entender para los políticos y de comunicar a sus electores. Las economías con superávits externos son vistas como "competitivas", independientemente de su productividad o su crecimiento. La balanza comercial se ve como el "resultado final" de un país, como si los países fueran empresas. De hecho, tienen poco en común (la balanza comercial es simplemente la diferencia entre el ahorro interno y la inversión o, en términos más generales, entre el gasto agregado y la producción), pero hablar de Deutschland AG o UK plc es conceptualmente atractivo y seduce con facilidad.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now