El retraso de las reformas en Europa

La guerra y sus enormes costos; la caída del dólar; déficits comercial y presupuestal crecientes; las mañas que dañaron a empresas como Enron y WorldCom; el estallamiento de la burbuja de la alta tecnología: el capitalismo al estilo EU está bajo presión. Muchos intelectuales europeos, de izquierda y derecha, piensan que el juego capitalista, como lo juegan los EU, está pasado de moda. Hay una búsqueda activa de nuevos modelos.

Sin embargo, esa búsqueda, con una dura retórica e impulsada por una ola de sentimientos antiestadounidenses, no está basada en hechos. Por supuesto que en los EU abundan las historias de mala conducta corporativa, pero es muy fácil sacar conclusiones generales sobre la supuesta podredumbre de la economía estadounidense a partir de escándalos corporativos individuales.

Si miramos con detenimiento el crecimiento de la productividad (producción por hora de trabajo) en los EU y en Europa veremos que el capitalismo estadounidense sigue tan vigoroso como siempre. Después de haber crecido a una tasa anual de apenas 1.6% desde principios de los setenta, el crecimiento de la productividad en el sector no agrícola se ha acelerado a un promedio del 2.6% en los siete años a partir de 1995 y no da muestras de estar disminuyendo. En 2002, la productividad creció un 4.8%, un resultado extraordinario, ya que la productividad normalmente cae durante las depresiones económicas.

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