Margaret Scott

As máscaras do comércio livre

CAMBRIDGE - Fui convidado, recentemente, por dois colegas de Harvard a participar no seu curso sobre a globalização. “Tenho que te dizer”, avisou-me um deles de antemão, “este grupo é muito pró-globalização”. No primeiro encontro, quando ele perguntou aos alunos quantos deles preferiam o comércio livre às restrições à importação, a resposta foi mais de 90%. E isso foi antes de os estudantes terem sido instruídos sobre as maravilhas da vantagem comparativa!

Sabemos que quando a mesma pergunta é feita em pesquisas reais com amostras representativas - não apenas com estudantes de Harvard -, o resultado é bem diferente. Nos Estados Unidos, as respostas a favor das restrições ao comércio têm uma margem de dois-para-um. Mas a resposta dos estudantes de Harvard não foi totalmente surpreendente. As pessoas altamente qualificadas e com níveis de educação mais elevados tendem a ser consideravelmente mais a favor do comércio livre do que os operários. Talvez os estudantes de Harvard estivessem simplesmente a votar com o pensamento nas próprias (futuras) carteiras.

Ou talvez eles não entendam como funciona realmente o comércio. Afinal de contas, quando me encontrei com eles, coloquei a mesma pergunta, sob forma diferente, enfatizando os prováveis efeitos distributivos do comércio. Desta vez, o consenso do comércio livre evaporou - mais depressa do que eu esperava.

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