Global free trade shipping Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images

Demasiado tarde para compensar a los perdedores del libre comercio

CAMBRIDGE – Últimamente, parece haber surgido un consenso en las élites empresariales y políticas del mundo respecto de cómo encarar la reacción antiglobalizadora que populistas como Donald Trump han sabido explotar tan bien. Afirmar confiadamente que la globalización beneficia a todos es ya cosa del pasado; ahora las élites admiten que la globalización genera ganadores y perdedores. Pero la respuesta correcta no es detenerla o revertirla, sino compensar a los segundos.

Nouriel Roubini ha expresado en pocas palabras el nuevo consenso: sostiene que “la reacción contra la globalización (…) puede ser contenida y gestionada a través de políticas que compensen a los trabajadores por sus daños y costos colaterales. Sólo mediante la promulgación de dichas políticas, los perdedores de la globalización empezarán a pensar que, con el transcurso del tiempo, ellos también podrán unirse a las filas de los ganadores”.

Este argumento parece sumamente razonable, en sentido tanto económico cuanto político. Hace mucho que los economistas saben que la liberalización del comercio internacional genera redistribución de ingresos y pérdidas absolutas para alguna gente, aunque mejore el desempeño económico general del país en cuestión. De modo que la única forma en que los tratados de libre comercio pueden mejorar inequívocamente el bienestar nacional es si los ganadores compensan a los perdedores. Esto también asegura el apoyo de más votantes al libre comercio, así que tiene sentido políticamente.

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