Cómo surgen las superpotencias económicas

Los disturbios anti-Japón a lo largo de China han elevado las tensiones en Asia. En efecto, la chinamanía, una mezcla de esperanzas pero sobre todo de temores está recorriendo el mundo debido al rápido crecimiento económico de China. ¿ Debe el mundo realmente estar más temeroso que esperanzado?

Los estadounidenses temen que sus mercados se inunden con los productos chinos. México, Brasil, Europa Central, Indonesia, y hasta Sri Lanka están preocupados por la competencia de la mano de obra barata. Los europeos pueden estar más contentos, con la creencia de que el mercado chino no sólo se abrirá a sus productos de ingeniería y a las herramientas y maquinaria que abastecerán al nuevo taller del mundo, sino también a los productos de lujo y hasta al turismo que demanda una nueva y pudiente clase media china. Todos sienten que se está dando un cambio sísmico.

Tales crecimientos industriales rápidos son poco frecuentes pero no inauditos. Las analogías más interesantes son la de Alemania, en el siglo XIX, y la de Japón en el siglo XX. Antes de esas épocas, Inglaterra era el prodigio de Europa. Lo que había sido una isla con mal clima en las costas del continente surgió como la principal economía del mundo, cuyos productos, desde los textiles hasta los equipos para ferrocarriles llegaron a dominar los mercados mundiales. Inglaterra fue pionera de la industrialización y quedó profundamente conmocionada por el atrevimiento de los recién llegados que pronto ingresaron a la misma etapa.

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