Paul Lachine

¿Cuánto es suficiente?

LONDRES – La recesión económica ha producido una explosión de irritación popular  contra la “avaricia” de los banqueros y sus primas “obscenas”, que ha ido acompañada de la crítica más amplia al “desarrollismo”: la persecución del desarrollo económico o la acumulación de riqueza a toda costa, independientemente del daño que pueda causar al medio ambiente de la Tierra o a valores compartidos.

John Maynard Keynes abordó esa cuestión en 1930 en su breve ensayo “Posibilidades económicas para nuestros nietos”. Keynes predijo que al cabo de 100 años –es decir, en 2030–, el crecimiento en el mundo desarrollado se habría detenido de hecho, porque la gente tendría “suficiente” para llevar una “buena vida”. Las horas de trabajo remunerado se reducirían a tres al día: una semana de quince horas. Los seres humanos serían más como los “lirios del valle que ni trabajan ni hilan”.

La predicción de Keynes se basaba en la suposición de que, con un dos por ciento de aumento anual del capital, un uno por ciento de aumento de la productividad y una población estable, el nivel de vida medio se multiplicaría por ocho por término medio, lo que nos permite calcular cuánto pensaba Keynes que era “suficiente”. El PIB por habitante en el Reino Unido al final del decenio de 1920 (antes del desplome de 1929) era 5.200 libras (8.700 dólares), aproximadamente, en valor actual. De modo que calculó que un PIB por habitante de 40.000 libras (66.000 dólares), aproximadamente, sería “suficiente” para que los seres humanos centraran su atención en cosas más agradables.

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