¿Cómo vender el antiproteccionismo?

ESTOCOLMO – La inminente recesión global ha puesto al frente de la política económica la intervención de los gobiernos para rescatar empresas a punto de la quiebra. En un discurso pronunciado justo antes de la reciente cumbre del G-20, el Primer Ministro británico, Gordon Brown, desaconsejó al Presidente electo Barack Obama el rescate de los Tres Grandes fabricantes estadounidenses de automóviles en apuros con el argumento de que la competencia mundial ha hecho que su debilitamiento sea irreversible. Por lo tanto, un rescate únicamente retrasaría lo inevitable a un costo enorme para los contribuyentes.

Siempre es difícil hacer que ese tipo de consejos sean convincentes –especialmente ante las peores perspectivas económicas en 70 años. Después de todo, la idea generalizada es que la competencia global hace que los empleos se desplacen a los países con mano de obra barata y presiona a la baja los salarios en todas partes. A medida que la globalización intensifica y acelera el cambio económico, afecta las vidas de los ciudadanos comunes y corrientes como nunca antes y alimenta el temor popular. Por lo tanto, no sorprende que el Presidente francés, Nicolás Sarkozy, haya cedido ante el encanto del proteccionismo durante la campaña electoral del año pasado, al igual que los dos candidatos presidenciales de los Estados Unidos.

Pero el proteccionismo no tiene por qué ser la única alternativa al temor de la competencia global. En los países escandinavos, al igual que en los Estados Unidos, la competencia externa se intensificó fuertemente durante la última década. China y la India adquirieron un poder económico considerable y los Estados ex comunistas vecinos cercanos de Europa que habían estado aislados se integraron rápidamente a la economía europea.

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