Imágenes de escasez

NEW HAVEN – ¿Puede ser que la imagen que todos hemos visto de la cubierta de hielo de Groenlandia resquebrajándose y cayendo al océano debido al calentamiento global sea de alguna manera –indirecta y psicológica- responsable de los altos precios del petróleo y otros productos básicos?

La explicación usual de la escasez y los altos precios de hoy se centra en el crecimiento explosivo en los países emergentes, China e India en particular, cuya demanda de recursos escasos es "insaciable". Sin embargo, la psicología también importa en los mercados especulativos, y quizás la imagen del hielo de Groenlandia desapareciendo haga parecer muy posible que todo lo demás -tierras, agua, incluso el aire fresco- se esté agotando también.

Consideremos un estudio de caso, el último ciclo generalizado de auge y caída de los precios de los productos básicos, que hizo que la mayoría de ellos aumentara (más o menos) desde algún punto de los años 60 hasta los 80, y luego cayeran en general hasta mediados de los 90. Quizás las imágenes importan tanto como la sustancia para explicar ese fenómeno.

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