La desigualdad e Internet

BERKELEY – La conclusión de que Estados Unidos se ha vuelto inmensamente más desigual en los últimos 35 años es indudable. Desde 1979, el patrón ha sido claro: cuanto más rico es uno, mucho más rico se vuelve. Y si uno es pobre, probablemente lo siga siendo.

Sin embargo, el mismo período también ha sido una era de rápido cambio tecnológico. Estados Unidos está atravesando una tercera revolución industrial, una agitación de la era de la información que podría ser tan crucial como las que la precedieron y que transformaron a la sociedad a través de la introducción del vapor, el hierro, el algodón y la maquinaria, y luego la combustión interna, la electricidad y el acero.

Hoy, casi todos los residentes de un país desarrollado -y pronto la mayoría del resto del mundo- fácilmente pueden comprarse un teléfono inteligente, ganando así un acceso de bajo costo a un universo de conocimiento y entretenimiento humano que, hasta hace una generación, estaba mucho más allá del alcance de todos, excepto de los ricos. ¿Es posible que las mediciones convencionales de desigualdad e ingresos subestimen marcadamente lo bien que lo pasamos?

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