¿Es la globalización la única vía hacia el desarrollo?

Recientement, un funcionario de la Tesorería de Estados Unidos “exhortó al gobierno de México para que aumentara los esfuerzos encaminados a reducir los delitos violentos, sosteniendo que la alta tasa de criminalidad del país podría ahuyentar a los inversionistas extranjeros.“ Fue tal vez un comentario improvisado, pero sirve para ilustrar hasta qué grado el comercio y la inversión extranjera se consideran patrones para evaluar a los países en desarrollo. De hecho, las estrategias de desarrollo se están convirtiendo en rehenes de esta idea de integración a la economía mundial.

Esta ecuación es muy simplista. Se quiere presentar a la apertura comercial como la fuerza más potente para el crecimiento económico; sin embargo, la integración a la economía mundial conlleva prerrequisitos institucionales cuyo costo no es bajo. A un país en desarrollo le costaría 150 millones de dólares –suma equivalente al presupuesto anual para el desarrollo de muchos países pobres—llevar a cabo las reformas que se requieren bajo los acuerdos de la OMC.

Aunque los países se benefician con el fortalecimiento de sus instituciones en las áreas relevantes, la realidad, de acuerdo con Michael Finger, quien calculó estas cifras, es que “las exigencias de la OMC revelan que hay poca conciencia de los problemas del desarrollo”. La integración también tiene otros requisitos institucionales más sutiles. La apertura implica una mayor exposición a riesgos externos y, por lo tanto, una mayor demanda de seguridad social. Así, en el mundo real la apertura no es sólo cuestión de eliminar las barreras. Es necesario asegurar que se cumple con las reglas internacionales de propiedad para proteger a las fuentes de debilidad internas que quedan al descubierto.

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