Una cura para Francia

PARÍS – Hoy día, casi todo el mundo ve a Francia como un país que fue incapaz de asumir la globalización o modernizar su modelo económico y social. Incluso sus ciudadanos, con el correr de las últimas décadas, se han vuelto más pesimistas que nunca acerca del futuro de su país. ¿Podrán los franceses hallar una salida, vencer el desánimo imperante y recrear la prosperidad?

Para hacerlo, lo primero que necesitarán es un diagnóstico lúcido. La economía de Francia hoy está peor que la de otros países que hace 25 años estaban en un nivel de desarrollo similar. La diferencia no es tanta (seis puntos porcentuales de PIB per cápita), pero la tendencia es lo bastante preocupante como para demandar correcciones. Además, el desempleo se mantiene en niveles vergonzosamente altos. Y aunque Francia está bien ubicada en indicadores sociales relacionados con la atención de la salud, la desigualdad de ingresos y la prevención de la pobreza, el precio de su desempeño en esta materia fue un aumento sostenido del gasto y la deuda del sector público.

La razón para este estado de cosas no es que a la economía de Francia le falte potencial. Claro que tiene algunas debilidades, como la relativa escasez de empresas medianas, un estilo confrontativo en las relaciones laborales y las ineficiencias del sector público, por nombrar algunas falencias importantes. Pero Francia también tiene fortalezas dignas de destacarse: en promedio, su población en edad de trabajar está mucho mejor preparada que hace un cuarto de siglo; es más joven que en la mayoría de los países vecinos; alberga más empresas internacionales líderes que Alemania o el Reino Unido; y cuenta con una infraestructura sobresaliente. Sumando el debe y el haber, no debería haber motivos para el desánimo.

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