Malthus, Marx y el crecimiento moderno

CAMBRIDGE – La promesa de que toda nueva generación gozará de mayor prosperidad que la anterior es un postulado de la sociedad moderna. En general, la mayoría de las economías más avanzadas han cumplido dicha promesa y el nivel de vida de las últimas generaciones ha aumentado, pese a los reveses provocados por guerras y crisis financieras.

También en el mundo en desarrollo la inmensa mayoría de las personas han empezado a experimentar una mejora sostenida del nivel de vida y están concibiendo rápidamente esperanzas similares de crecimiento, pero, ¿podrán hacerlas realidad las generaciones futuras, en particular las de las economías avanzadas? Aunque la respuesta más probable es que sí, los riesgos de deterioro parecen mayores que hace varios decenios.

Hasta ahora, todas las predicciones hechas en la edad moderna de que la suerte de la Humanidad empeoraría, desde Thomas Malthus hasta Karl Marx, han fallado espectacularmente. El progreso tecnológico ha superado los obstáculos al crecimiento económico. La reequilibración política periódica, unas veces pacífica y otras no, ha garantizado que la inmensa mayoría de las personas se haya beneficiado, si bien unas mucho más que otras.

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