Los disparates de la ayuda extranjera

BOMBAY – La enorme brecha entre los países más ricos y los más pobres continúa siendo uno de los mayores dilemas morales de Occidente. También supone uno de los mayores desafíos para la economía del desarrollo. ¿Sabemos realmente cómo ayudar a los países a superar la pobreza?

En su nuevo libro, elocuentemente escrito y profundamente documentado, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality (El gran escape: salud, riqueza y el origen de la desigualdad), Angus Deaton, de la Universidad de Princeton, insta a la cautela. Para quienes se interesan por la pobreza mundial, es indudablemente el libro más importante sobre asistencia para el desarrollo que se ha publicado en largo tiempo.

Deaton sugiere que, demasiado a menudo, la asistencia occidental sirve para mitigar la culpa de los donantes más que para solucionar las dificultades de los receptores. Esto es especialmente cierto cuando la asistencia ingenua sirve para reforzar un statu quo disfuncional. Si bien Deaton apoya ciertas iniciativas, en especial para la provisión de conocimiento y tecnología médica, cuestiona si la gran mayoría de la ayuda pasa la básica y decisiva prueba hipocrática: «lo primero es no hacer daño».

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