Lecciones del Norte

Pocos debates sobre la economía serían necesarios, si el mundo dedicara más tiempo a examinar lo que funciona y lo que no. Casi en todas partes, ha habido un enconado debate sobre cómo combinar las fuerzas del mercado y la seguridad social. La izquierda pide un aumento de la protección social; la derecha dice que así se debilitaría el crecimiento económico y los déficit fiscales serían mayores.

Pero se puede hacer avanzar ese debate examinando las logradas economías de Dinamarca, Finlandia, Islandia, Noruega, los Países Bajos y Suecia. Si bien ninguna experiencia regional es directamente transferible, los países nórdicos han combinado con éxito la asistencia social con niveles elevados de renta, crecimiento económico sólido y estabilidad macroeconómica. También han logrado niveles elevados de gestión idónea de los asuntos públicos.

Desde luego, también hay diferencias entre los Estados nórdicos, dado que el gasto mayor en asistencia social corresponde a Dinamarca, Noruega, los Países Bajos y Suecia y es un poco inferior en Finlandia e Islandia. Aun así, mientras que en los Estados Unidos los impuestos en el nivel nacional representan el 20 por ciento, aproximadamente, del PIB, en los países nórdicos el porcentaje asciende a más del 30 por ciento.

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