La desigualdad buena y la mala

MILÁN – El aumento de la desigualdad de ingresos y riqueza en muchos países del mundo ha sido una tendencia a largo plazo durante tres decenios o más, pero desde la crisis financiera de 2008 la atención que se le ha prestado ha sido mucho mayor. Con crecimiento lento, la desigualdad en aumento duele más.

La “antigua” teoría sobre la desigualdad era la de que la redistribución mediante el sistema tributario debilitaba los incentivos y socavaba el crecimiento económico, pero la relación entre desigualdad y crecimiento es mucho más compleja y multidimensional de lo que indica esa disyuntiva. Unos cauces de influencia y mecanismos de retroalimentación múltiples dificultan la formulación de conclusiones.

Por ejemplo, los Estados Unidos y China son actualmente las economías que crecen más rápidamente. Las dos tienen niveles igualmente grandes de desigualdad de ingresos y que van en aumento. Aunque de ello no se debe sacar la conclusión de que ese crecimiento y la desigualdad no están relacionados o bien guardan una correlación positiva, la afirmación rotunda de que la desigualdad es mala para el crecimiento no se ajusta en realidad a los hechos.

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