Ni ayuda, ni comercio

Para muchos africanos, el impasse actual en las negociaciones de la OMC es una historia vieja y conocida (la familia rica que descuida a sus parientes del campo), sólo que en formato mayor. Los primos pobres envían varias cartas pidiendo ayuda para pagar la escuela y comprar semillas y fertilizantes, y el pariente de la ciudad responde que la ayuda que envió en el pasado fue dilapidada, así es que ahora dice "¡Ponte los zapatos! ¡Usa tus propios ahorros!".

Pero los parientes del campo no tienen zapatos que calzarse, ni monedas que ahorrar. Pueden vender algunas cosas, así es que ahora todos se ponen de acuerdo: comercio, no ayuda. Pero los precios son bajos y los pobres tienen poco que vender... y están atrapados en esta situación hasta que ocurra algo realmente nuevo. La investigación y el desarrollo científicos es una de las pocas maneras que conocemos de generar innovaciones reales para aumentar la productividad de los pueblos pobres, a pesar de un medioambiente desfavorable. Pero en el enfoque "comercio, no ayuda" no hace nada por que los beneficios de la ciencia y la tecnología lleguen a la gente que más los necesita: los pobres del mundo.

En el mundo real de los mercados globales, la "ronda de desarrollo" de las negociaciones de la OMC aún puede recuperarse del quiebre ocurrido en Cancún hace unos meses, y finalmente podría cumplir los beneficios prometidos por la teoría económica: una mayor volumen de comercio, en mejores términos, impulsando más inversiones y una mayor transferencia tecnológica que, a su vez, beneficiarían tanto a los pobres como a los ricos.

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