¿Qué es lo que mantiene retrasado al Brasil?

WASHINGTON, DC – Con frecuencia oímos decir que la economía del Brasil está estancada en la “trampa de la renta media.” Desde la crisis de la deuda del decenio de 1980, este país no ha reactivado la transformación estructural ni el crecimiento de la renta por habitante que había caracterizado los tres decenios anteriores, pero, con una combinación correcta de políticas, podría cambiar su suerte por fin.

La explicación prevaleciente según la cual el Brasil no ha conseguido lograr la categoría de renta alta sitúa a este país en el grupo de las economías de renta media, todas las cuales trasladaron trabajadores no especializados de las profesiones con gran densidad de mano de obra a sectores de manufactura y servicios más modernos. Si bien esos nuevos empleos no requerían un perfeccionamiento de las aptitudes, empleaban mayores niveles de tecnología integrada, importada de países más ricos y adaptada a las condiciones locales. Junto con la urbanización, se intensificó así la productividad total de los factores, lo que propició un crecimiento del PIB mucho mayor de lo que se podría explicar por la ampliación de la mano de obra, del capital y de otros factores de producción, con lo que la economía ascendió hasta el grupo de renta media.

Avanzar hasta la fase siguiente del desarrollo económico es más difícil, como lo refleja el dato de que en 2008 sólo 13 de las 101 economías de renta media de 1960 había alcanzado la categoría de renta alta. Según la opinión predominante, el éxito depende de la capacidad de la economía para seguir aumentando la productividad total de los factores al hacer ascender la cadena de valor de la manufactura, los servicios o la agricultura hasta actividades con mayor valor añadido y que requieren tecnologías más complejas, un capital humano de mayor calidad y activos intangibles como las capacidades organizativas y de diseño.

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