Subcontratación y desempleo

La palabra de moda en el debate sobre la globalización actualmente es subcontratación. De pronto los estadounidenses -campeones eternos de la globalización-parecen estar preocupados por los efectos adversos que tiene sobre su economía. A quienes la defienden apasionadamente, por supuesto, no les preocupa la pérdida de empleos. Subrayan que la subcontratación reduce costos -de la misma forma en que el cambio tecnológico mejora la productividad, con lo que aumentan las ganancias-y lo que es bueno para las ganancias tiene que ser bueno para la economía estadounidense.

Sostienen que las leyes de la economía garantizan que a largo plazo habrá empleos para todos, siempre y cuando el gobierno no interfiera con los procesos del mercado fijando salarios mínimos y promoviendo la seguridad del empleo, y mientras los sindicatos no impulsen los salarios al alza excesivamente. En los mercados competitivos, la ley de la oferta y la demanda garantiza que con el tiempo, a la larga, la demanda de empleo será igual a la oferta y no habrá desempleo. Pero como Keynes afirmó mordazmente, a la larga todos estaremos muertos.

Pero quienes descartan sumariamente la pérdida de empleos pierden de vista un punto clave: la economía de Estados Unidos no está teniendo un buen desempeño. Además de los déficits comercial y presupuestal, hay un déficit de empleos. A lo largo de los últimos tres años y medio, la economía debió haber creado entre 4 y 6 millones de empleos para dar trabajo a quienes entran por primera vez al mercado laboral. De hecho, se han perdido más de 2 millones de empleos (por primera vez desde la presidencia de Herbert Hoover al principio de la Gran Depresión ha habido una pérdida neta de empleos en la economía de los EU durante el curso de una administración presidencial completa).

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