Los populistas a veces tienen razón

A los países en desarrollo con frecuencia se les sugiere (o se les ordena) llevar a cabo reformas recomendadas por "expertos" llamados "tecnócratas" y que suelen tener el respaldo del FMI. A la oposición a las reformas que estos proponen generalmente se le tacha de "populista". A los países que no adoptan esas reformas se les acusa de pusilánimes o carentes de voluntad política y pronto sufren las consecuencias: tasas de interés más elevadas al pedir préstamos del extranjero.

Pero veamos de cerca algunas de esas propuestas "tecnócratas": muchas están basadas con más frecuencia en la ideología que en la ciencia económica. Por supuesto, los tecnócratas pueden hacer que una planta de electricidad funcione mejor. El objetivo es sencillo: producir electricidad al menor precio posible. Eso es principalmente un asunto de ingeniería, no de política. Las políticas económicas no suelen ser tecnócratas en este sentido. Tienen que ver con opciones: algunas conducen a mayor inflación pero menor desempleo; algunas ayudan a los inversionistas, y otras a los trabajadores.

Los economistas llaman "Pareto eficientes" a las políticas donde nadie puede mejorar sin que alguien empeore. Si una política es mejor que todas las otras para todos, es decir, no tiene alternativas Pareto eficientes, se le llama "Pareto dominante". Si las opciones entre las políticas fueran exclusivamente paretianas, es decir, si nadie empeorara al elegir una política en lugar de otra, serían, en efecto, puramente técnicas. Pero en la realidad, son pocas las opciones de política paretianas. Más bien, sucede que algunas políticas son mejores para ciertos grupos, pero peores para otros. Políticas distintas benefician y perjudican a grupos distintios.

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