La Pobreza, el Presupuesto Social y los Programas del FMI: Mito vs. Realidad

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Un argumento que ha sido utilizado en repetidas ocasiones es que el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI) es responsable del incremento de la pobreza en los países en desarrollo, particularmente forzándolos a reducir los gastos para ciertos programas como los de salud y los de educación. Pero las protestas violentas y la repetición no hacen tal argumento verdadero. En el mejor de los casos, esas acusaciones son anticuadas; en el peor, son una mera plataforma ideológica.

Las estadísticas son, sin duda, claras: en 66 países en los que se aplicaron programas del FMI entre 1985 y 1998, el gasto per cápita en salud y en educación se incrementó más de 2% anualmente después de la inflación. Estas cifras muestran cómo el FMI enfatiza la importancia que tiene mantener los gastos en salud y en educación cuando se trata de países que enfrentan problemas presupuestales. El Fondo insiste en que es posible crear ahorros reduciendo los gastos no productivos, como prespuestos excesivos para las fuerzas armadas, subsidios para sectores que ya son estables y prácticas administrativas ineficaces. Es verdad que el presupuesto para el sector militar en los 41 países de los que el FMI tiene información se redujo casi 1% del Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) entre 1993 y 1997.

Entre los países en los que se aplican programas del FMI, es en los de menor ingreso en los que se han aumentado en mayor medida los gastos para salud y para educación. Esa diferencia será aún más evidente cuando se incremente la reducción de deuda bajo la Iniciativa para Países Pobres Altamente Endeudados, puesto que una de las condiciones principales para recibir este apoyo es que el dinero ahorrado se utilice para combatir la pobreza.

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