Pobreza vs. Crecimiento

El debate entre gobiernos, economistas y Organizaciones No Gubernamentales acerca de qué tanto se benefician los pobres del mundo con el crecimiento económico parece no tener final. El ańo pasado The Economist declaró que "el crecimiento en verdad ayuda a los pobres: de hecho, incrementa sus ingresos aproximadamente tanto como incrementa los ingresos de todos los demás". Sin embargo, en una carta publicada poco después en la misma revista, Justin Forsyth of Oxfam aseguraba que "los actuales patrones de crecimiento y de globalización están incrementando las diferencias en los ingresos y por lo tanto están actuando como obstáculos de la reducción de la pobreza".

żPosiciones irreconciliables? No necesariamente, pues ambas partes de este debate están hablando de cosas distintas en diversos renglones. Un lado puede estar hablando acerca de la pobreza absoluta, el otro acerca de la pobreza relativa. Además, las investigaciones promedio muestran grandes diferencias: en algunos países los pobres se pueden beneficiar del crecimiento económico, en otros están demasiado limitados como para aprovecharlo. En pocas palabras, ambas posturas tienen algo de verdad. El panorama completo, sin embargo, es más complicado que cualquiera de los dos puntos de vista.

Nuevos resultados sobre los ańos 90 confirman estudios anteriores, mostrando que hay poca evidencia, o ninguna, de que el crecimiento económico esté asociado con incrementos en la desigualdad de los ingresos, de acuerdo a la forma de medición de las encuestas nacionales a nivel hogares. Este descubrimiento es importante, puesto que si la porción de ingreso nacional que reciben los pobres no se reduce con el crecimiento económico, los pobres ganarán en términos absolutos; el crecimiento reducirá la pobreza y la contracción la aumentará.

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