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Una lógica progresista para el comercio internacional

CAMBRIDGE – El sistema de comercio internacional nunca fue muy bien visto en Estados Unidos. Ni la Organización Mundial del Comercio ni los numerosos tratados comerciales regionales, como el Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (NAFTA) y el Acuerdo Transpacífico (ATP), han tenido mucho apoyo de la opinión pública. Pero la oposición, aunque amplia, era difusa.

La diferencia hoy es que el comercio internacional está en el centro del debate político. Dos precandidatos a la presidencia de los Estados Unidos, Bernie Sanders y Donald Trump, han hecho de la oposición a esos acuerdos un elemento fundamental de sus campañas. Y a juzgar por el tono de los otros precandidatos, defender la globalización en el clima político actual equivale a un suicidio electoral.

Tal vez la retórica populista en relación con el tema sea excesiva, pero ya pocos niegan que el malestar subyacente es real. La globalización no benefició a todos por igual. El impacto de las importaciones baratas venidas de China y otros países arruinó a muchas familias de clase trabajadora, mientras se beneficiaban los financistas y los profesionales capacitados que pueden aprovechar el acceso a mercados ampliados. Si bien la globalización no fue el único factor (ni el más importante) del aumento de desigualdad en las economías avanzadas, su contribución es innegable.

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