La desigualdad financiada públicamente

WASHINGTON, DC – Uno de los factores que estimula el dramático aumento de la desigualdad en el mundo y la concentración de la riqueza en la punta de la pirámide del ingreso es la dinámica entre la innovación y los mercados internacionales. En manos de un buen empresario, el valor de un descubrimiento tecnológico puede representar miles de millones de dólares, que responde a protecciones reglamentarias y a la naturaleza de los mercados globales de que "el ganador se queda con todo". Sin embargo, a menudo se ignora el papel de los fondos públicos en la concentración moderna de la riqueza privada.

Como señaló recientemente Dani Rodrik, especialista en economía del desarrollo, gran parte de la inversión básica en nuevas tecnologías en Estados Unidos se hizo con fondos públicos. El financiamiento puede ser directo, o mediante instituciones como el Departamento de Defensa o los Institutos Nacionales de Salud (NIH, por sus siglas en inglés); o indirecta, en la forma de exenciones fiscales, prácticas de contratación pública y subsidios a laboratorios académicos o centros de investigación.

Cuando una vía de investigación se agota, como sucede en muchas ocasiones, los costos recaen en el sector público. Pero para aquellas investigaciones que son fructíferas, la situación resulta muy diferente. Una vez creada una nueva tecnología, los empresarios privados, con la ayuda de capital de riesgo, la adaptan de acuerdo a la demanda de los mercados mundiales, crean monopolios de largo plazo que les permiten obtener enormes ganancias; mientras que los beneficios revertidos en el Estado, a pesar de ser el principal responsable del desarrollo de estas tecnologías, son escasos o nulos.

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