La reforma de las reformas económicas

Durante los últimos quince años, los economistas han tenido tal vez más influencia que en cualquier otro momento de la historia. Las políticas de planificación central, de dirigisme y de sustitución de importaciones que muchos países adoptaron después de obtener su independencia en los años cincuenta y sesenta, podrían catalogarse como las ideas de comunistas, socialistas fabianos y nacionalistas, no de economistas calificados. Las políticas de desregulación, privatización y liberalización comercial (el llamado Consenso de Washington) que los países implementaron en los años ochenta, supuestamente señalaron el triunfo de los economistas profesionales sobre los políticos populistas.

Lo paradójico es que esa no fue una victoria para la economía. En efecto, las últimas dos décadas han sido funestas para la "ciencia funesta". Con pocas excepciones, el desempeño de los países donde la tecnocracia económica que estudió en los EU llegó al poder ha sido peor que antes de los años ochenta.

Las economías estancadas de Latinoamérica, que adoptaron el Consenso de Washington más que nadie, son la prueba principal. Los mayores éxitos de desarrollo en los últimos años se han dado en lugares como China y Vietnam, donde las ideas económicas occidentales, en la medida en que siquiera se les tomó en cuenta, perdieron ante políticos con una orientación más pragmática.

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