Wall Street New York City Sergi Reboredo/ZumaPress

¿Se empobrecerán los estadounidenses?

CAMBRIDGE – Robert Gordon, de la Northwestern University, ha iniciado un importante y animado debate sobre la futura tasa de crecimiento económico de Estados Unidos. Aunque su libro, The Rise and Fall of American Growth no se publicará hasta enero de 2016, su tesis ha recibido atención en The Economist y Foreign Affairs. Claramente, hay que tomar en serio la sombría evaluación que Gordon propone para las perspectivas del crecimiento estadounidense. Pero, ¿es correcta?

Gordon sostiene que los grandes cambios tecnológicos que elevaron el nivel de vida en el pasado son mucho más importantes que cualquier cosa que pueda ocurrir en el futuro. Señala ejemplos como la fontanería o plomería, los automóviles, la electricidad, los teléfonos y la calefacción central, y sostiene que todos fueron mucho más importantes para el nivel de vida que innovaciones recientes como la Internet y los teléfonos móviles.

Coincido con Gordon en que preferiría renunciar a mi teléfono móvil, e incluso a Internet, a quedarme sin fontanería y electricidad. Pero eso solo quiere decir que somos afortunados por vivir en la actualidad y no hace un siglo (e incluso más aún por no vivir hace dos siglos o en la Edad Media). Que estas grandes innovaciones hayan sucedido en el pasado no es motivo para ser pesimistas sobre el futuro.

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