Cuando los economistas nos hablan de amor

LONDRES – La novena conferencia ministerial de la Organización Mundial del Comercio, celebrada en diciembre en Bali, nos dejó un modesto paquete de medidas de estímulo al comercio internacional; en un plano más general, quedó demostrado el valor del multilateralismo de la OMC al evitarse un masivo incremento de las barreras comerciales, a diferencia de lo que sucedió en 1929‑1930, cuando el proteccionismo contribuyó a profundizar y extender la Gran Depresión. Pero sigue en pie la gran pregunta: ¿es buena la globalización? Y si lo es, ¿para quiénes?

La esencia de la globalización (el libre comercio) se basa en la teoría de las ventajas comparativas, según la cual el comercio internacional siempre es provechoso, incluso para un país que fuera capaz de producir cada uno de los bienes a menor costo (en términos de mano de obra y recursos) que todos los demás países.

El ejemplo de manual, según lo plantea el premio Nobel Paul Samuelson, es este: hay un pueblo donde el mejor abogado es también el mejor mecanógrafo. Supongamos ahora que es mejor como abogado que como mecanógrafo. Entonces conviene que se dedique exclusivamente al derecho y deje la mecanografía para su secretaria; así, los dos ganarán más dinero.

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