Dean Rohrer

Servicios sin lágrimas

NUEVA YORK – Una famosa afirmación en economía dice que el costo de los servicios (por ejemplo los costos por cuidados de salud y educación) tiende a aumentar en comparación con el costo de los bienes (por ejemplo los costos relacionados a alimentos, combustible y maquinaria). Esta afirmación parece estar correcta: las personas en todo el planeta apenas pueden pagar los costos por cuidados de salud y matriculas estudiantiles que enfrentan en la actualidad, y estos costos parecen aumentar cada año más rápidamente que la inflación en su conjunto. Pero, ahora es posible que ocurra una fuerte caída en los costos de cuidados de salud, educación y otros servicios, gracias a la actual revolución de tecnologías de la información y la comunicación (TIC).

El costo de los servicios comparado con el costo de los bienes depende la productividad. Si los agricultores mejoran notoriamente en el cultivo de los alimentos, y al mismo tiempo los maestros mejoran un poco en la enseñanza que imparten a los niños, el costo de los alimentos tendera a caer comparativamente frente al costo de la educación. Es más, la proporción de la población que participa en agricultura tenderá a disminuir, ya que se necesitarán menos agricultores para alimentar a todo el país.

Este es el patrón a largo plazo que hemos visto: la proporción de la fuerza de trabajo que participa en la producción de bienes ha disminuido con el transcurso del tiempo, mientras que el costo de los bienes ha caído en comparación con el costo de los servicios. En los Estados Unidos, en el año 1950, alrededor del 4% de la población trabajaba en agricultura, el 38% en la industria (incluyendo minería, construcción y manufactura), y 58% en servicios. Hasta el año 2010, las proporciones aproximadamente llegaron al 2%, 17% y 81%, respectivamente. Entretanto, los costos de los cuidados de salud y matrículas de estudios se dispararon, junto con los costos de muchos otros servicios.

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