La muerte del consenso sobre la globalización

CAMBRIDGE –La economía mundial ya ha visto una vez el colapso de la globalización. La era del patrón oro, con su libre movilidad del capital y comercio abierto, llegó a un abrupto fin en 1914 y no se pudo resucitar tras la Primera Guerra Mundial. ¿Estamos por presenciar un quiebre económico similar en el mundo?

La pregunta no es ociosa. Aunque la globalización económica ha permitido alcanzar niveles de prosperidad sin precedentes en los países avanzados y ha beneficiado a cientos de millones de trabajadores pobres en China y otras zonas de Asia, se basa en cimientos inestables. A diferencia de los mercados nacionales, que tienden a apoyarse en instituciones políticas y normativas nacionales, los mercados globales sólo están “enmarcados débilmente”. No existe una autoridad antimonopolio, ni entidades crediticias globales como último recurso, ni una instancia normativa global, ni redes de seguridad globales, ni, por supuesto, una democracia global. En otras palabras, los mercados globales tienen poca calidad de gobierno y, por tanto, tienen poca legitimidad popular.

Los acontecimientos recientes han puesto de relieve la urgencia con que estos temas se debaten. La campaña presidencial en EE.UU. ha mostrado la fragilidad del apoyo al libre comercio en la nación más poderosa del mundo. La crisis de las “hipotecas basura” ha demostrado cómo la falta de coordinación y regulación  internacionales puede exacerbar la fragilidad interna de los mercados financieros. El alza en los precios de los alimentos ha expuesto el lado menos amable de una interdependencia económica que no cuenta con esquemas globales de transferencias y compensaciones.

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