La economía global del deseo

¿Qué tanto deben preocuparse los países avanzados por la subcontratación de procesos de manufactura a China o de desarrollo de software a la India? El temor a perder empleos en favor de los países con mano de obra barata toca una fibra populista, pero pierde de vista algo vital: la prosperidad de los países desarrollados depende principalmente del espíritu empresarial.

Después de todo, ninguna economía puede elevar los niveles de vida eternamente mediante innovaciones que hagan más eficiente la producción de bienes existentes. A corto plazo, un aumento en la eficiencia reduce los costos de un bien o un servicio, de manera que la gente lo consume más. Pero, a la larga, los consumidores dejan de comprar aunque los precios sigan cayendo. Después de eso, cualquier mejora en la eficiencia implica el despido de trabajadores.

La creación y la satisfacción de nuevos deseos de consumo es lo que mantiene en marcha al sistema al absorber la fuerza de trabajo y el poder de compra que libera la satisfacción cada vez más eficiente de las viejas necesidades. Al otro extremo de este proceso, los productores que satisfacen los viejos deseos siguen haciendo economías porque compiten por empleados y consumidores con los que satisfacen los nuevos.

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