El diálogo de sordos de la economía global

CHICAGO – Mientras los gobiernos se esfuerzan por intentar sacar a la economía mundial de la recesión, el peligro del proteccionismo se está volviendo más real. Surge de maneras no previstas por quienes fundaron nuestras instituciones globales existentes. Desafortunadamente, la discusión entre los países sobre comercio hoy en día es muy parecida a un diálogo de sordos, en el que los países se dicen obviedades mutuamente, pero no se llega a ningún compromiso ejecutable y verificable. Existe una necesidad urgente de reformar las instituciones globales -y de un modo más drástico de lo imaginado por el G-20 hasta ahora.

El proteccionismo no sólo tiene que ver con aumentar los aranceles a las importaciones; es cualquier acción de gobierno que distorsione la producción global y la asignación de bienes, servicios y capital para favorecer a los productores domésticos, reduciendo así la eficiencia general. De esta manera, por ejemplo, la presión del gobierno sobre los bancos multinacionales para que presten a nivel doméstico, o retiren liquidez de las filiales extranjeras, es proteccionismo, al igual que las inyecciones de capital a compañías multinacionales con el requerimiento explícito de que se preserven los empleos locales.

Este tipo de acciones son problemáticas, no sólo porque consolidan formas ineficientes de producción, sino también porque la respuesta de los países extranjeros es adoptar medidas similares con sus empresas nacionales, de modo que todos se ven perjudicados. La cantidad de trabajadores ineficientes protegidos por estas medidas es contrarrestada por la cantidad de trabajadores eficientes despedidos por las multinacionales extranjeras que responden a las presiones políticas en su país de origen. Quizá más preocupante, de todos modos, sea que la población, especialmente en los países pobres que no toman medidas compensatorias, terminará desconfiando de la integración global, y las multinacionales serán vistas como caballos de Troya.

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