La inestabilidad de la desigualdad

NUEVA YORK – Este año se ha caracterizado por una ola global de descontento e inestabilidad política y social, que ha ocasionado que la gente salga en masa a las calles reales y virtuales: la primavera árabe; los disturbios en Londres; las protestas de las clases medias de Israel contra los elevados precios de las viviendas y la presión inflacionaria sobre los estándares de vida; las protestas de los estudiantes chilenos; la destrucción en Alemania de los coches de lujo de los “ricos”; el movimiento en India contra la corrupción; el creciente descontento por la corrupción y la desigualdad en China; y ahora, el movimiento de los “indignados” de Wall Street en Nueva York y en todos los Estados Unidos.

Si bien estas protestas no tienen un tema único, expresan de diferentes maneras las serias preocupaciones por su futuro de las clases medias y trabajadoras del mundo ante la creciente concentración de poder entre las élites económicas, financieras y políticas. Las causas de sus inquietudes son evidentes: un alto nivel de desempleo y subempleo en las economías avanzadas y emergentes; educación y capacitación inadecuadas para los jóvenes y trabajadores que compiten en un mundo globalizado; un resentimiento debido a la corrupción, incluidas las formas legalizadas como el cabildeo; y un aumento abrupto  en los ingresos y la desigualdad en la distribución de la riqueza en las economías avanzadas y emergentes de rápido crecimiento.

Por supuesto, el malestar de tantas personas no se puede reducir a un solo factor. Por ejemplo, el aumento de la desigualdad tiene muchas causas: la suma de 2.3 mil millones de chinos e indios a la fuerza laboral global, que está reduciendo los empleos y salarios de obreros no calificados y trabajadores deslocalizados que ocupan puestos administrativos de las economías avanzadas; un cambio tecnológico que privilegia las personas calificadas; efectos de concentración; un surgimiento rápido de disparidades en el ingreso y la riqueza en las economías con crecimiento acelerado, pero que antes fueron de bajos ingresos; y una imposición fiscal menos progresiva.

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