Jon Krause

La trampa de la seguridad

CHICAGO – Precisamente cuando el mundo se está volviendo más integrado, la palabra “seguridad” aparece una y otra vez, como en “seguridad alimentaria” o “seguridad energética”. Por lo general, se refiere a un país que crea y controla medios de producción, sea cual fuere su costo. Así, hay países árabes que cultivan cereales en el sediento suelo del desierto y China adquiere parte de la propiedad de compañías petroleras en el Sudán. ¿Se trata de medidas económicamente sensatas? Si no lo son, ¿qué debería hacer el mundo para reducir la necesidad de ellas?

Comencemos por la propiedad de recursos extranjeros. Podríamos pensar que un país que posee petróleo extranjero puede utilizar los beneficios de las ventas para proteger su economía de los elevados precios mundiales del petróleo, pero eso carece de sentido económico. El mercado mundial asigna el precio al petróleo según el costo de oportunidad. En lugar de subvencionar el precio en el mercado interno del petróleo (y brindar con ello a los fabricantes y consumidores nacionales un incentivo para utilizar demasiado petróleo), tendría mucho más sentido dejar que el precio interno se elevara como el precio internacional y distribuir entre la población los beneficios extraordinarios resultantes de los activos de petróleo extranjero.

Lo principal es que las decisiones económicas fundamentales no deben verse afectadas por la propiedad de activos de petróleo extranjeros suplementarios, pero, por las presiones políticas ejercidas por pequeños, pero poderosos, grupos de intereses, los beneficios extraordinarios se dedicarán inevitablemente a subvenciones nacionales insensatas. A consecuencia de ello, el país adquiridor adoptará, si acaso, decisiones económicas que distarán de ser óptimas.

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