Beijing sunrise Jie Zhao/Getty Images

La trampa de Kindleberger

CAMBRIDGE – Mientras el presidente electo de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, prepara la política de su administración hacia China, debería tomar conciencia de dos trampas importantes que le ha tendido la historia. La "Trampa de Tucídides", que mencionó el presidente chino, Xi Jinping, se refiere a la advertencia del antiguo historiador griego de que si una potencia establecida (como Estados Unidos) empieza a temerle demasiado a una potencia emergente (como China) puede estallar una guerra cataclísmica. Pero Trump también tiene que preocuparse por la "Trampa de Kindleberger": una China que parece demasiado débil y no demasiado fuerte.

Charles Kindleberger, uno de los arquitectos intelectuales del Plan Marshall que luego fue docente en el MIT, sostenía que la década desastrosa de los años 1930 se originó cuando Estados Unidos sustituyó a Gran Bretaña como la mayor potencia global pero no pudo asumir el rol de Gran Bretaña de proveedor de bienes públicos globales. El resultado fue el colapso del sistema global que derivó en una depresión, un genocidio y una guerra mundial. Hoy, en tanto crece el poder de China, ¿ayudará a proveer bienes públicos globales?

En la política doméstica, los gobiernos producen bienes públicos como la vigilancia policial o un ambiente limpio, de los cuales todos los ciudadanos pueden beneficiarse sin que nadie quede excluido. A nivel global, los bienes públicos -como un clima estable, una estabilidad financiera y la libertad de los mares- corren por cuenta de coaliciones lideradas por las principales potencias.

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