Paul Lachine

Guerra, deuda y democracia

NUEVA YORK --  Cuando los Estados Unidos abordan la decisión de aumentar su autoimpuesto límite máximo para la deuda, conviene que recordemos por qué es tan grande su deuda pública y la importancia que ello tiene. Con el ascenso del Tea Party, los republicanos pueden protestar contra el aumento del límite máximo de deuda, pero es probable que den marcha atrás al final, porque, entre otras cosas, las guerras financiadas con deuda –por ejemplo, en el Afganistán y en el Iraq– son más fáciles de defender que las guerras que se pagan en el momento y que los votantes deben financiar por adelantado con los impuestos.

De hecho, el debate que se va a iniciar en los EE.UU. pone de relieve un asunto más general: desde tiempo inmemorial, la guerra ha sido un arma de doble filo. Las sociedades humanas se han infligido matanzas mutuas y se han oprimido recíprocamente en una escala comparable con los peores azotes de la Madre Naturaleza, pero las guerras también han aportado cambios beneficiosos, porque la movilización de la población para el combate la moviliza también para la política.

La Historia rebosa de ejemplos de la ampliación de la voz y del voto de quienes aportaban los recursos para la guerra. La antigua Atenas pasó a ser una “democracia” –literalmente, gobierno por el pueblo– cuando Clístenes organizó a pescadores y agricultores en masa para poder derrotar a los oligarcas apoyados por Esparta. A su libertad política contribuyó la dependencia de Atenas de la guerra naval, necesitada de muchos brazos, contra los persas y otros enemigos.

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