Matt Wuerker

¿Cuál es la globalización que sobrevivirá?

CAMBRIDGE – Este año la economía mundial se contraerá por primera vez desde 1945, y a algunos economistas les preocupa que la crisis actual pudiera significar el principio del fin de la globalización. Las épocas de dificultades económicas y el proteccionismo van de la mano, puesto que cada país culpa a los demás y protege sus empleos internos. En los años treinta, esas políticas de “empobrecer al vecino” empeoraron la situación. A menos que los líderes se resistan a aplicar esas respuestas, el pasado podría convertirse en el futuro.

Irónicamente, sin embargo, esa perspectiva tan sombría no significaría el fin de la globalización definida como un aumento de las redes mundiales de interdependencia. La globalización tiene varias dimensiones y, aunque los economistas a menudo se refieren a ella y a la economía mundial como si fueran la misma cosa, otras formas de la globalización también tienen efectos significativos –no todos benéficos– en nuestra vida cotidiana.

La manifestación más antigua de la globalización fue ambiental. Por ejemplo, la primera epidemia de viruela se registró en Egipto en 1350 a.C. Llegó a China en 49 d.C., a Europa después de 700, a las Américas en 1520 y a Australia en 1789. La peste bubónica, o peste negra, se originó en Asia, pero al propagarse mató a entre un cuarto y un tercio de la población de Europa en el siglo XIV.

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