L’importanza del libero scambio

NEW YORK – Contrariamente a quanto di solito asseriscono gli scettici, le argomentazioni a favore del libero scambio hanno solide fondamenta. Infatti non riguardano solamente la prosperità generale (o il “Pnl aggregato”), ma influenzano anche i risultati ottenuti attraverso il processo di distribuzione, rendendo interessanti le argomentazioni a favore del libero scambio anche dal punto di vista morale.

Il nesso tra apertura commerciale e prosperità economica è forte e suggestivo. Arvind Panagariya della Columbia University, ad esempio, ha suddiviso i paesi in via di sviluppo in due gruppi: i paesi “miracle” che hanno registrato tassi di crescita annui del Pil pro capite pari o superiori al 3 per cento, e i paesi “debacle” che hanno evidenziato tassi di crescita negativi o pari a zero. Panagariya ha riscontrato in entrambi i casi un’adeguata corrispondenza dei tassi di crescita relativi al commercio nel periodo 1961-1999.

Ovviamente si potrebbe affermare che l’aumento del Pil tende a favorire la crescita del commercio e non viceversa – almeno fino al momento in cui non si esaminano i paesi in modo approfondito. Non si può nemmeno sostenere che lo sviluppo del commercio non dipenda dalle politiche commerciali: da un lato, i minori costi di trasporto hanno incrementato i volumi commerciali, dall’altro anche la costante riduzione delle barriere commerciali ha avuto lo stesso effetto.

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