¿Qué falló en 2008?

BERKELEY – Para resolver un problema, no basta con saber lo que se debe hacer. Hay que aplicar en realidad la solución y estar dispuesto a cambiar de rumbo, si resulta que no se sabía tanto como se creía. Ése es el mensaje de dos libros recientes que juntos nos dicen todo lo que necesitamos saber sobre la crisis financiera de 2008: lo que la causó, lo que se debe hacer para evitar que reaparezca y por qué no se ha hecho aún.

El primer libro es The Shifts and the Shocks, del periodista conservador británico Martin Wolf, que comienza catalogando los cambios importantes que prepararon el terreno para el desastre económico que sigue moldeando el mundo actual. Su punto de partida es el enorme aumento de la riqueza entre el 0,1 por ciento y el 0,01 por ciento más ricos del mundo y la consiguiente presión para que las personas, los gobiernos y las empresas se endeudaran de forma cada vez más insostenible.

Entretanto, las autoridades cayeron en la autocomplacencia, adormecidas por la generalizada aceptación de teorías económicas, como, por ejemplo, la “hipótesis del mercado eficiente”, que da por sentado que los inversores actúan racionalmente y se basan en toda la información disponible al adoptar sus decisiones. A consecuencia de ello, se desregularon los mercados, con lo que resultó fácil negociar activos considerados seguros, pero que no lo eran. Como consecuencia de ello, el riesgo sistémico proliferó más de lo que los bancos centrales podían imaginar.

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