Deuda y demanda

LONDRES – El ex Secretario del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos Larry Summers causó recientemente un revuelo con su advertencia sobre un estancamiento económico sostenido en las economías avanzadas, pero, si bien muchos rechazaron su referencia a una tendencia prolongada, los datos lo apoyan. Es cierto que el crecimiento económico se ha reanudado en los Estados Unidos y en el Reino Unido, mientras que la economía de la zona del euro ha dejado de contraerse y el Japón da señales de reaccionar positivamente ante la Abenomics (“economía de Abe”), pero la recuperación mundial sigue siendo extraordinariamente débil, pues las economías más avanzadas siguen teniendo unos resultados entre un 10 y un 15 por ciento inferiores a las tendencias de crecimiento anteriores a la crisis.

No es difícil ver por qué ha sido anémica la recuperación. Una creación excesiva de deuda privada antes de la crisis y los posteriores intentos de desapalancamiento han debilitado la demanda considerablemente.

Si bien los déficits fiscales pueden contribuir a contrarrestar una demanda deficiente, también tienen como consecuencia un aumento de la deuda pública. El apalancamiento no ha desaparecido; se ha trasladado, sencillamente, al sector público y ha creado un endeudamiento excesivo que puede durar muchos años o incluso decenios. Es probable que, para eliminarlo, sean necesarias quitas importantes o una monetización permanente.

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