El gran error sobre el crédito

LONDRES – Antes de que estallara la crisis financiera en 2008, el crédito privado en la mayoría de las economías desarrolladas creció más rápidamente que el PIB y después se desplomó. La de si aquel descenso reflejó una demanda escasa de crédito o una oferta limitada puede parecer una cuestión técnica, pero la respuesta encierra importantes consecuencias para las autoridades y para las perspectivas de crecimiento económico y la reacción de aquéllas probablemente sea errónea.

La opinión predominante ha solido subrayar las limitaciones de la oferta y las políticas necesarias para resolverlas. Según se afirma, un sistema bancario dañado priva a las empresas, en particular las pequeñas y medianas (PYME), de los fondos que necesitan para ampliarse. En septiembre de 2008, el Presidente de los Estados Unidos George W. Bush quería “que los bancos contaran con todos los medios para reanudar la corriente de crédito destinado a las familias y las empresas americanas.”

Las pruebas de solvencia y las recapitalizaciones de los bancos de los EE.UU. llevadas a cabo en 2009 fueron aclamadas posteriormente por considerárselas decisivas para la recuperación tanto del sistema bancario como de la economía. En cambio, las  insuficientemente rigurosas pruebas de solvencia llevadas a cabo en 2010 por el Banco Central Europeo recibieron un vapuleo generalizado por haber mantenido unos bancos de la zona del euro demasiado débiles para facilitar un crédito suficiente.

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