La economía norteamericana desgarrada por la guerra

NUEVA YORK – Algunos dicen que existen dos temas en las inminentes elecciones norteamericanas: la guerra de Irak y la economía. En los días en que la guerra parece ir mejor de lo que se esperaba, y la economía peor, la economía eclipsa a la guerra, pero a ninguna de las dos les está yendo bien. De alguna manera, existe un único tema, la guerra, que exacerbó los problemas económicos de Estados Unidos. Y cuando la economía más grande del mundo está enferma –y hoy está muy enferma-, todo el mundo sufre.

Antes se creía que las guerras eran buenas para la economía. Después de todo, en general se tienda a pensar que la Segunda Guerra Mundial ayudó a sacar a la economía global de la Gran Depresión. Pero, al menos a partir de Keynes, sabemos cómo estimular la economía de manera más efectiva, y de modos que aumenten la productividad a largo plazo y mejoren los niveles de vida.

Esta guerra en particular no ha sido buena para la economía por tres razones. Primero, contribuyó a un aumento de los precios del petróleo. Cuando Estados Unidos entró en guerra, el barril de petróleo costaba menos de 25 dólares, y los mercados a futuro esperaban que se mantuviera allí durante una década. Los operadores de futuros eran conscientes del crecimiento de China y de otros mercados emergentes; pero esperaban que la oferta –principalmente de los proveedores de bajo costo de Oriente Medio- aumentara a la par de la demanda.

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