Paul Lachine

¿Una época de esperanzas reducidas?

CAMBRIDGE – Mientras las economías europeas y de los Estados Unidos siguen esforzándose para superar la crisis, existe una preocupación cada vez mayor por que afronten un “decenio perdido” al estilo japonés. Lamentablemente, demasiados debates se han centrado en lo que pueden hacer los gobiernos para estimular la demanda mediante déficits presupuestarios y política monetaria. Estas últimas son cuestiones decisivas a corto plazo, pero, como sabe todo economista, el crecimiento económico a largo plazo viene dado principalmente por la mejora de la productividad.

No cabe duda de que la inmensa crisis financiera del Japón en 1992 fue un golpazo del que aún no se ha recuperado y los paralelismos con los Estados Unidos y la Europa actuales son preocupantes. Los dos parecen destinados a un largo período de lento aumento del crédito, debido tanto a una necesaria reglamentación financiera más estricta como a que sus economías siguen en gran medida excesivamente apalancadas. No hay atajos sencillos en el proceso de curación.

Sin embargo, al evaluar la experiencia japonesa y su pertinencia actual, es importante reconocer que el desplome del Japón no se debió sólo a su crisis financiera. El Japón padeció también varias crisis graves de productividad, que tuvieron mucho que ver con sus problemas a largo plazo. Aun cuando el Japón nunca hubiera experimentado una burbuja inmobiliaria y de valores bursátiles, el meteórico ascenso de su vecina China habría representado una competencia enorme.

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