El estancamiento a largo plazo camino al sur

SANTIAGO – Ahora que los precios de los recursos naturales bajan, y las tasas de interés en Estados Unidos aumentan porque la Reserva Federal abandona el relajamiento cuantitativo, las economías latinoamericanas enfrentan un nuevo desafío: seguir creciendo. En 2013, el producto interno bruto (PIB) de las principales economías de la región disminuyó su crecimiento, y se prevé lo mismo para 2014.

Es cada día más evidente que el rápido crecimiento en América Latina desde la crisis económica mundial de 2008 -2009 no fue el resultado de un cambio revolucionario de políticas, sino de circunstancias internacionales extraordinariamente ventajosas.  Mientras los precios de la soya, el trigo, el cobre, el petróleo y otras materias primas estuvieron por los cielos, países como Brasil, Chile y Perú recibieron un gran estímulo externo; incluso Argentina, con su deplorable manejo de la economía, logró crecer.

Pero ahora que las circunstancias externas se normalizan, el estancamiento a largo plazo –el término de moda en el debate estadounidense– podría llegar a América Latina. Larry Summers, el ex Secretario del Tesoro de Estados Unidos, causó gran revuelo en noviembre recién pasado cuando afirmó que la economía de su país, así como la de otras naciones avanzadas, había entrado en un largo período de escaso crecimiento del PIB.

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