Las Lecciones de Argentina

El colapso de Argentina incitó la falta de pago más grande de la historia. Los expertos están de acuerdo en que este es sólo el último de una serie de salvamentos encabezados por el FMI que despilfarraron miles de millones de dólares y no lograron salvar a las economías que suponían ayudar. La naturaleza de esa falla, sin embargo, es todavía disputada. Algunos argumentan que el FMI fue demasiado indulgente; otros, que fue demasiado severo.

Aquellos que culpan al FMI ven el problema como autoinflingido por un gasto libertino y corrupto por parte de Argentina. Los intentos por reasignar la culpa no son razonables: uno puede entender la falta de pago como consecuencia de los errores económicos hechos durante toda una década. Entender qué fue lo que salió mal nos brinda importantes lecciones para el futuro.

Los problemas empezaron con la hiperinflación de la década de 1980. Para reducir la inflación, hacía falta cambiar las expectativas; "anclar" la moneda al dólar suponía lograr eso. Esto fue un retorno a una variante del viejo argumento del patrón oro. Si la inflación continuaba, la tasa de cambio real del país se apreciaría, la demanda de sus exportaciones caería, el desempleo se incrementaría y eso condensaría las presiones salariales y de precios. Los participantes del mercado, sabiendo eso, se darían cuenta de que la inflación no sería admitida. Siempre y cuando el compromiso con el sistema cambiario permaneciera creíble, lo sería también el compromiso por detener la inflación.

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