Abstract image of urban skyline in an orb.

Los años del bezzle

LONDRES – Hace más de medio siglo, John Kenneth Galbraith ofreció una descripción definitiva del desplome bursátil de Wall Street en 1929 en un volumen delgado y elegantemente escrito. Según observó Galbraith, el desfalco (en inglés, embezzelment)tiene la propiedad de que “semanas, meses o años transcurren entre la comisión del delito y su descubrimiento. Ése es el período, dicho sea de paso, en el que el desfalcador obtiene sus ganancias y quien ha sufrido el desfalco no siente una pérdida. Hay un claro aumento de riqueza psíquica.” Galbraith denominó bezzle ese aumento de la riqueza.

En un ensayo delicioso, el socio de Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, señaló que se puede ampliar ese concepto mucho más. Se puede crear riqueza psicológica sin ilegalidad: el error o el autoengaño pueden bastar. Munger acuñó el término febezzle” (o “equivalente funcional del bezzle”) para calificar la riqueza que existe en el intervalo entre la creación y la destrucción de la ilusión.

Desde esa perspectiva, el crítico que revela un Rembrandt falso no hace favor alguno al mundo: el dueño del cuadro sufre una pérdida, como tal vez los posibles contempladores, y los propietarios de Rembrandts auténticos ganan poco. El sector financiero no se mostró amable con quienes señalaron que la burbuja de la “nueva economía” de finales del decenio de 1990 o el aumento del crédito que precedió a la crisis financiera mundial de 2008 habían creado un gran febezzle.

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