El tropiezo de Atlas

Si el mundo va a tener una recuperación económica decente, el cambio dependerá de que EEUU se ponga de pie y siga cumpliendo su papel de importador global de último recurso. Ningún otro país es capaz de impulsar el carro si la economía estadounidense sigue perdiendo potencia. Hay cierto optimismo de que Japón se levante nuevamente, pero en la pasada década, enormemente desilusionante, se han entrevisto demasiadas seudo-recuperaciones en Japón como para justificar tales esperanzas.

Es probable que Europa también resulte ser una desilusión. Las proyecciones del crecimiento europeo siguen a la baja, a pesar de que las perspectivas de las políticas gubernamentales son una reducción en el gasto y el aumento de impuestos, a medida que la estabilidad fiscal y el pacto de crecimiento limitan su campo de acción. Más aún, el Banco Central Europeo parece indefenso, ya que está limitado por las trabas autoimpuestas de sus objetivos inflacionarios. Tampoco los mercados emergentes son lo suficientemente grandes como para jugar un papel significativo en el equilibrio de la demanda mundial total.

De modo que Estados Unidos sigue siendo la mejor y última esperanza de la economía del planeta. Pero esto es preocupante por dos razones. En primer lugar, Estados Unidos no puede cargar para siempre con enormes déficits de cuenta corriente (¡y que siguen creciendo!): en algún momento el deseo de los inversionistas extranjeros por colocar una parte cada vez mayor de su riqueza en Estados Unidos se desvanecerá y, luego, tomará la dirección opuesta. Cuando eso ocurra, el dólar caerá y el estímulo que significa para el mundo la demanda estadounidense de importaciones llegará a su término.

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