Robert J. Shiller

Una burbuja especulativa es una epidemia social cuyo contagio se produce a través de movimientos de precios. Los primeros en invertir se enriquecen a la par de las noticias de aumento de precios, y así se crean historias de éxito que echan a correr de boca en boca y estimulan la envidia y el interés. El entusiasmo atrae entonces a más y más personas al mercado, lo que vuelve a provocar un aumento de los precios, que atrae a otras personas y alimenta historias acerca de una “nueva era”, y así sucesivamente, en una serie de ciclos que se retroalimentan conforme la burbuja crece. Después del estallido de la burbuja, el mismo proceso de contagio provoca un derrumbe abrupto, cuando la caída de los precios lleva a más y más personas a abandonar el mercado y magnificar las historias negativas acerca de la economía.

Pero antes de pasar a la conclusión de que ahora que la crisis ya se produjo debemos aplicar políticas que pongan freno a los mercados, habría que considerar la alternativa. De hecho, las burbujas especulativas no son sino un ejemplo de epidemias sociales, y estas pueden ser incluso peores cuando no hay mercados financieros. En una burbuja especulativa, el contagio se amplifica por la reacción de las personas a las variaciones de precios, pero las epidemias sociales no necesitan mercados ni precios para concitar la atención pública y difundirse rápidamente.

Algunos ejemplos de epidemias sociales independientes de la existencia de mercados especulativos se pueden encontrar en un libro de Charles MacKay publicado en 1841, Delirios populares extraordinarios y la locura de las masas, que llegó a ser un best seller. El libro volvió famosas varias de las burbujas de la historia: la del Misisipi en 1719 y 1720, la de la Compañía de los Mares del Sur, entre 1711 y 1720, y la fiebre de los tulipanes de la década de 1630. Pero también se refieren en él otros casos que no tienen nada que ver con mercados.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/BShlBRq/es;
  1. Television sets showing a news report on Xi Jinping's speech Anthony Wallace/Getty Images

    Empowering China’s New Miracle Workers

    China’s success in the next five years will depend largely on how well the government manages the tensions underlying its complex agenda. In particular, China’s leaders will need to balance a muscular Communist Party, setting standards and protecting the public interest, with an empowered market, driving the economy into the future.

  2. United States Supreme Court Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images

    The Sovereignty that Really Matters

    The preference of some countries to isolate themselves within their borders is anachronistic and self-defeating, but it would be a serious mistake for others, fearing contagion, to respond by imposing strict isolation. Even in states that have succumbed to reductionist discourses, much of the population has not.

  3.  The price of Euro and US dollars Daniel Leal Olivas/Getty Images

    Resurrecting Creditor Adjustment

    When the Bretton Woods Agreement was hashed out in 1944, it was agreed that countries with current-account deficits should be able to limit temporarily purchases of goods from countries running surpluses. In the ensuing 73 years, the so-called "scarce-currency clause" has been largely forgotten; but it may be time to bring it back.

  4. Leaders of the Russian Revolution in Red Square Keystone France/Getty Images

    Trump’s Republican Collaborators

    Republican leaders have a choice: they can either continue to collaborate with President Donald Trump, thereby courting disaster, or they can renounce him, finally putting their country’s democracy ahead of loyalty to their party tribe. They are hardly the first politicians to face such a decision.

  5. Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron John Thys/Getty Images

    How Money Could Unblock the Brexit Talks

    With talks on the UK's withdrawal from the EU stalled, negotiators should shift to the temporary “transition” Prime Minister Theresa May officially requested last month. Above all, the negotiators should focus immediately on the British budget contributions that will be required to make an orderly transition possible.

  6. Ksenia Sobchak Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    Is Vladimir Putin Losing His Grip?

    In recent decades, as President Vladimir Putin has entrenched his authority, Russia has seemed to be moving backward socially and economically. But while the Kremlin knows that it must reverse this trajectory, genuine reform would be incompatible with the kleptocratic character of Putin’s regime.

  7. Right-wing parties hold conference Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

    Rage Against the Elites

    • With the advantage of hindsight, four recent books bring to bear diverse perspectives on the West’s current populist moment. 
    • Taken together, they help us to understand what that moment is and how it arrived, while reminding us that history is contingent, not inevitable


    Global Bookmark

    Distinguished thinkers review the world’s most important new books on politics, economics, and international affairs.

  8. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Bill Clark/Getty Images

    Don’t Bank on Bankruptcy for Banks

    As a part of their efforts to roll back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, congressional Republicans have approved a measure that would have courts, rather than regulators, oversee megabank bankruptcies. It is now up to the Trump administration to decide if it wants to set the stage for a repeat of the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.