El problema de las burbujas financieras

LONDRES – Poco después de que se volviera evidente la magnitud de la crisis financiera de 2008, comenzó un debate encendido sobre si los bancos centrales y los reguladores podrían o deberían haber hecho algo más para evitarla. La visión tradicional, a la que adhiere especialmente Alan Greenspan, el ex presidente de la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos, es que cualquier intento por pinchar anticipadamente las burbujas financieras está destinado al fracaso. Lo máximo que pueden hacer la mayoría de los bancos centrales es limpiar el desorden.

En efecto, pinchar las burbujas puede sofocar innecesariamente el crecimiento –y con un costo social elevado-. Pero existe un contraargumento. Los economistas del Banco de Pagos Internacionales (BIS por su sigla en inglés) han sostenido que los costos de la crisis fueron tan grandes, y el proceso de saneamiento tan prolongado, que hoy sin duda deberíamos buscar maneras de actuar de modo preventivo cuando volvamos a ver un crecimiento peligroso de la liquidez y el crédito.

De ahí la disputa feroz (si bien secreta y cortés) entre los dos bandos en la reciente reunión del Fondo Monetario Internacional en Lima, Perú. Para los amantes de la literatura, fue reminiscente de Los viajes de Gulliver de Jonathan Swift. Gulliver se encuentra atrapado en una guerra entre dos tribus: una que cree que un huevo hervido siempre se debe romper del extremo angosto, mientras que la otra es ferviente en su opinión de que una cuchara encaja mejor en el extremo más grande y redondeado.

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