ECB protests Daniel Roland/Stringer via Getty Images

¿Los bancos centrales se han vuelto locos?

PRAGA – Últimamente, criticar de manera indiscriminada a los bancos centrales de los países desarrollados se ha puesto de moda. El razonamiento principal del ataque es más o menos éste: los responsables de las políticas monetarias han sido demasiado activistas desde 2008, extralimitándose en sus mandatos y perjudicando a la economía. Este argumento -que, curiosamente, es igual de popular entre adversarios ideológicos que en otras circunstancias serían irreconciliables, como los libertarios y los neo-marxistas- es decididamente erróneo.

Lo que los críticos no llegan a entender es que los bancos centrales modernos son responsables no sólo de combatir la inflación sino de mantener la estabilidad de precios a largo plazo. Al igual que la temperatura corporal de una persona, los niveles de precios no pueden ni subir ni bajar demasiado sin causar serias complicaciones. Los bancos centrales deben ser tan "activistas" cuando combaten la deflación causada por una demanda floja como cuando hacen frente a una inflación elevada generada por una demanda excesivamente fuerte.

Si bien la batalla es completamente simétrica, la evaluación que hace de ella la población es inexplicablemente asimétrica, en especial en países con poblaciones financieramente conservadoras. Esto incluye a mi propio país, la República Checa, un país de pequeños ahorristas donde el ratio préstamos-depósitos sigue estando muy por debajo del 100%. Los checos le temen a la inflación, aunque ésta alcanzó un mínimo de 13 años el año pasado y el Banco Nacional Checo, del cual soy vicegobernador, ha venido luchando por evitar el riesgo de deflación desde 2013.

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