El problema de China con el dólar

CAMBRIDGE -- ¿Cuando comprenderá China por fin que no puede acumular dólares eternamente? Ya tiene más de dos billones. ¿De verdad quieren los chinos permanecer sentados sobre cuatro billones de dólares dentro de otros cinco o diez años? Cuando el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos tiene la mirada puesta en los costos a largo plazo del rescate financiero, además de aumentar inexorablemente los costos de los subsidios, ¿no deberían preocuparse los chinos por una repetición de la experiencia de Europa en el decenio de 1970?

Durante los decenios de 1950 y 1960, los europeos amasaron una cantidad enorme de letras del Tesoro de los EE.UU. para intentar mantener unos tipos de cambio fijos, de forma muy parecida a lo que ha hecho China actualmente. Lamentablemente, la capacidad adquisitiva de los dólares de Europa se redujo en gran medida durante el decenio de 1970, cuando los costos de la guerra de Vietnam y un repentino aumento de los precios del petróleo contribuyeron en última instancia a un desastroso aumento de la inflación.

Tal vez los chinos no deban preocuparse. Al fin y al cabo, los dirigentes del mundo que acaban de reunirse en la cumbre del G-20 celebrada en Pittsburgh han dicho que adoptarán todas las medidas necesarias para impedir que semejante cosa vuelva a suceder. Un pilar fundamental de su estrategia de prevención es el de reducir los “desequilibrios mundiales”, eufemismo para referirse al enorme déficit comercial de los EE.UU. y los correspondientes superávits comerciales de otros países, en particular China.

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