China construction Bloomberg/Getty Images

Errores occidentales, rehechos en China

SHANGHÁI – La economía china se enfrenta a una transición que es extremadamente desafiante. Con el propósito de lograr su objetivo de unirse a los países de ingresos altos del mundo, acertadamente el gobierno chino ha instado a que se confiera un “papel decisivo al mercado”. Pero, si bien la competencia de mercado funciona correctamente en muchos sectores, la banca funciona de manera diferente. En los hechos, durante los últimos siete años, la dependencia de China en la asignación de capitales con base en la banca ha llevado a que se cometan los mismos errores que causaron la crisis financiera del año 2008 en las economías avanzadas.

Un rápido crecimiento del PIB requiere de un alto nivel de ahorro e inversión, y los niveles altos de ahorro casi nunca son el resultado de la libre elección del consumidor. Los Estados pueden financiar directamente la inversión; no obstante, el establecimiento de créditos bancarios puede lograr el mismo efecto. Tal como Friedrich Hayek dijo en el año 1925, “el crecimiento capitalista rápido depende del ‘ahorro forzoso’ que viene a consecuencia del otorgamiento de créditos bancarios adicionales”.

Ambos, Japón y Corea del Sur, utilizaron créditos bancarios para financiar sus altos niveles de inversión durante sus respectivos períodos de crecimiento rápido. Los bancos nacionalizados de Corea del Sur financiaron directamente a las empresas orientadas a la exportación. En Japón, los bancos privados fueron “guiados” hacia el sector comercial.

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