El intervencionismo conservador

BERKELEY – En esta etapa de la lucha mundial contra la depresión, vale la pena detenerse un momento para considerar hasta qué grado han sido conservadoras las políticas implementadas por los bancos centrales, las tesorerías y las oficinas de presupuesto a nivel mundial. Casi todo lo que han hecho – aumentar el gasto, disminuir los impuestos, recapitalizar los bancos, comprar activos de riesgo, realizar operaciones de mercado abierto y otras expansiones de la oferta monetaria  – ha seguido una ruta de política que tiene casi 200 años, desde los primeros días de la revolución industrial y, por lo tanto, las primeras fases del ciclo empresarial.

Para empezar, tomemos el año1825, cuando los inversionistas presa del pánico querían invertir su dinero en efectivo seguro y no en empresas riesgosas. Robert Banks Jenkinson, Segundo Conde de Liverpool y Primer Lord de la Tesorería del Rey Jorge IV, suplicó a Cornelius Buller, el Gobernador del Banco de Inglaterra, que tomara medidas para impedir el colapso de los precios de los activos financieros. Lord Liverpool razonaba de esta manera: “Creemos en una economía de mercado, pero no cuando los precios que tal economía produce llevan al desempleo masivo en las calles de Londres, Bristol, Liverpool y Manchester.”

El Banco de Inglaterra actuó: intervino en el mercado y compró bonos en efectivo, con lo que presionó al alza los precios de las activos financieros y expandió la oferta monetaria. Hizo préstamos con pocas garantías a bancos que no tenían bases sólidas. Anunció su intención de estabilizar el mercado – y emitió una advertencia a quienes especularan a la baja.

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