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¿Estancamiento secular o malestar autoinfligido?

MÚNICH – Hace casi exactamente ocho años, el colapso de Lehman Brothers sumió a la economía mundial en una recesión. El mercado interbancario se derrumbó, y todo el mundo industrializado se sumergió en la peor crisis desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. A pesar de que los bancos centrales han mantenido tasas de interés extremadamente bajas, aún no se ha superado completamente la crisis. Por el contrario, numerosas economías, como ser las de los países del sur de Europa y Francia, simplemente no están logrando ningún avance. Y, Japón ha estado en la cuerda floja durante ya un cuarto de siglo.

Algunos economistas creen que esto es una prueba que evidencia el “estancamiento secular”, un fenómeno descrito en el año 1938 por el economista estadounidense Alvin Hansen, quien se basó en la Ley de la tendencia decreciente de la tasa de ganancia de Karl Marx. Debido al agotamiento gradual de los proyectos de inversión rentables, de acuerdo con este punto de vista, la tasa natural de interés continúa  disminuyendo. Por lo tanto, la estabilización de la economía sólo es posible mediante una disminución equivalente en las tasas de interés de política monetaria.

En vista de la enorme burbuja de crédito que precedió a la crisis en Japón, Estados Unidos y el sur de Europa, y las agresivas políticas llevadas a cabo por los bancos centrales en los últimos años, tengo mis dudas sobre que esta teoría esté correcta. De hecho, me parece plausible que un mecanismo muy diferente se encuentra detrás del estancamiento posterior a la crisis del año 2008, denomino a dicho mecanismo como el “malestar autoinfligido”.

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