La política del riesgo moral

BRUSELAS – Es un antiguo e interminable combate. Por un lado están los gruñones del riesgo moral, quienes afirman que una de las principales responsabilidades para quienes están a cargo de las políticas es establecer incentivos que demuestren que el comportamiento imprudente no paga. Por otro, están los partidarios de la estabilidad financiera, quienes consideran que la confianza en el sistema financiero es demasiado preciosa para ponerla en peligro, incluso con las mejores intenciones posibles.

Chipre es el campo de batalla más reciente entre ambos bandos. El 25 de marzo, una vez que la decisión de liquidar al segundo mayor banco del país e imponer en el proceso grandes pérdidas a los depositantes no asegurados estuvo tomada, el presidente del Eurogrupo, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, el ministro de economía holandés, declaró que un sector financiero saludable exige que «cuando asumes riesgos, debes lidiar con ellos». La meta, agregó, debería ser la creación de un entorno en el cual los ministros de economía europeos «nunca tengan que considerar una recapitalización directa» de un banco mediante el Mecanismo Europeo de Estabilidad. Parecía estar leyendo un libro de texto sobre riesgo moral.

Inmediatamente después de esta declaración, sin embargo, los precios de las acciones de los bancos europeos se desplomaron y Dijsselbloem fue acusado por muchos (incluso por algunos de sus colegas) de haber echado combustible a las llamas. En pocas horas, emitió una declaración indicando que «Chipre es un caso específico con desafíos excepcionales» y que el enfoque de la crisis europea «no está estandarizado».

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