Janet Yellen IMF/Flickr

¿Los señores de las finanzas de hoy en día?

LONDRES – En su libro Los señores de las finanzas, ganador del premio Pulitzer, el economista Liaquat Ahamad narra la historia de cómo, por su estricta adherencia al patrón de oro, los responsables de grandes bancos centrales “empujaron” al mundo a la bancarrota y dieron inicio a la Gran Depresión. En gran medida, los bancos centrales de hoy tienen en común otro supuesto del que apenas se duda: los beneficios de las políticas de flexibilidad monetaria. ¿Van en camino de llevar al planeta a la quiebra nuevamente?

La política monetaria ortodoxa ya no se rinde ante el patrón oro, que hizo que los bancos centrales de los años 20 erraran en el manejo de las tasas de interés y generaran con ello la crisis económica global que acabó por sentar las condiciones para la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Pero el periodo sin precedentes de políticas monetarias flexibles desde el comienzo de la crisis financiera de 2008 podría ser igual de problemático. De hecho, los efectos discernibles en los mercados financieros ya han sido enormes.

Los efectos de primera línea están claros. A los inversionistas institucionales les ha costado encontrar rendimientos positivos reales en cualquiera de las inversiones que tradicionalmente se habían considerado seguras. Por ejemplo, a las aseguradoras de vida no les ha resultado fácil alcanzar las tasas de rendimiento que garantizan. De acuerdo con un informe reciente de Swiss Re, si los bonos públicos se hubieran estado vendiendo a precios más cercanos a su “valor justo”, las aseguradoras de Norteamérica y Europa habrían ganado de $40 a $80 mil millones entre 2008 y 2013 (suponiendo una asignación típica de entre un 50 y un 60% a la renta fija). Para los fondos de pensiones públicos, un 1% de rendimiento adicional durante este periodo habría elevado la renta anual entre $40 y $50 mil millones.

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