Deuda y espejismos

NEW HAVEN – A los economistas les gusta hablar de umbrales que, cuando son atravesados, indican dificultades. Por lo general hay una cierta verdad en lo que dicen. Pero a menudo, el público reacciona en forma exagerada ante esos comentarios.

Consideremos, por ejemplo, la relación entre deuda y PBI, tan comentada en las noticias estadounidenses y europeas actuales. A veces se dice, casi sin pausar para respirar, que la deuda de Grecia equivale al 153% de su PBI anual, y que es insolvente. Combinemos esas afirmaciones con las recientes imágenes televisivas de los disturbios callejeros griegos. ¿Qué les parece?

Aquí en los EE. UU., puede percibirse como una imagen de nuestro futuro, a medida que la deuda pública se acerca peligrosamente al 100% del PBI anual y continúa en ascenso. Pero tal vez esta imagen está excesivamente impresa en nuestra imaginación. ¿Es posible que la gente crea que un país se torna insolvente cuando su deuda supera el 100% del PBI?

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