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La verdad sobre la financiación monetaria

LONDRES – Ocho años después de la crisis de 2008, gobiernos y bancos centrales (tras probar con infinidad de políticas y estrategias) no han logrado un estímulo de la demanda suficiente para producir un crecimiento sostenido e importante. En Japón, la denominada Abenomics prometía una inflación del 2% en 2015; pero el Banco de Japón prevé una cifra cercana a cero en 2016, con un crecimiento del PIB inferior a 1%. El crecimiento de la eurozona se redujo a la mitad en el segundo trimestre de 2016 y depende peligrosamente de la demanda externa de exportaciones. Incluso la recuperación de Estados Unidos parece incierta.

Esto llevó a que se hablara reiteradamente de la idea de “arrojar dinero desde el helicóptero”, esto es, la inyección directa de efectivo en las manos de los consumidores o la monetización permanente de la deuda pública. En principio, los argumentos en favor de esta idea son claros.

Si el gobierno reduce impuestos, incrementa el gasto público o distribuye dinero directamente a los hogares, y si el banco central aumenta en forma permanente la masa monetaria para financiar este estímulo, crecerá la riqueza nominal de los ciudadanos; y a diferencia del déficit financiado con deuda, no se enfrentarán en el futuro a un aumento de los impuestos para devolverla. Habrá inevitablemente cierto incremento de la demanda nominal agregada; el nivel de estímulo será a grandes rasgos proporcional a la cantidad de dinero creada.

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