underinvestment Luca Bruno/Flickr

Un mundo de desinversión

MILÁN – Cuando la Segunda Guerra Mundial terminó hace 70 años, gran parte del mundo –incluida la Europa industrializada, Japón y otros países que habían estado ocupados- quedó geopolíticamente escindido y aquejado por una deuda soberana importante. Muchas de las economías principales incluso quedaron en ruinas. Uno podría haber esperado un período prolongado de cooperación internacional limitada, crecimiento lento, alto desempleo y privación extrema, debido a la capacidad limitada de los países para financiar sus inmensas necesidades de inversión. Pero eso no es lo que sucedió.

Por el contrario, los líderes mundiales adoptaron una perspectiva de largo plazo. Reconocieron que las perspectivas de reducción de deuda de sus países dependían del crecimiento económico nominal, y que sus perspectivas de crecimiento económico –para no mencionar una paz continuada- dependían de una recuperación a nivel mundial. De modo que utilizaron –y hasta tensaron- sus balances para inversión, abriéndose al mismo tiempo al comercio internacional, ayudando así a restablecer la demanda. Estados Unidos –que enfrentaba una considerable deuda pública, pero que había perdido poco en términos de activos físicos- naturalmente asumió un papel de liderazgo en este proceso.

Dos características de la recuperación económica de posguerra son sorprendentes. En primer lugar, los países no veían sus deudas soberanas como una limitación coercitiva, y en cambio persiguieron la inversión y el potencial crecimiento. En segundo lugar, cooperaron entre sí en múltiples frentes, y los países con los balances más sólidos impulsaron la inversión en otras partes, engrosando la inversión privada. El estallido de la Guerra Fría puede haber fomentado esta estrategia. En cualquier caso, los países no actuaron por cuenta propia.

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