La vulnerabilidad financiera de Europa

VIENNA – Las innovaciones más notables de las últimas dos décadas han sido financieras. Al igual que la innovación tecnológica, la financiera se dedica a la búsqueda perpetua de una mayor eficiencia –en este caso, reducir el costo de las transferencias de fondos de los ahorradores a los inversionistas. Hay que ver con buenos ojos las reducciones que representen un beneficio neto para la sociedad. Pero, como lo demuestra la actual crisis financiera, cuando las innovaciones están diseñadas para eludir reglas o impuestos debemos ser más cautelosos.

Lamentablemente, el objetivo de la revolución financiera ha sido más buscar rendimientos que mejorar el bienestar. Se ha basado en la eliminación, o al menos la reducción, de dos elementos básicos de los costos bancarios que se relacionan estrechamente con los arreglos cautelares.

Uno es la necesidad de que los bancos y otras instituciones financieras tengan reservas líquidas. Mientras menos líquidos sean los activos de un banco, mayor será la necesidad de contar con esas reservas. Pero los rendimientos de esas reservas son bajos, por lo que es lucrativo reducirlas. La debacle de Northern Rock el año pasado en el Reino Unido será durante mucho tiempo un ejemplo de cómo no se deben manejar esos riesgos.

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