La última mejor oportunidad de Europa

STANFORD – Las renuncias de los primeros ministros George Papandreu, y Silvio Berlusconi han puesto de relieve cómo Grecia e Italia y muchos otros países ocultaron durante demasiado tiempo los problemas de larga data de sus obesos sectores públicos mediante beneficios insostenibles de seguridad social. En efecto, para muchos de estos países las reformas de fondo son ahora inevitables.

Los sistemas de seguridad social de Europa, así como los de Estados Unidos, Japón y otros lugares, se diseñaron en condiciones económicas y demográficas muy distintas a las que prevalecen actualmente –crecimiento económico más acelerado, poblaciones crecientes y menores expectativas de vida. Los gobiernos (la atención se centra ahora en Grecia e Italia pero no son los únicos) han prometido demasiado a demasiadas personas durante demasiado tiempo. En mi libro Too many promises,  publicado en 1986, señalaba el mismo problema en el caso del sistema de seguridad social estadounidense.

Ahora este problema fundamental se manifiesta en la dinámica de deuda insostenible de esos países. La membresía en el sistema del euro que, permitió un endeudamiento temporal masivo a tasas de interés bajas, solo lo empeoró.

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