euro bills Kevin Harber/Flickr

Abandonar el euro de una vez

SAINT-PIERRE-D’ENTREMONT (FRANCIA) – La de la Unión Monetaria Europa nunca fue una buena idea. Recuerdo mi sorpresa cuando, siendo un joven profesor ayudante, comprendí que me oponía al Tratado de Maastricht. Consideraba entonces –y sigo haciéndolo– que la integración europea era algo muy positivo, pero la economía de libro de texto con el que entonces enseñaba mostraba lo perjudicial que podría ser la UME, a falta de una unión política y fiscal europea.

Nada de lo que ha ocurrido desde entonces me ha convencido de que el libro de texto fuese excesivamente pesimista. Al contrario: era demasiado optimista.  En la vida abundan las cáscaras de plátano y, cuando pisas una de ellas, has de poder recuperar el equilibrio, pero la propia unión monetaria se ha convertido en una piel de plátano gigantesca, pues induce corrientes de capitales que aumentan los costos en la periferia europea y el ajuste –es decir, la devaluación de la moneda– no era una opción.

Además, muchos de los libros de texto de aquella época no tenían en cuenta el sector financiero; así, pasaron por alto el detalle de que las corrientes de capitales hacia la periferia se encauzarían mediante los bancos y, cuando los capitales dejaran de afluir, las crisis bancarias rebasarían los límites de la hacienda pública de los miembros periféricos, lo que, a su vez, erosionaría aún más los balances de los bancos y limitaría la creación de crédito: el fatal circulo vicioso de la banca soberana del que tanto hemos oído hablar en los últimos años. Y ningún libro de texto predijo que la cooperación europea impondría una austeridad procíclica en los países afectados por la crisis, lo que crearía depresiones que en algunos casos nada han tenido que envidiar a las del decenio de 1930.

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