Street signs in London

Las consecuencias políticas de las crisis financieras

LONDRES – No creo ser el único profesor de finanzas que al proponer a sus estudiantes temas para una monografía haya recurrido a una pregunta como: “En tu opinión, ¿cuál fue la causa principal de la crisis financiera global: demasiada intervención del gobierno en los mercados financieros o demasiado poca?”. Frente a esta disyuntiva, mi último grupo de alumnos se dividió en tres.

Un tercio aproximadamente, bajo el influjo del voluptuoso atractivo de la Hipótesis del Mercado Eficiente, sostuvo que la culpa de todo la tuvieron los gobiernos, que distorsionaron los incentivos del mercado con sus erradas intervenciones (entre las que en Estados Unidos se destacan la Asociación Federal Nacional Hipotecaria y la Corporación Federal de Préstamos Hipotecarios, ambas con patrocinio estatal, y la Ley de Reinversión Comunitaria). Algunos incluso hicieron suyo el argumento del libertario estadounidense Ron Paul y culparon a la existencia misma de la Reserva Federal como prestamista de última instancia.

Otro tercio de la clase, en el extremo opuesto del espectro político, puso en el papel del villano al expresidente de la Reserva, Alan Greenspan. Para ellos, el problema se debió a la notoria renuencia de Greenspan a intervenir en los mercados financieros, incluso cuando los niveles de apalancamiento crecían aceleradamente y los precios de los activos parecían haber perdido todo contacto con la realidad. Más en general, la tendencia desreguladora de los gobiernos occidentales permitió un descontrol de los mercados en los primeros años de este siglo.

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