La historia secreta de la crisis financiera

PRINCETON – La gran novela de Balzac Las ilusiones perdidas termina con una exposición de la diferencia entre "historia oficial", que son "todas mentiras", e "historia secreta", que es la historia real. Antes resultaba posible ocultar las verdades escandalosas de la historia por mucho tiempo -inclusive para siempre-. Ya no.

No hay lugar donde esto resulte más evidente que en los relatos de la crisis financiera global. La historia oficial retrató a la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos, el Banco Central Europeo y otros bancos centrales importantes como si la suya hubiera sido una acción coordinada para rescatar al sistema financiero global del desastre. Pero transcripciones publicadas recientemente de reuniones en 2008 del Comité Federal de Mercado Abierto, el principal organismo de toma de decisiones de la Fed, revelan que la institución efectivamente emergió de la crisis como el banco central del mundo, mientras que seguía respondiendo principalmente a los intereses norteamericanos.

Las reuniones más significativas se llevaron a cabo el 16 de septiembre y el 28 de octubre -luego del colapso del banco de inversión estadounidense Lehman Brothers- y se centraron en la creación de acuerdos bilaterales de canje de divisas destinados a asegurar una liquidez adecuada. La Fed otorgaría créditos en dólares a un banco extranjero a cambio de su moneda, que el banco extranjero aceptaba volver a comprar después de un período determinado al mismo tipo de cambio, más intereses. Esto les dio a los bancos centrales -especialmente a los de Europa, donde enfrentaban una escasez de dólares ante la huida de los inversores estadounidenses- los dólares que necesitaban para prestarles a instituciones financieras domésticas en problemas.

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