Asia y los consumidores zombis de Estados Unidos

NEW HAVEN – Asia necesita un nuevo consumidor modelo. Todo parece indicar que una generación de “consumidores zombis” estadounidenses posterior a la crisis tendrá dificultades para sostener el crecimiento del consumo global durante varios años. Eso significa que el Asia en desarrollo, con su crecimiento impulsado por las exportaciones, no tendrá más remedio que recurrir a sus 3.5 mil millones de consumidores.

Por supuesto, esta no es la primera vez que Asia ha tenido que enfrentarse a muertos económicos vivientes. Los zombis corporativos japoneses estuvieron en el centro de la primera “década perdida” de Japón  en los años noventa. Los zaibatsus –como socios bancarios– mantuvieron con vida a sus empresas anquilosadas mediante líneas de crédito, con lo que retrasaron sus inevitables quiebras y perpetuaron ineficiencias y desincentivos que dieron lugar a un colapso del crecimiento de la productividad japonesa después de las burbujas.

De manera similar, la crisis de 2008-2009 condujo a rescates que crearon zombis en Occidente. Desde Wall Street hasta Detroit, pasando por AIG, los Estados Unidos se apresuraron a rescatar gigantes corporativos que de otro modo habrían quebrado. El Reino Unido y Europa hicieron lo mismo al salvar a RBS, HBOS-Lloyds, Fortis, Hypo Real Estate y otros. En el Occidente el pretexto fue que eran “demasiado grandes para quebrar”. ¿Es eso muy distinto de la actitud de Japón de hace casi 20 años?

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