Cómo impedir una guerra cambiaria

BERKELEY – Ya adentrados tres años en la crisis financiera, uno podría pensar que el mundo podría dejar atrás las analogías con la Gran Depresión. Pero están de vuelta, y con más fuerza que nunca. Ahora el temor es que la guerra cambiaria, que derive en aranceles y represalias, pueda causar alteraciones en el sistema de comercio internacional tan serias como las de los años 1930.

Hay buenos motivos para preocuparse, ya que la experiencia de los años 1930 sugiere que las disputas por el tipo de cambio pueden ser aún más peligrosas que las depresiones profundas en términos de generar presiones proteccionistas.

De hecho, no fueron los países que experimentaron las peores desaceleraciones económicas y las mayores tasas de desempleo los que aumentaron los aranceles y ajustaron las cuotas más drásticamente en los años 1930. Si se comparan los países, no había ninguna relación ni entre la profundidad y duración del colapso de producción y el incremento de los niveles de protección, ni entre la magnitud del aumento del desempleo y el alcance del proteccionismo.

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