Cómo desaprovechar una crisis

La crisis financiera global está tocando fondo y, sin embargo, la frustración política está creciendo, porque el punto más bajo del colapso parece ofrecer una última oportunidad para promover un cambio drástico, y quizás esa oportunidad se termine perdiendo. El año pasado, el jefe de Gabinete del presidente Obama, Rahm Emanuel, observó que una buena crisis nunca debería desperdiciarse. El desastre es una oportunidad para pensar en cómo hacer que el mundo sea mucho mejor -y también para impedir crisis futuras-.La gente piensa mucho, pero a veces piensa tanto que se le ocurren respuestas contradictorias.

Por cierto, lo que hace que una crisis sea profunda es precisamente la amplia variedad de diferentes diagnósticos y diferentes remedios. Las pasiones políticas generadas por los choques de interpretación suelen hacer que la crisis parezca irresoluble. Fueron esos conflictos, más que alguna falla técnica en el funcionamiento de la economía, lo que hizo que la Gran Depresión de los años 1930 fuera un acontecimiento sombrío y destructivo.

Las respuestas a una crisis entran en dos categorías. El primer tipo apunta a un reordenamiento institucional, de modo que se eliminen las ineficiencias y los incentivos perversos y la economía funcione de manera más aceitada y eficiente. El segundo enfoque, más radical, intenta mejorar no sólo la economía sino la manera en que se comporta la gente.

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