¿Es la inflación la batalla correcta?

BERKELEY – La Reserva Federal y otros bancos centrales están sufriendo presiones desde dos direcciones estos días: desde la izquierda, reciben presiones de hacer algo para expandir la demanda y mantener bajo el desempleo global; desde la derecha, los presionan para contraer la demanda y así poner rienda a la inflación.

Se trata de una situación que llama a que ocurran problemas, ya que uno de los dos diagnósticos debe de estar equivocado. Si los bancos centrales del mundo elevan los tipos de interés mientras el problema principal es una demanda global insuficiente, pueden causar una depresión. Si no elevan los tipos de interés cuando el problema principal es la inflación, pueden causar alzas en los precios, aumentando las expectativas inflacionarias y una terca espiral de precios y salarios como la de los años 70, que se puede detener sólo con una depresión posterior más profunda.
Creo que la izquierda está en lo correcto –esta vez- en el núcleo Nor-atlántico post-industrial de la economía global. Las cifras inflacionarias anunciadas son el único indicador de que el aumento de la inflación es un problema, o incluso una realidad. El índice de Costo del Empleo Estadounidense y otros indicadores de salarios nominales de los países desarrollados no muestran una aceleración del cambio. Y las medidas de "inflación dura" tampoco muestran signos de acelerar la inflación.

Estados Unidos vive una crisis financiera causada por las pérdidas hipotecarias que, con una política monetaria ordinaria, generaría una depresión o una severa recesión. En tiempos normales, la respuesta de la Reserva Federal -un estímulo extremadamente monetario- sería altamente inflacionaria. Pero estos no son tiempos normales. De hecho, la política monetaria de la Reserva Federal no ha sido suficiente para evitar una recesión en EE.UU., aunque la ha mantenido en un estado tan moderado que muchos dudan si pude calificarse como una bestia real.

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