Riesaminare la crisi della Fed

BERKELEY – Leggendo le trascrizioni delle riunioni del 2008 del Comitato federale del mercato aperto (FOMC) della Federal Reserve, da poco pubblicate, mi sono ritrovato a pormi la stessa, importante domanda che mi ero già posto in passato: da cosa è dipesa l'ottusa mentalità dimostrata dal suddetto comitato mentre scoppiava la crisi?

Certamente, all'epoca c'era chi avesse compreso la realtà della situazione. Come sottolinea Jon Hilsenrath del Wall Street Journal, William Dudley, l'allora vice presidente esecutivo del gruppo dei mercati della Fed di New York, presentò uno studio che cercava, in maniera garbata e convincente, di portare l'attenzione dei dirigenti lì dove avrebbe dovuto concentrarsi. E non vi è dubbio che Janet Yellen, Donald Kohn, Eric Rosengren e Frederic Mishkin, membri del FOMC anch'essi, insieme al consiglio di amministrazione di Washington, recepirono il messaggio. Ma gli altri otto membri del FOMC e il resto della dirigenza? Non altrettanto (sebbene in misura molto diversa).

Scorrendo le trascrizioni, mi è tornato in mente un lungo pezzo di storia che risale al 1825, e anche più addietro, in cui il fallimento incontrollato delle grandi banche generò il panico, un rapido spostamento di capitali verso investimenti più sicuri, il crollo dei prezzi delle attività e un periodo di depressione. Eppure, nel rapporto del FOMC della metà di settembre del 2008, molti membri del comitato esprimono autocompiacimento per aver trovato la forza di prendere l'incomprensibile decisione di non salvare la Lehman Brothers.

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