Japan train subway inside rush hour Amir Jina/Flickr

La política económica al revés

NEW HAVEN – La economía mundial está atrapada en un peligroso engaño. Cuando la gran bonanza iniciada en los noventa dio paso a un derrumbe todavía mayor, las autoridades apelaron a viejos trucos de ingeniería financiera con la esperanza de recuperar la magia. Al hacerlo, convirtieron una economía global desequilibrada en el matraz del mayor experimento de política económica de la historia moderna. Estaban convencidos de que era un experimento controlado, pero fue todo lo contrario.

El ascenso y la caída de Japón tras la Segunda Guerra Mundial fue un anuncio de lo que vendría. El milagro de crecimiento de una economía japonesa en ascenso se basó en una insostenible represión del yen. Cuando en 1985 Europa y Estados Unidos desafiaron esta metodología mercantilista con el Acuerdo del Plaza, el Banco de Japón respondió con una resuelta política de flexibilización monetaria que impulsó enormes burbujas crediticias y de activos.

El resto es historia conocida. Las burbujas estallaron y la desequilibrada economía japonesa se derrumbó rápidamente. Con su productividad considerablemente deteriorada (un síntoma que las burbujas habían ocultado), Japón fue incapaz de orquestar una recuperación significativa. De hecho, todavía hoy se enfrenta a desequilibrios debidos a su falta de capacidad o voluntad de encarar reformas estructurales imprescindibles (la denominada “tercera flecha” de la estrategia de recuperación económica del primer ministro Shinzo Abe, la “Abenomics”).

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