Stagnazione intenzionale

NEW YORK – Subito dopo lo scoppio della crisi finanziaria globale nel 2008, avevo messo in guardia sul fatto che, se non fossero state adottate le giuste politiche, avrebbe potuto subentrare un malessere in stile giapponese – lenta crescita e redditi quasi stagnanti per gli anni a venire. Pur affermando di aver imparato la lezione del Giappone, i leader sui due versanti dell’Atlantico si apprestavano prontamente a ripetere alcuni errori. Ora, anche l’ex segretario al Tesoro americano, l’autorevole economista Larry Summers, parla del pericolo di una stagnazione secolare.

Il punto che sollevai mezzo secolo fa era che fondamentalmente l’economia americana era malata già prima della crisi: è stata solo una bolla immobiliare, creata attraverso una regolamentazione lassista e bassi tassi di interesse, a far sembrare l’economia robusta. Sotto la superficie si nascondevano numerosi problemi: una crescente disuguaglianza, un’evidente necessità di riforme strutturali (per passare da un’economia basata sul manifatturiero ai servizi e per adattarsi ai nuovi vantaggi comparativi globali), squilibri globali persistenti e un sistema finanziario più concentrato a speculare che a fare investimenti finalizzati a creare posti di lavoro, aumentare la produttività e reimpiegare i surplus per massimizzare i rendimenti sociali.

La risposta dei policy maker alla crisi non è riuscita ad affrontare questi temi; e peggio ancora, ne ha esacerbati alcuni creandone di nuovi – e non solo negli Usa. Il risultato è stato un elevato livello di indebitamento in molti Paesi, a fronte del crollo del Pil e delle minori entrate pubbliche. Inoltre, gli investimenti inadeguati sia nel settore pubblico che privato hanno creato una generazione di giovani che hanno trascorso anni nell’apatia e in un senso di alienazione in un punto della loro vita in cui avrebbero dovuto affinare le competenze e incrementare la propria produttività.

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