La exagerada muerte de la inflación

CAMBRIDGE – ¿Hemos llegado al fin de la época de los altos índices inflacionarios? Hoy en día, cuando el mundo crece con lentitud, los niveles de deuda son elevados y existen tremendas presiones distributivas, es importante saber si la inflación se ha acabado o está meramente latente. Es cierto que las importantes mejoras institucionales a los bancos centrales han creado enormes barreras a que la inflación alcance niveles altos. Pero, en último término, parte importante de la credibilidad de un banco central deriva del contexto macroeconómico más amplio en el que se enmarca.

En la primera mitad de la década de los 90, el promedio de inflación anual era de un 40% en África, un 230% en América Latina y un 360% en las economías en transición de Europa del Este. Y, a principios de los 80, el promedio en las economías desarrolladas era de cerca de un 10%. Hoy la alta inflación parece tan remota que muchos analistas la ven poco más que como una curiosidad teórica.

Se equivocan. No importa de qué maneras los bancos centrales pueden querer presentar la tasa de inflación como una mera decisión tecnocrática: en última instancia, es una elección social. Y algunas de las presiones que ayudaron a contener la inflación durante las últimas dos décadas están desapareciendo.

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