Haciéndole lugar a China

CAMBRIDGE – La moneda subvalorada y el gigantesco excedente comercial de China plantean grandes riesgos para la economía mundial. Amenazan con una importante reacción proteccionista en Estados Unidos y Europa, al tiempo que socavan la recuperación en los mercados en desarrollo y emergentes. Si no se los controla, generarán una creciente acrimonia entre China y otros países. Pero la solución no es, ni por cerca, tan simple como quieren hacerla parecer algunos expertos.

Si escuchamos lo que se dice en Washington y Bruselas, o lo que se lee en la prensa financiera, pensaríamos que estamos presenciando una clara obra de moralidad. Al decir de estos funcionarios y comentaristas, está en el propio interés de China permitir que se aprecie el renminbi. Después de todo, la economía china ya no puede basarse en la demanda externa y en las exportaciones para sustentar su asombroso crecimiento, y los consumidores chinos, que en promedio todavía son pobres, merecen un respiro y ser estimulados para gastar más que para ahorrar.

Esta historia coloca a los estrategas políticos de China en el papel de manipuladores malvados y desorientados de la moneda que, inexplicablemente, optan por perjudicar no sólo al resto del mundo, sino también a su propia sociedad. De hecho, una apreciación del renminbi probablemente le asestaría un duro golpe al crecimiento de China, que esencialmente se basa en una receta simple y probada en el tiempo: fomentar la industrialización. La subvaloración de la moneda hoy es el principal instrumento del gobierno chino para subsidiar el sector industrial y otros sectores comerciales, y por lo tanto promover el crecimiento a través de un cambio estructural.

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