La falsa promesa de las tasas de interés negativas

LONDRES – Como biógrafo y estudioso de John Maynard Keynes, a veces me preguntan: “¿Qué pensaría Keynes sobre las tasas de interés negativas?”

Es una buena pregunta, una que recuerda un acápite del libro de Keynes La teoría general en el cual señala que si el gobierno para solucionar el problema del desempleo no puede pensar en algo que sea más sensato (por ejemplo, digamos, construir viviendas), se podría considerar como hacer algo enterrar botellas llenas de papel moneda y desenterrarlas nuevamente, en vez de no hacer nada. Probablemente, Keynes hubiese dicho lo mismo acerca de las tasas de interés negativas: son una medida desesperada que toman los gobiernos que no pueden pensar en ninguna otra medida.

Las tasas de interés negativas son simplemente el más reciente esfuerzo infructuoso desde que sobrevino la crisis financiera mundial del año 2008 para reactivar las economías a través de medidas monetarias. Cuando mediante el recorte de las tasas de interés a niveles históricamente bajos no se logró reactivar el crecimiento, los bancos centrales adoptaron la llamada flexibilización cuantitativa: la inyección de liquidez en las economías mediante la compra de bonos gubernamentales y otros bonos de largo plazo. Esta medida fue parcialmente beneficiosa; sin embargo, los vendedores en su mayoría se quedaron con el dinero en efectivo, en lugar de gastar o invertir dicho dinero.

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