Il Dibattito Irrilevante sull’Austerità in Europa

BRUSSELS – Il sintomo più visibile della crisi della zona euro sono i premi di rischio, alti e variabili, che i paesi periferici devono ora pagare per il loro debito pubblico. Inoltre, uno studio autorevole, degli economisti americani Carmen Reinhart e Kenneth Rogoff, suggerisce che la crescita economica si abbassa nettamente quando il debito pubblico di un paese supera il 90% del PIL. Quindi la ricetta politica per risolvere la crisi sembra semplice: l’austerità. Si devono tagliare i disavanzi di bilancio per ridurre i livelli di debito.

Ma il dibattito circa l’austerità ed il costo di elevati livelli di debito pubblico non coglie un punto fondamentale: il debito pubblico nei confronti dei soggetti economici esteri è diverso dal debito contratto nei confronti di quelli interni. I soggetti esteri non possono votare per tasse più alte o spese minori necessarie per coprire i costi di servizio del debito. Inoltre, nel caso del debito interno, un tasso di interesse, o un premio di rischio più alti portano semplicemente a una maggiore redistribuzione all’interno del paese (dai contribuenti agli obbligazionisti). Al contrario, nel caso di debito estero, tassi di interesse più elevati portano ad una perdita di benessere per il paese nel suo complesso, perché il governo deve trasferire risorse all’estero, il che di solito richiede una combinazione delle misure di deprezzamento del tasso di cambio e di riduzione della spesa nazionale.

Questa distinzione tra debito estero ed interno è particolarmente importante nel contesto della crisi dell’euro, perché i paesi della zona euro non possono svalutare per aumentare le esportazioni, se questo è necessario a servire il debito estero. E l’evidenza conferma che la crisi dell’euro davvero non è dovuta al debito sovrano, ma al debito estero.

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