Los riesgos que entrañan los relatos para la economía mundial

TOKIO – Las fluctuaciones en las economías del mundo se deben en gran medida a las historias que oímos y contamos sobre ellas. Esos relatos populares y económicamente relevantes a veces nos mueven a salir y gastar, crear empresas, construir nuevas fábricas y edificios de oficinas y contratar a empleados; en otros momentos, nos infunden miedo y nos incitan a permanecer sentados, guardar nuestros recursos, limitar los gastos y reducir el riesgo: o estimulan nuestra exuberancia vital o la amortiguan.

En mi presente visita al Japón para una gira de conferencias, me asombran los efectos positivos que tienen las historias relacionadas con la economía en el pensamiento y el comportamiento de las personas y también lo frágil que es ese cambio. Desde que el Primer Ministro Shinzo Abe ocupó el cargo en diciembre de 2012 y lanzó su programa de estímulo monetario y fiscal y de reforma estructural, el efecto en la confianza de los japoneses ha sido profundo. Según el Fondo Monetario Internacional, el desfase en la producción –la diferencia entre el PIB real y el potencial– se ha reducido de -3.6% en 2011 a -0.9% en 2013.

La mayor parte del resto del mundo carece de un relato amplio y fácil de comprender de un cambio positivo similar a la “abenomía”. El desfase de la producción de la mayoría de las más importantes economías avanzadas del mundo, calculado por el FMI, sigue siendo decepcionante, con su -3,2 por ciento en 2013, es decir, menos de la mitad del normal en 2009, el año peor de la crisis financiera mundial, cuando el desfase era de -5,3 por ciento.

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