La raya en la arena de los demócratas

BERKELEY—Desde la publicación de la obra de Frank Ramsey en 1928 los economistas han aceptado el argumento pragmático de que una buena economía es aquella en la que los rendimientos de la inversión no son un múltiplo demasiado grande –menos de tres– de la tasa de crecimiento económico por habitante. Una economía en la que los beneficios de la inversión son altos en comparación con la tasa de crecimiento es una economía que no está ahorrando ni invirtiendo suficientemente.

Esa idea ha engendrado la suposición poderosa de que, si una economía en conjunto no está ahorrando ni invirtiendo suficientemente, el gobierno debe contribuir a corregir ese problema obteniendo superávits y no empeorarlo con déficits que agotan el cúmulo de ahorros privados disponibles para financiar la inversión. Ésa es la razón por la que la mayoría de los economistas son partidarios de la línea dura en relación con los déficits.

Naturalmente, los gobiernos deben recurrir a los déficits en las depresiones para estimular la demanda y frenar el aumento del desempleo. Además, la mejor forma de considerar un gran gasto público de emergencia en partidas corrientes es como ahorro e inversión nacionales. Franklin Delano Roosevelt no podía haber hecho una mejor inversión para el futuro de los Estados Unidos y para el mundo que lanzar una guerra total contra Adolf Hitler. Asimismo, los presidentes George H. W. Bush y Bill Clinton deberían haber reconocido en el decenio de 1990 que algo parecido a un plan Marshall para la Europa oriental con vistas a contribuir a la transición del comunismo habría sido una inversión excelente para el futuro del mundo.

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