Paul Lachine

La larga vida del dólar

NUEVA DELHI – La actual crisis económica y los constantes déficits de los Estados Unidos hacen que cada vez más se ponga en duda el papel del dólar como divisa de referencia mundial. Las medidas que se han hecho recientemente para internacionalizar el renminbi chino han conducido a una anticipación del cambio inminente en el sistema monetario global. Muchos economistas destacados, incluidos los miembros de un panel de las Naciones Unidas, que encabeza el economista galardonado con el Premio Nobel, Joseph Stiglitz, están aconsejando un “sistema mundial de reservas” para sustituir la hegemonía del dólar. Sin embargo, la larga historia de divisas de referencia globales sugiere que los días del dólar como moneda líder no van acabar pronto.

En tiempos antiguos, India tuvo un gran superávit comercial con el imperio romano. Como escribió Plinio en el Siglo I, “No hubo un solo año en el que India no se llevara de Roma 50 millones de sestercios.” Ese desequilibrio comercial implicaba una fuga constante de moneda de plata y oro, lo que provocó escasez de estos metales en Roma. En vocabulario moderno, los romanos se enfrentaron a una restricción monetaria.

Roma respondió reduciendo el contenido de plata y oro (el antiguo equivalente de la monetización), que condujo a una inflación sostenida en el imperio. Sin embargo, el descubrimiento frecuente de monedas romanas en la India sugiere que la moneda romana se siguió aceptando internacionalmente mucho tiempo después de que resultara obvio que su contenido de oro o plata había disminuido.

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