La economía del miedo

La economía global parece estar caminando sobre agua, haciendo poco caso a los altísimos precios del petróleo, la parálisis de las políticas en Europa, el insostenible endeudamiento de los Estados Unidos y los precios de las viviendas, que han llegado a un máximo histórico. ¿Es esto así porque, como los líderes del G-8 quisieran hacernos creer, los inversionistas se encuentran en un excelente estado de ánimo, confiados en la conducción de la economía global por parte de sus gobernantes? ¿O estamos siendo gobernados por una patología del miedo, alimentada por sucesos tales como los recientes atentados en Londres, que está manteniendo bajas las tasas de interés de largo plazo y ocultando así una multitud de problemas en ciernes?

Es demasiado evidente el papel de las tasas de largo plazo fenomenalmente bajas (ajustadas a la inflación) para cubrir un sinnúmero de debilidades de la economía global. La gran alza de los precios de las viviendas en todo el mundo está apuntalando la demanda de los consumidores en varios países y, según un reciente estudio del Fondo Monetario Internacional, la continua baja de las tasas de interés de largo plazo explica dos tercios o más del aumento global de los precios. Europa se ha beneficiado menos, pero sus economías estarían mucho peor si las tasas de interés de largo plazo volvieran a alcanzar su promedio de los últimos 25 años.

De manera similar, América Latina ha estado viviendo un auge económico en los años recientes, a pesar del alto endeudamiento y el irregular historial de reformas de sus políticas. Las bajas tasas de interés de largo plazo han mantenido las deudas de la región en un nivel manejable, mientras la alta demanda de los consumidores ha ayudado a aumentar la oferta de precios para las exportaciones de mercancías básicas de la región.

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