Il fantasma del futuro inflazionistico

DIJON – Con tutti i problemi che oggi affliggono l’economia mondiale, l’inflazione sembra l’ultima delle nostre preoccupazioni. Nell’affrontare il malessere economico successivo al 2008, che scaturisce dall’eccessivo indebitamento, i policy maker fanno bene a focalizzarsi sulla minaccia della deflazione del debito, che può portare alla depressione.

Ma liquidare l’inflazione come “il problema di ieri” potrebbe compromettere gli sforzi fatti dalle banche centrali per affrontare le questioni più pressanti di oggi e per agevolare la ripresa dell’inflazione. Comprendere come è stata domata la Grande Inflazione scoppiata tra la fine degli anni Sessanta e l’inizio degli anni Ottanta offre degli insegnamenti importanti per la risoluzione dei grandi problemi economici, per quanto diversi dai nostri, e dà l’idea dei pericoli che ci attendono.

La prima lezione utile riguarda le aspettative. Nei decenni successivi la Seconda guerra mondiale, il pensiero economico era dominato dalla dottrina secondo cui l’inflazione dovesse essere barattata con l’occupazione – sulla base della relazione scritta da William Phillips nel 1958. Ma la curva di Phillips ha mostrato scarsi risultati negli anni Settanta, quando molti Paesi hanno sperimentato la “stagflazione” (elevati livelli di inflazione e disoccupazione).

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