El fantasma de la inflación futura

DIJON – Con todos los problemas que aquejan a la economía mundial en la actualidad, la inflación parece ser la menor de nuestras preocupaciones. Al abordar el malestar económico posterior al año 2008, que surge del exceso de endeudamiento, los responsables del diseño de políticas están en lo correcto al centrarse en la amenaza de la deflación de la deuda, que puede conducir a la depresión.

Sin embargo, descartar a la inflación como “un problema del pasado” podría socavar los esfuerzos de los bancos centrales para hacer frente a los problemas más acuciantes de la actualidad – y, por último, facilitar el resurgimiento de la inflación. Comprender cómo se contuvo la Gran Inflación de finales de la década de 1960 hasta principios de 1980 ofrece importantes lecciones para hacer frente a los problemas económicos de largo alcance, por muy diferentes que los nuestros puedan ser, y proporciona una idea de los peligros que pueden encontrarse más adelante.

La primera lección útil se relaciona con las expectativas. En las décadas posteriores la Segunda Guerra Mundial, la doctrina sobre que la inflación y el empleo tenían que contraponerse y compensarse dominó el pensamiento económico – sobre la base de la relación que William Phillips describió en el año 1958 [William Phillips described in 1958]. Sin embargo, en la década de 1979 le fue mal a la curva de Phillips, cuando muchos países atravesaron por una “estanflación” (altos niveles tanto de inflación como de desempleo).

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