Estados Unidos, el problema del FMI

La reunión del FMI esta primavera, en la que se le otorgó a los funcionarios un nuevo mandato de “vigilancia” de los desequilibrios comerciales que contribuyen en buena medida a la inestabilidad global, fue aclamada como un gran logro. La nueva misión es de vital importancia, tanto para la salud de la economía global como para la propia legitimidad del FMI. Ahora bien, ¿el Fondo está en condiciones de realizar esta tarea?

Obviamente, un sistema financiero global en el que el país más rico del mundo, Estados Unidos, pide prestados más de 2.000 millones de dólares por día a países más pobres –aún cuando los alecciona sobre los principios de la buena gobernancia y la responsabilidad fiscal- tiene algo de peculiar. De modo que la apuesta para el FMI, que está encargado de asegurar la estabilidad financiera global, es alta: si otros países llegaran a perder confianza en un país cada vez más endeudado como Estados Unidos, las potenciales conmociones en los mercados financieros del mundo serían masivas.

La tarea que enfrenta el FMI es monumental. Por supuesto, será importante que el Fondo se concentre en los desequilibrios globales, no en los desequilibrios bilaterales. En un sistema comercial multilateral, los grandes déficits comerciales bilaterales muchas veces se ven compensados por excedentes bilaterales con otros países. China puede querer petróleo de Oriente Medio, pero en Oriente Medio –con tanta riqueza concentrada en tan pocas manos- pueden estar más interesados en carteras Gucci que en las mercancías de producción masiva de China. De manera que China puede tener un déficit comercial con Oriente Medio y un excedente comercial con Estados Unidos, pero estos equilibrios bilaterales no revelan nada sobre el aporte general de China a los desequilibrios globales.

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