El paso a medias del FMI

BOSTON – «Lo que antes era herejía hoy se sostiene como ortodoxia», John Maynard Keynes observó en 1944, después de ayudar a convencer a los líderes del mundo para que el recién instaurado Fondo Monetario Internacional permitiese que la regulación de los flujos financieros internacionales se conservase como un derecho central de sus estados miembros. Para la década de 1970, sin embargo, el FMI y las potencias occidentales comenzaron a desmantelar la teoría y la práctica de la regulación de los flujos mundiales de capital. En la década de 1990, el Fondo llegó incluso a cambiar sus Artículos de Acuerdo para ordenar la desregulación de las finanzas transfronterizas.

Con gran fanfarria, el FMI recientemente adoptó una nueva «mirada institucional» que aparentemente apoya la vuelta a la regulación de las finanzas globales. Si bien el Fondo mantiene su compromiso con una eventual liberalización financiera, ahora reconoce que la base intelectual del libre movimiento del capital es mucho más débil que la correspondiente al libre comercio.

En particular, el FMI ahora reconoce que la liberalización de la cuenta de capital exige que los países alcancen un cierto umbral respecto de sus instituciones financieras y de gobierno, y que muchos mercados emergentes y países en desarrollo no lo han logrado. En términos más básicos, el Fondo ha aceptado que los flujos financieros transfronterizos presentan riesgos además de beneficios, en especial fuertes aumentos repentinos en el ingreso de fondos seguidos por bruscas interrupciones, que pueden causar una elevada inestabilidad económica.

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