La anticuada independencia de los bancos centrales

BUENOS AIRES – La crisis financiera mundial ha planteado cuestiones fundamentales sobre los mandatos de los bancos centrales. En los últimos decenios, la mayoría de los bancos centrales se han centrado en la estabilidad de los precios como único y primordial objetivo. Con ello han apoyado la preponderancia de los “objetivos de inflación” como marco normativo preferente para la política monetaria y, a su vez, han propiciado la independencia operativa de los bancos centrales. Esa política ha dado resultado: la disciplina impuesta por la concentración estricta y rigurosa en un único objetivo ha permitido a las autoridades controlar –y vencer– la inflación.

Pero, a consecuencia de ese estricto planteamiento, las autoridades desatendieron la formación de burbujas de precios de los activos y los productos básicos y pasaron por alto la inestabilidad resultante en el sector bancario, cosa que por sí sola requiere un examen de la eficacia global de los objetivos de inflación. Además, después de que estallara la crisis financiera los bancos centrales se sintieron cada vez más obligados a abandonar los objetivos de inflación y a aplicar una infinidad de medidas monetarias heterodoxas para mitigar las consecuencias del desplome y facilitar la recuperación económica.

Como las economías avanzadas están luchando para evitar el colapso financiero, librarse de la recesión, reducir el desempleo y recuperar el crecimiento, se pide a los bancos centrales que aborden, a veces simultáneamente, los desequilibrios en aumento, lo que ha desencadenado la búsqueda de una nueva formulación radical de sus objetivos y ha despertado dudas sobre la idoneidad de mantener su independencia.

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