La desigualdad está acabando con el capitalismo

LONDRES – Hay un consenso general de que los créditos bancarios excesivos provocaron la crisis de 2008-2009, y que la imposibilidad para recuperarse adecuadamente de dicha recesión radica en el rechazo de los bancos a otorgar créditos debido a sus hojas de balance “quebradas”.

La historia típica preferida de partidarios de Friedrich von Hayek y la escuela austriaca de economía cuenta que en el periodo previo a la crisis los bancos ofrecieron más créditos a los prestatarios de lo que los ahorradores habrían estado dispuestos a dar, gracias al crédito barato que dieron los bancos centrales, en particular, la Reserva Federal estadounidense. El dinero de los bancos centrales abundaba en los bancos comerciales, que daban créditos para muchos proyectos malos de inversión, y la explosión de la innovación financiera (especialmente de instrumentos derivados) estimulaba el frenesí crediticio.

Esta pirámide invertida de deuda se colapsó cuando la Reserva finalmente frenó la fiebre de gasto mediante un aumento de las tasas de interés. (La Reserva incrementó la tasa de los fondos federales de referencia de 1% en 2004 a 5.25% en 2006 y así la mantuvo hasta agosto de 2007). Como resultado, los precios de las viviendas cayeron dejando una estela de bancos zombis (cuyos pasivos superaban por mucho sus activos) y arruinaron a los prestatarios.

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