El peligroso oficio de hacer profecías

BERKELEY – Los economistas que estamos empapados de historia económica y financiera (y que conocemos la historia del pensamiento económico en lo concerniente a las crisis financieras y sus efectos) tenemos motivos para estar orgullosos de nuestros análisis de los últimos cinco años. Fuimos capaces de comprender hacia dónde iba la economía, porque sabíamos por dónde había andado antes.

En particular, entendimos que la combinación entre una rápida apreciación en el mercado inmobiliario y un alto grado de apalancamiento planteaba riesgos para la macroeconomía. Nos dimos cuenta de que cuando la burbuja estallara, las instituciones financieras apalancadas sufrirían grandes pérdidas en sus activos (que causarían una huida de los inversores en busca de seguridad) y que para evitar una depresión profunda se necesitaba la intervención activa del Estado como prestamista de última instancia.

De hecho, entendimos que probablemente los remedios monetaristas resultarían insuficientes; que la solvencia de los estados soberanos necesita garantías mutuas; y que una retirada apresurada del apoyo implicaba enormes riesgos. Sabíamos que todo intento prematuro de alcanzar el equilibrio fiscal a largo plazo agravaría la crisis en el corto plazo (con efectos contraproducentes en el largo plazo). Y comprendimos que nos enfrentábamos a la amenaza de una recuperación sin empleo, provocada por factores cíclicos más que por cambios estructurales.

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