Um Banco Central de Quem?

BERKELEY – Em termos gerais, desde há pelo menos 115 anos (e possivelmente desde há mais tempo) – isto é, pelo menos desde 1898, com a publicação de Geldzins und Güterpreis (Juro e Preços) do economista Sueco Knut Wicksell – os economistas dividiram-se em dois campos, no que respeita à natureza de um banco central e às finalidades que deve servir.

Um campo, que poderemos chamar de Campo Bancário, encara um banco central como um banco para banqueiros. Os seus clientes são os bancos; é um sítio onde os bancos podem ir para pedir dinheiro emprestado quando realmente precisam; e as suas funções são as de apoiar o sector bancário, de modo a que os bancos possam ter os seus devidos lucros quando levam a cabo os seus devidos negócios. Acima de tudo, o banco central deve garantir que a oferta de moeda é suficientemente grande para que a falta de liquidez, mais do que a insolvência, não leve os bancos à falência e à liquidação.

O outro campo, chamemos-lhe o Campo Macroeconómico, encara os bancos centrais como defensores da economia como um todo. A função de um banco central é a de defender, na prática, a Lei de Say – o princípio de que existe um equilíbrio entre a oferta e a procura, sem que haja procura a menos para adquirir o que é produzido (o que causaria desemprego) nem a mais (o que causaria inflação) – porque a Lei de Say, na verdade, não funciona na teoria. Por outras palavras, a principal responsabilidade de um banco central não é a de preservar a saúde das empresas que constituem o sector bancário, mas sim de manter o funcionamento robusto da economia como um todo.

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