¿Qué tipo de Banco Central?

BERKELEY – En términos generales, durante unos 115 años (y es probable que más), al menos desde la publicación en 1898 de Geldzins und Güterpreis (Intereses y precios), del economista sueco Knut Wicksell, los economistas se han dividido en dos campos con respecto a lo que es un banco central y cuáles son sus fines.

Uno de los campos, al que llamaremos el Campo Bancario, ve al banco central como un banco para banqueros. Sus clientes son los bancos; es el lugar al que pueden acudir para pedir préstamos cuando realmente lo necesiten, y sus funciones son apoyar al sector bancario de manera que los bancos puedan obtener ganancias con sus negocios. Por sobre todo, el banco central debe garantizar que la oferta de dinero sea lo suficientemente abundante como para impedir que los bancos se vean obligados a declararse en bancarrota por problemas de mera falta de liquidez, más que por insolvencia.

El otro campo, al que llamaremos el Campo Macroeconómico, considera que los bancos centrales conducen el conjunto de la economía. Su tarea es velar por el cumplimiento en la práctica de la Ley de Say: el principio de que la producción debe irse equilibrando mediante la demanda, sin que esta sea demasiado baja para lo que se produce (lo cual causaría desempleo) ni excesiva (lo que causaría inflación), ya que ciertamente se trata de una Ley que no se sustenta en el mundo teórico. En otras palabras, la responsabilidad principal de un banco central no es proteger la solidez de las entidades que forman el sector bancario, sino mantener el funcionamiento sólido del conjunto de la economía.

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