La retirada de la política macroeconómica

BERKELEY – Algo perturbador sobre estudiar historia económica es ver cómo las cosas que suceden en el presente cambian el pasado –o al menos lo que entendemos del pasado-. Durante décadas, siempre confiadamente les enseñé a mis alumnos sobre el ascenso de gobiernos que asumen la responsabilidad por el estado de la economía. Pero la reacción política a la Gran Recesión ha cambiado la manera en que deberíamos pensar sobre esta cuestión.

Los gobiernos antes de la Primera Guerra Mundial –y más, incluso, antes de la Segunda Guerra Mundial- no abrazaron la misión de minimizar el desempleo durante las crisis económicas. Hubo tres razones, todas las cuales se desvanecieron hacia el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Primero, hubo un lobby de moneda fuerte: una cantidad sustancial de personas ricas, socialmente influyentes y políticamente poderosas cuyas inversiones estaban colocadas abrumadoramente en bonos. Era poco lo que tenían personalmente en juego en utilización de alta capacidad y bajo desempleo, pero mucho en juego en precios estables. Querían una moneda fuerte por sobre todas las cosas.

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