La raíz de todas las crisis de deuda soberana

NUEVA YORK – Ante la crisis crediticia de Grecia, muchos se preguntan si el euro podrá sobrevivir sin una centralización de la política fiscal (algo casi inimaginable). Pero hay una solución más fácil. Los gobiernos no pueden endeudarse irresponsablemente en los mercados de crédito internacionales si no hay alguien dispuesto a prestar irresponsablemente. De modo que las autoridades encargadas de vigilar a los bancos deberían impedir que las instituciones bajo su control otorguen créditos de esa manera.

Prestar dinero a gobiernos extranjeros es, en muchos sentidos, inherentemente más arriesgado que invertir en títulos de deuda privada no asegurados o en bonos basura. Cuando un ente privado necesita un préstamo, por lo general debe empeñar algún tipo de garantía, por ejemplo, una vivienda. La garantía sirve para limitar el riesgo de pérdida del inversor, a la vez que el temor a perder los activos empeñados incentiva a los deudores a actuar con prudencia.

Pero los gobiernos no ofrecen garantías, y su principal incentivo a devolver lo prestado (el temor de perder acceso a los mercados de crédito internacionales) se deriva de una adicción perversa. Los gobiernos que están obligados a pedir una y otra vez grandes sumas de dinero en el extranjero son precisamente aquellos que muestran una incapacidad crónica de financiarse con impuestos internos o con préstamos en el mercado local. La necesidad imperiosa de recurrir a inversores extranjeros suele ser resultado de un desgobierno profundamente enraizado.

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