L’ombra della depressione

BERKELEY – È capitato ben quattro volte nel secolo passato che una buona parte del mondo industriale cadesse in una lunga e profonda depressione caratterizzata da una forte disoccupazione: gli Stati Uniti negli anni 30, l’Europa occidentale industrializzata negli anni 30, di nuovo l’Europa occidentale negli anni 80 e il Giappone negli anni 90. Due di queste congiunture sfavorevoli – quella dell’Europa occidentale negli anni 80 e quella del Giappone negli anni 90 – hanno gettato un’enorme ombra sulle future performance economiche.

In entrambi i casi, se l’Europa o il Giappone ricadessero (o mai ricadranno) in un trend di pre-recessione di crescita economia, amp#160;ciò avverrebbe (o avverrà) tra decenni. In un terzo caso, l’Europa alla fine degli anni 30, non sappiamo cosa sarebbe accaduto se l’Europa non fosse diventata un campo di battaglia a seguito dell’invasione della Polonia per mano della Germania nazista.

In un solo esempio il trend di crescita di lungo periodo lasciò indisturbati: la produzione e l’occupazione americana dopo la Seconda Guerra mondiale non furono colpite in modo significativo dall’impatto macroeconomico della Grande Depressione. Se non ci fosse stata mobilitazione per la Seconda Guerra mondiale, probabilmente la Grande Depressione avrebbe gettato un’ombra sulla crescita economica americana dopo gli anni 40. La situazione era esattamente questa alla fine degli anni 30, con elevati livelli di disoccupazione strutturale e uno stock di capitali inferiore al trend, prima che la mobilitazione e le guerre in Europa e nel Pacifico iniziassero sul serio.

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