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El problema de los tipos de interés

BERKELEY – De todas las doctrinas y extrañas y novedosas expuestas desde el comienzo de la crisis financiera mundial, la propuesta por John Taylor, economista de Stanford, tiene bastantes puntos para que se la considere la más extraña. Ensu opinión, las políticas económicas posteriores a la crisis que se están aplicando en los Estados Unidos, Europa y el Japón están poniendo un tope a los tipos de interés a largo plazo que es “muy parecido al efecto de un precio máximo en un mercado de alquiler en el que los propietarios reducen la oferta de viviendas de alquiler”. Según sostiene Taylor, el resultado de unos tipos de interés bajos, la relajación cuantitativa y la orientación para el futuro, es una “reducción de la disponibilidad crediticia [que] disminuye la demanda agregada, lo que suele aumentar el desempleo: una clásica consecuencia no deseada”.

La analogía de Taylor carece de sentido en el nivel fundamental. La razón por la que el control de los alquileres no gusta es la de que prohíbe transacciones que beneficiarían tanto al inquilino como al propietario de la vivienda. Cuando un organismo gubernamental impone un precio máximo del alquiler, prohíbe a los propietarios de viviendas cobrar más de una cantidad fijada, lo que distorsiona el mercado, al dejar vacíos apartamentos que los propietarios estarían dispuestos a alquilar a precios mayores e impide a los inquilinos ofrecer lo que en verdad están dispuestos a pagar.

Con las políticas económicas que Taylor critica, ese mecanismo, sencillamente, no existe. Cuando un banco central reduce los tipos de interés a largo plazo mediante operaciones de mercado abierto actuales y futuras, no impide a los posibles prestadores ofrecerse a prestar con tipos de interés mayores; tampoco impide a los prestatarios aceptar semejante oferta. Esas transacciones no se producen por una razón sencilla: los prestatarios optan con libertad por no realizarlas.

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