La errónea cura de austeridad

BERKELEY - El despilfarro fiscal no ha causado la crisis de la deuda soberana que envuelve a Europa, y la austeridad fiscal no la resolverá. Por el contrario, no ha hecho más que agravarla y ahora amenaza con derribar al euro y arrojar la economía global a otra caída en picada.

En 2007, España e Irlanda eran modelos de rectitud fiscal, con relaciones de deuda a PIB mucho más bajas que Alemania. A los inversores no les preocupaba el riesgo de impago de la deuda soberana de estos países, ni el desmesurado tamaño de la deuda soberana de Italia. De hecho, Italia mostraba la menor relación de déficit respecto al PIB de la eurozona, y el gobierno italiano no tenía ningún problema para refinanciar a atractivas tasas de interés. Hasta Grecia, a pesar de una competitividad que se iba erosionando rápidamente y una senda presupuestaria cada vez más insostenible, era capaz de atraer el capital que necesitaba.

Engañados por la convergencia de los rendimientos de los bonos tras el lanzamiento del euro, los inversores impulsaron un auge del crédito del sector privado de más de una década de duración en los países europeos periféricos menos desarrollados. No advirtieron las burbujas inmobiliarias en España e Irlanda, ni la deriva de Grecia hacia la insolvencia. Cuando el crecimiento se desaceleró fuertemente y los flujos de crédito se secaron tras la Gran Recesión, los ingresos presupuestarios se desplomaron, los gobiernos se vieron obligados a socializar los pasivos del sector privado, y aumentaron fuertemente el déficit fiscal y la deuda.

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