La cura para la economía

NUEVA YORK – La crisis económica comenzada en 2007 continúa; mientras tanto, una pregunta obvia ronda las cabezas de todos: ¿por qué? Si no logramos una mejor comprensión de las causas de la crisis, no podremos implementar una estrategia eficaz de recuperación. Y por el momento, no tenemos ni lo uno ni lo otro.

Se nos dijo que fue una crisis financiera y que por eso los gobiernos de ambos lados del Atlántico se concentraron en los bancos. Se nos aseguró además que los programas de estímulo eran un paliativo temporal necesario para pasar el mal momento, hasta que el sector financiero se recuperara y resurgiera el crédito privado. Pero mientras el sector bancario tiene otra vez su rentabilidad y sus bonificaciones, el crédito no se ha recuperado, a pesar de que los tipos de interés a corto y largo plazo están en mínimos históricos.

Los bancos aseguran que lo que restringe el crédito es la falta de prestatarios confiables, producto del mal estado de la economía. Y algunos datos clave indican que tienen razón, al menos en parte. Después de todo, las empresas grandes atesoran unos cuantos billones de dólares en reservas de efectivo, o sea que no es la falta de dinero lo que les impide invertir y tomar trabajadores. Pero para algunas empresas pequeñas, quizá para muchas, la situación es muy diferente: están tan necesitadas de fondos que no pueden crecer, y muchas se ven obligadas a achicarse.

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