Wilbur Ross Joe Raedle/Getty Images

¿El analfabetismo económico desatará una guerra comercial?

NUEVA YORK – Casi 100 días después de que el presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump, asumió el cargo, él y su secretario de Comercio, Wilbur Ross, siguen adelante con una falacia económica que los estudiantes de economía de primer año aprenden a evitar. Sostienen que el déficit de cuenta corriente (o déficit comercial) norteamericano, que en realidad es el resultado de una tasa de ahorro baja y menguante de Estados Unidos, es un indicador de prácticas comerciales injustas por parte de Alemania y China, dos países con excedente de cuenta corriente. Su ignorancia económica podría acabar siendo un desastre.

La balanza de cuenta corriente, que mide la balanza comercial de bienes, servicios, ingreso neto de factores y pagos de transferencias del exterior, es igual al ahorro nacional menos la inversión doméstica. Eso no es una teoría. Es una identidad, de no ser por cualquier discrepancia estadística entre el producto interior bruto (PIB) y el ingreso nacional bruto (INB). Es así no importa si uno es liberal o conservador, populista o convencional, keynesiano o si defiende la teoría de la oferta. Hasta Trump y todo su arte de la negociación no pueden cambiarlo. Sin embargo, él amenaza con una guerra comercial por déficits que reflejan el propio desequilibrio de ahorro e inversión de Estados Unidos.

Un país tiene un déficit de cuenta corriente si la inversión supera el ahorro nacional y tiene un excedente cuando la inversión es inferior al ahorro nacional. En el caso de un país con una cuenta corriente equilibrada, puede surgir un déficit si su tasa de inversión aumenta, si su tasa de ahorro cae o si ocurre alguna combinación de ambas.

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