¿Qué puede salvar al euro?

NUEVA YORK.– Justo cuando parecía que la situación no podía empeorar, la sensación es que lo ha hecho. Incluso algunos de los miembros ostensiblemente «responsables» de la zona del euro enfrentan tasas de interés más elevadas. Los economistas en ambos lados del Atlántico no solo discuten si el euro sobrevivirá, sino cómo garantizar que su desaparición cause la menor agitación posible.

Es cada vez más evidente que los líderes políticos europeos, a pesar de su compromiso con la supervivencia del euro, no cuentan con los conocimientos adecuados para lograr que la moneda única funcione. La idea que prevalecía cuando se estableció el euro era que lo único necesario era disciplina fiscal: ni el déficit fiscal ni la deuda pública de los países debían ser excesivos en relación a sus PBI. Pero Irlanda y España tenían superávits presupuestarios y deudas reducidas antes de la crisis, que rápidamente se convirtieron en grandes déficits y deudas elevadas. Así que ahora los líderes europeos dicen que son los déficits de la cuenta corriente de los países miembros de la zona del euro los que deben mantenerse controlados.

En ese caso, parece curioso que, a medida que la crisis continúa, el puerto seguro para los inversores globales sea Estados Unidos, que ha tenido un enorme déficit en su cuenta corriente durante años. Entonces, ¿cómo distinguirá la Unión Europea entre los «buenos» déficits de cuenta corriente –cuando un gobierno genera un clima de negocios favorable y flujos entrantes de inversión extranjera directa– y los «malos»? Evitar los malos déficits en la cuenta corriente exigirá una intervención mucho mayor en el sector privado que la postulada por las teorías neoliberales y de mercado único, de moda cuando se creó el euro.

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