Greek flag held by teenage boy Michael Debets/ZumaPress

Qué necesita Grecia para prosperar

NUEVA YORK – Algunos economistas pasan por alto la idea moderna de que la prosperidad de un país depende de la innovación y la capacidad emprendedora; asumen la visión mecanicista de que la prosperidad queda determinada por el empleo y que el empleo depende de la «demanda»: el gasto público, el consumo de los hogares y la inversión.

En el caso de Grecia, esos economistas sostienen que un desplazamiento de la política fiscal hacia la «austeridad» –una reducción del sector público– ha producido un grave déficit en la demanda y, con él, una depresión. Pero esta afirmación malinterpreta la historia y exagera el efecto del gasto público.

En gran medida, la caída del empleo en Grecia tuvo lugar antes de los bruscos recortes del gasto entre 2012 y 2014 (como resultado, sin dudas, de la estrepitosa caída de la confianza en el gobierno). El gasto trimestral del gobierno griego aumentó hasta estabilizarse alrededor de los 13,5 mil millones de EUR (14,8 mil millones de USD) en 2009-2012, antes de caer hasta aproximadamente 9,6 mil millones de EUR en 2014-2015. Sin embargo, la cantidad de trabajadores ocupados alcanzó su máximo de 4,5 millones en 2006-2009 y, para 2012, había caído a 3,6 millones. Para cuando Grecia comenzó a recortar su presupuesto, la tasa de desempleo –el 9,6 % de la población económicamente activa en 2009– ya había aumentado casi hasta su reciente nivel de 25,5 %.

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