Paul Lachine

L’America fatica a riprendersi

CAMBRIDGE – Mentre l’economia american si avvicina zoppicando al secondo anniversario dalla bancarotta di Lehman Brothers, la crescita anemica lascia sprofondare la disoccupazione al 10%, lasciando scarse prospettive di notevole miglioramento nell’immediato futuro. Non sorprende che, in vista delle elezioni di metà mandato fissate per il prossimo novembre, gli americani siano adirati e si chiedano perché le politiche di stimolo iper-aggressive del governo non abbiamo cambiato le cose. Cosa si può fare allora, sempre che qualcosa si possa fare?

La giusta risposta – che pochi elettori vogliono sentire – è che non esiste una bacchetta magica. Ci è voluto più un decennio per scavare il buco in cui siamo finiti oggi, e servirà dell’altro tempo per risalire. Come abbiamo avvertito io e Carmen Reinhart nel nostro libro del 2009 sulla storia ottocentenaria delle crisi finanziarie (con l’ironico titolo “This Time is Different”), una ripresa lenta e prolungata con un’elevata disoccupazione sostenuta è la norma dopo una profonda crisi finanziaria.

Perchè è così dura far crescere rapidamente l’occupazione dopo una crisi finanziaria? Una ragione, naturalmente, è che il sistema finanziario ha bisogno di tempo per risanarsi – e di conseguenza serve anche del tempo per far fluire nuovamente il credito. Alimentare i giganti finanziari con i vasti fondi dei contribuenti non risolve il problema di fondo dell’eccessivo indebitamento della società. Gli americani si sono indebitati e hanno speso a più non posso, pensando che il continuo aumento dei prezzi del mercato immobiliare avrebbe lavato via tutti i peccati finanziari. Il resto del mondo ha riversato denaro negli Stati Uniti, facendo sembrare il tutto a costo zero.

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