¿Grecia lo logrará?

CAMBRIDGE – Grecia ha ganado algo de tiempo con un nuevo paquete de ayuda financiera, pero el país todavía no está fuera de peligro. Aún está por verse si las políticas de austeridad trucadas que prometió el gobierno del primer ministro George Papandreou resultarán políticamente aceptables y sustentables.

La historia sugiere que hay motivos para el escepticismo. En una democracia, cuando las demandas de los mercados financieros y los acreedores extranjeros chocan con las de los trabajadores, los pensionados y la clase media del país, suelen ser los locales los que tienen la última palabra.

La salida de Gran Bretaña del Patrón Oro en 1931 sigue siendo el hito histórico. Tras haber cometido el error de restablecer la paridad con el oro a un nivel que hizo que la economía desesperadamente perdiera competitividad, Gran Bretaña tuvo que luchar durante años contra la deflación y el creciente desempleo. Las industrias como la del carbón, el acero y la construcción de barcos se vieron muy afectadas, y los conflictos laborales proliferaron. Aún cuando el desempleo había alcanzado el 20%, el Banco de Inglaterra se vio obligado a mantener altas las tasas de interés para impedir una salida masiva del oro. Finalmente, la creciente presión de los mercados financieros hizo que el país abandonara el oro en septiembre de 1931.

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