Ganar la partida de la confianza

NEW HAVEN – El 2 de abril, el G-20 celebrará una cumbre en Londres para examinar lo que será –hemos de esperar– un plan internacionalmente coordinado para abordar la crisis económica mundial, pero, ¿puede funcionar de verdad semejante plan?

El problema básico es, naturalmente, la confianza. Todo el mundo, tanto consumidores como inversores, están anulando planes de gasto en todas partes, porque ahora mismo la economía mundial parece muy peligrosa. Lo mismo ocurrió durante la Gran Depresión del decenio de 1930. Un observador contemporáneo, Winthrop Case, lo explicó todo en 1938: la reactivación económica dependía “de la buena voluntad de los compradores individuales y empresariales para hacer adquisiciones que necesariamente vinculan sus recursos durante un período considerable de tiempo. Para las personas, entraña confianza en su empleo, lo que, a fin de cuentas, remite a la propia confianza de los dirigentes industriales”. Lamentablemente, la confianza no volvió hasta que la segunda guerra mundial acabó con la depresión.

Para que los dirigentes que se reunirán en Londres tengan éxito en aquello en lo que fracasaron los gobiernos en el decenio de 1930, deben comprometerse con un objetivo presupuestario que sea suficiente para restablecer el pleno empleo en condiciones crediticias normales. Deben comprometerse también  con un objetivo crediticio que restablezca la normalidad de los préstamos. Mientras los ciudadanos no tengan un puesto de trabajo y un acceso normal al crédito, no gastarán con normalidad. Durante la Gran Depresión, no se recurrió a esos objetivos en una escala suficientemente grande, con lo que simplemente se avivó la falta de esperanza pública en que las políticas de estímulo llegaran a dar resultado jamás.

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