EXCLUSIVO – JOSEPH STIGLITZ: “MACRI DEBERÍA PENSAR EN RESTRUCTURAR LA DEUDA”

Entrevista Exclusiva de Prensa Económica a JOSEPH STIGLITZ,  Premio Nobel, ex economista jefe del Banco Mundial.  El camino de la austeridad elegido por el gobierno argentino impondrá fuertes sacrificios a la población. En lugar de eso, Stiglitz recomienda no descartar una reestructuración de la deuda, por lo menos de los vencimientos […]

Entrevista Exclusiva de Prensa Económica a JOSEPH STIGLITZ,  Premio Nobel, ex economista jefe del Banco Mundial.

 El camino de la austeridad elegido por el gobierno argentino impondrá fuertes sacrificios a la población. En lugar de eso, Stiglitz recomienda no descartar una reestructuración de la deuda, por lo menos de los vencimientos más próximos.

El premio Nobel de Economía, Joseph Stiglitz, se ha ocupado cada tanto de la realidad económica argentina, de la que procura estar siempre informado al detalle.  En su momento aplaudió la manera en que el país logró superar la crisis de 2001, así como la salida del default.  En general tuvo una mirada condescendiente con la orientación económica kirchnerista, hasta 2011. Luego criticó acerbamente la gestión de la época Kicillof, en especial el retraso cambiario y la financiación inflacionaria del déficit fiscal.

Entrevistado por Prensa Económica, y ya en la era Macri, Stiglitz se muestra crítico en cuanto a medidas que considera demasiado arriesgadas o voluntaristas: “La economía seguía siendo vulnerable pese a los aplausos internacionales al comienzo de su gobierno. La duda era qué pasaría cuando cambiaran las condiciones internacionales o hubiera un tropiezo interno. Y bien, el momento llegó y Argentina no pasó la prueba”, dice el ex economista jefe del Banco Mundial.

Para Stiglitz, “la suma de errores cometidos, achica el margen de acción de la administración Macri, para dejar atrás la inestabilidad cambiaria, la recesión y el aumento de la pobreza”.

PROPUESTA DELICADA

En ese marco, Stiglitz se arriesga a realizar una propuesta por demás delicada: “El presidente Macri no debería descartar una reestructuración de la deuda del país”. Ante la objeción de que algo así excluiría a la Argentina del financiamiento internacional voluntario, el laureado economista responde que no tendría que ser necesariamente así e inclusive si ese fuera el caso “puede que no sea tan malo en comparación con la situación actual, en la que el gobierno se ve forzado a adoptar extremas medidas de austeridad para honrar la deuda.”

“Un reperfilamiento de esa deuda o hasta quizás una posible quita, aliviarían esas tensiones”.

Para el economista, el origen de los males actuales del país es que cuando Macri llegó al poder “confió demasiado en la idea de que habría un inmediato y fuerte ingreso de capital de inversión extranjera. En vez de eso, solo ingresaron capitales especulativos de corto plazo. A la vez, Argentina sufrió estanflación en 2016, seguida por una recuperación basada en endeudamiento en 2017. Eso llevó a un veloz aumento de las importaciones que no fue de la mano de un incremento proporcional de las exportaciones, lo que acrecentó el déficit de cuenta corriente al 4,6% del PIB y sembró dudas sobre las virtudes de la nueva estrategia”.

EL OTRO “GRAN ERROR”

Por otro lado, Stiglitz señala lo que, a su juicio fue otro “gran error”: “Se recortaron los impuestos a la exportación, que eran una importante fuente de ingresos. Las consecuencias fueron un  aumento del déficit, del monto que se tenía que tomar prestado, un alza del costo de los alimentos  y una consiguiente reducción de los salarios reales de los trabajadores”.

 “El Banco Central se ató a metas de inflación desacompasadas con la política fiscal y con tasas de interés que alentaron el ingreso de capital especulativo”.

El experto remarcó además que esas fueron medidas que aumentaron la desigualdad en la población, en la medida en que “se redujeron los impuestos que pagaban algunas de las personas más ricas del país y el precio lo terminaron pagando la clase media y los más pobres”.

“Ahora el gobierno subió los impuestos a las exportaciones como parte de su nuevo paquete.  Si lo hubiera hecho originalmente, no estaría en la situación extrema que está ahora. Pero, de todos modos, es un movimiento en la dirección correcta”, opinó.

   Por otro lado, Stiglitz  asignó al Banco Central una cuota importante de responsabilidad, al imponerse unas metas demasiado exigentes de reducción de la inflación,  desacompasadas de la política fiscal y con el solo instrumento de la tasa de interés. Esos altos tipos de interés alentaron el ingreso de capital especulativo, lo que agravó los desequilibrios externos y aumentó la vulnerabilidad de Argentina a shocks externos”.

“Lo que me preocupa es que una vez que se crea una crisis, como previsiblemente lo han hecho estas políticas de mala gestión, el margen de maniobra está muy limitado”, indicó.

LA DISYUNTIVA

En ese marco es que Stiglitz considera que las posibilidades ahora son ralentizar la economía -imponiendo el consiguiente costo a los consumidores-  o la reestructuración de la deuda.

Si esto último no se concreta, “los costos que probablemente se impongan a través de la austeridad serán demasiado grandes. Y esto es algo que deberían tener en cuenta inclusive los prestamistas en su propio interés”.

  “Ha habido  mucho optimismo irracional en el caso argentino, tanto de parte de los prestatarios como de los prestamistas”.

Por lo antedicho, Stiglitz  se inclina en la coyuntura por un “nuevo reperfilamiento de la deuda, lo que implica aplazar los pagos inmediatos”. Pero va más allá, al sospechar que, “dada la magnitud de los errores económicos que se han cometido en los últimos años, probablemente tendría que haber una quita en la deuda“.

El economista considera que hubo un aspecto positivo en que en los últimos años la Argentina fuera “excluída” de los mercados internacionales, ya que de este modo se evitó que volviera a endeudarse en el exterior: “Fue una especie de disciplina que hizo que Argentina enfrentara las realidades de las restricciones presupuestarias, no necesariamente de la mejor manera, porque también se cometieron graves errores, pero al menos se evitó una post-crisis”.

COMIDA PARA “BUITRES”

Stiglitz también es muy crítico de los términos en que la administración Macri acordó con los fondos “buitre”, al punto de calificarlos como un “enorme obsequio”. “Después de que el país sacrificó tanto, creo que lo que el gobierno terminó cediendo fue desmesurado y le planteó a Argentina un problema a futuro. Y luego los términos en los que ha pedido prestado también son inquietantes”, agregó.

“Cualquiera del lado del prestamista debería haber hecho el tipo de análisis que yo y otros hicimos: darse cuenta de que tal vez no era algo bueno. Obtuvieron tasas de interés más altas, una prima de riesgo, y cuando te pagan más por la prima de riesgo tienes que enfrentar el riesgo. Ahora es el momento”.

Al ser consultado por esta nueva etapa de la relación entre el país y el FMI, Stiglitz consideró que “los errores cometidos por el Fondo en el pasado fueron los de exigir una austeridad excesiva y la pérdida de autonomía económica nacional. Hay una enorme lista de condiciones que eran inapropiadas para un país en particular. La buena noticia es que en algunas negociaciones recientes el Fondo ha sido más flexible. En el caso de Grecia, han sido los defensores más firmes de la necesidad de reestructuración”.

No obstante, también advierte que este problema -que es particular de la Argentina–  podría llegar a contagiar a otros paises a través de diversos canales, especialmente porque en este momento hay algunos con grandes déficits de cuenta corriente, como Turquía, o grandes déficits presupuestarios.

EVITAR LA CRISIS DE DEUDA

En la visión del Premio Nobel, Cambiemos “todaví­a enfrenta el desafí­o de evitar una crisis de deuda”, por lo que recomienda continuar con la estrategia de reducción gradual del déficit fiscal primario “para proteger la actividad económica y rectificar las vulnerabilidades”.

Sin embargo, postula que “se necesita un cambio de polí­tica monetaria para salvar a la Argentina de un aumento de los desequilibrios que afectan la sostenibilidad de la deuda externa pública”.

“El gobierno todaví­a enfrenta el desafí­o de evitar una crisis de deuda, por lo que debe continuar con la estrategia de reducción gradual del déficit fiscal primario”.

Para ello, el Gobierno deberá “reconocer finalmente que intentar reducir la inflación mucho más rápido que el déficit fiscal conlleva altos riesgos”. En este sentido, pide prudencia para también bajar gradualmente el stock de Lebac, al tiempo que deberá “reconocer que una mayor presión inflacionaria en el corto plazo es el precio de minimizar el riesgo de más desequilibrios externos y mayores devaluaciones en el futuro”.

Por último, Stiglitz advierte que un cambio en las polí­ticas macroeconómicas “no es condición suficiente pero sí­ necesaria” para ingresar “a un sendero de desarrollo económico inclusivo y sostenido”.

 

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EXCLUSIVO – JOSEPH STIGLITZ: “MACRI DEBERÍA PENSAR EN RESTRUCTURAR LA DEUDA”

tiempo de lectura: 6 min