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dimarts, 31 de maig de 2016

¿Pero no era el FMI la madriguera del capitalismo salvaje?

Financial Times carga contra el FMI: su crítica al neoliberalismo es un "insulto a la inteligencia"
FINANCIAL TIMES.- As an all-purpose insult, “neoliberalism” has lost any meaning it might once have had. Whether it is a supposed sin of commission, such as privatisation; one of omission, such as allowing a bankrupt company to close; or just an outcome with some losers, neoliberalism has become the catch-all criticism of unthinking radicals who lack the skills of empirical argument.

The greatest insult of all, however, is that to our intelligence when august international institutions hitch their wagon to these noisy criticisms. This sorry spectacle befell the International Monetary Fund last week when it published an article in its flagship magazine questioning its own neoliberal tendencies and concluding that “instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, in turn jeopardising durable expansion”.

The word “some” did a lot of work in that sentence. When it came to favoured IMF policies, the authors from the fund’s research department conclude that competition, global free trade, privatisation, foreign direct investment and sound public finances in the vast majority of countries all pass muster. That exonerates most of what passes as neoliberalism.

Instead of this vast array of settled good practice, the article calls into question two policies: unfettered international flows of hot money, and excessively rapid efforts to reduce public deficits. None of this navel-gazing is remotely new or innovative. The IMF has queried the value of international portfolio investment since the Asian crisis almost two decades ago, while a horses-for-courses approach to fiscal deficits has been the global consensus for nigh on a decade.

It may appear easy to forgive and forget the criticisms as the childish rhetoric of the parts of the IMF which stand aloof from the nitty gritty of helping real countries in terrible circumstances. But the attack on neoliberalism is far more dangerous than that. It gives succour to oppressive regimes around the world which also position themselves as crusaders against neoliberalism, subjugating their populations with inefficient economic policy and extreme inequality using the full power of the state.

In seeking to be trendy, the IMF instead looks as out of date as a middle-aged man wearing a baseball cap backwards

Against this risk, what has the IMF achieved? Some raised eyebrows from those unaware of the fund’s work, a lot of eye-rolling from the better informed, and not even the grudging approval of Naomi Klein on Twitter. In seeking to be trendy, the IMF instead looks as out of date as a middle-aged man wearing a baseball cap backwards.

Worst of all, in seeking a public relations coup from relabelling existing policies, the fund has taken its eye off the ball. By far the most important global economic issue is the persistent decline in productivity growth that threatens to undermine progress for all. This does not get a mention.


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