Monday, February 2, 2015

Nouriel Roubini: On Secular Stagnation

Nouriel Robin: On Secular Stagnation: “Who would have thought that six years after…

    …advanced economies would still be swimming in an alphabet soup… of unconventional monetary policies?… Just in the last year and a half, the European Central Bank adopted its own version of FG, then moved to ZIRP, and then embraced CE, before deciding to try NDR…. One result of this global monetary-policy activism has been a rebellion among pseudo-economists and market hacks… ‘Austrian’ economists, radical monetarists, gold bugs, and Bitcoin fanatics… repeatedly warned that such a massive increase in global liquidity would lead to hyperinflation, the US dollar’s collapse, sky-high gold prices, and the eventual demise of fiat currencies at the hands of digital krypto-currency counterparts. None of these dire predictions has been borne out….

    Most of the doomsayers have barely any knowledge of basic economics. But that has not stopped their views from informing the public debate…. Unemployed workers… chasing too few available jobs… trade and globalization… labor-saving technological innovations… squeezing workers’ jobs and incomes…. Slack in real-estate markets where booms went bust…. North America’s shale-energy revolution has weakened oil and gas prices…. China’s slowdown has undermined demand for a broad range of commodities… a global glut of manufactured and industrial goods…. Rising income inequality, by redistributing income from those who spend more to those who save more, has exacerbated the demand shortfall. So has the asymmetric adjustment between over-saving creditor[s]… and over-spending debtor[s]….

    Perhaps more important has been a profound mismatch with fiscal policy. To be effective, monetary stimulus needs to be accompanied by temporary fiscal stimulus, which is now lacking in all major economies…. With long-term interest rates close to zero in most advanced economies (and in some cases even negative), the case for infrastructure spending is indeed compelling…. All of this adds up to a recipe for continued slow growth, secular stagnation, disinflation, and even deflation…. In the absence of appropriate fiscal policies… unconventional monetary policies will remain a central feature of the macroeconomic landscape.

 Nouriel Roubini is an American professor of Economics at New York University`s Stern School of Business and chairman of RGE Roubini Global Economics
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