Opinion: Mind the gap

EconomyWith the economy showing strong signs of a recovery and budget projections forecasting a period of healthy growth seven years on from the start of the financial crisis – have we now reached the ‘escape velocity’ required to run clear of this long slump?

The answer to this questions relies on judgements of an indicator that has proved almost impossible to gauge i.e. the output gap or measures of spare capacity in the economy. Most economists believe that the UK economy still boasts plenty of spare capacity, by which they mean that factories can still produce more, offices aren’t full, and plenty of people remain unemployed or underemployed. The implication is that unemployment can continue to fall and the economy to grow without triggering inflation. The Treasury, the Bank of England and most of the City buy into this optimistic view, and that is why interest rates are unlikely to be hiked any time soon. This is the key assumption at the heart of all of the debates about the state of the British economy.

A minority of commentators disagree, however, arguing that the recession caused permanent damage to the economy’s productive capacity; and that even the modest recovery we have seen to date has been enough to eliminate the remaining slack. They argue that as the economy continues to grow, inflationary pressures will mount quickly allowing inflation to shoot back up to three per cent or above, forcing down real rates, fuelling the housing bubble and leading ultimately to an old fashioned, common-or-garden sterling crisis, requiring sharp monetary and/or fiscal tightening to stem the outflow of foreign reserves.

Whoever is right or wrong, it is clear that the extraordinary monetary and fiscal stimulus measures we have seen over the past six years – of negative real interest rates and £100 billion+ annual budget deficits cannot be maintained indefinitely. The focus of economic policy must move decisively to structural changes in the next parliament.

The transition to stability will require a combination of gradually rising interest rates, continuing downward pressure on current account public spending, the abolition of Help to Buy, quantitative tightening (the reselling of bonds bought by the Bank of England under QE) and supply-side, deregulatory reforms aimed at growing the economy’s productive capacity.

With private debt in the economy, once again, rising back to the dangerous levels seen immediately prior to the financial crash – structural changes need, above all, to engineer a movement from credit driven increases in demand to wage driven demand based on increased investment and productivity.

As Vince Cable noted in his budget response “The priority the Chancellor has given to manufacturing, to investment and the savings that lie behind investment, and to exports through the expansion of export credit are absolutely appropriate to getting long-term growth and the productivity that that entails. There is a lot more to be done. We still have serious constraints in terms of skilled labour. There are still problems in opening up business finance”

* Joe Bourke is an accountant and university lecturer, Chair of ALTER, and Chair of Hounslow Liberal Democrats.

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23 Comments

  • Bill Le Breton 28th Mar '14 - 8:57am

    joe, Inflation below target and falling, wage growth still subdued, incessant talk among the journalists of tightening … Suggests a weak recovery easily strangled at birth, as indeed happened in 1937.

    Evan Soltas has been looking in the US at the number of what he calls ‘slackers and quitters’. Slackers being those unemployed because of the continuing slack in the economy (resulting from continuing weak aggregate demand) and quitters being those who leave their job in order to look for a better one. Are we seeing quitters in our economy yet? Sounds like an interesting way of judging the output gap.

    Please do not be too hard on help to buy initiatives. Reforms would be better than ending it. Say, reduce the top level to something that truly helps first time buyers and introduce some regionalist to it. The Australians used housing subsidies at the start of the Great Recession and it seemed very effective.

  • David Evans 28th Mar '14 - 9:41am

    In reply to your initial question – No, Regarding Bill’s suggestion of improving Help to Buy and the experience of Australia in using housing subsidies at the start of the Great Recession, the difference is that I don’t think that the Great Recession (depression?) was caused by a housing bubble. That to me is a fundamental difference.

  • “The transition to stability will require a combination of gradually rising interest rates, continuing downward pressure on current account public spending, the abolition of Help to Buy, ”

    But help-to-buy has just been extended to 2020 according to Osborne’s budget speech. Why was it ever introduced though, as all it does is inflate house prices whilst committing the taxpayer to future losses when the housing market collapses again? The reason those negative real interest rates haven’t led to spiralling inflation is because of the mountain of personal debt and the abrupt and massive decrease in lending following the collapse of the City. Bad debts have been shifted into the public purse and we are now in a far worse position for when the housing bubble that is fuelling the false, limited growth, collapses. Next time we will have a government rendered impotent by a mountain of debt in addition to the personal debt mountain that caused the last crisis and that hasn’t gone away. This government has taken a look at all the errors that caused the financial/economic meltdown and decided that we need even more of the same to get us out, meanwhile all the people that borrowed recklessly and forced house prices up have learnt that their behaviour was rewarded.

  • Bill Le Breton 28th Mar '14 - 10:17am

    David , I agree that the so called housing bubble was not the cause of the Great Recession. In the US for example the economy had begun to recover from its housing difficulties by the 2008 crisis. There was a slump in aggregate demand which the central banks both created and ignored because they were concentrating on fighting inflation. The recent publication of transcripts for the FOMC minutes for 2008 reveal this strikingly.

    Thus the dash to delever and get into cash allowed asset values to plunge … Banks to lose trust in the financial strength of other banks …. Investment to dry up.

    The Australian grants , reinforced in October 2008 https://www.google.co.uk/#q=australian+subsidies+for+first+time+house+buyers were designed to underpin aggregate demand, asset values and confidence.

    Beyond the M25 and housing markets attached to those there, we need Help to Buy to allow first time buyers who can afford repayments but not those initial deposits that attract the lowest rates to buy, we need the demand for local services that such purchases bring about, we need the mobility for people to downsize or to sell and move to jobs and we need the monetary stimulus that this creates.

    It would be quite easy to redesign the system to target first time buyers of pre owned homes in areas that need the subsidy to help the local economies that look like they may miss out on any recovery.

  • “The transition to stability will require a combination of gradually rising interest rates, continuing downward pressure on current account public spending, the abolition of Help to Buy, quantitative tightening”

    The problem is, that the UK’s underlying productive capacity has been so weakened over recent decades that all these virtuous measures will do is choke off what recovery there is, because they will force the pound ever higher and kill exports, as is already happening.

    All the “virtuous” stuff, like raising interest rates and restricting credit to consumers, is either electorally unpopular or toxic to our very fragile recovery in manufacturing, exports and business investment. Unfortunately, the previous government left behind such a sickly underlying productive economy it will take decades of nurturing and cosseting to get it back into any semblance of self-sustaining, healthy growth.

    “and supply-side, deregulatory reforms aimed at growing the economy’s productive capacity”

    Er no thanks. The UK is already as deregulated as it can be. What it needs to boost productivity is investment, investment and more investment, public and private, not de-regulation. What there may be left to de-regulate, I really can’t think.

  • Paul In Twickenham 28th Mar '14 - 10:42am

    @Bill – what am I misunderstanding here? Last week I had the dubious pleasure of travelling to Manchester to watch Fulham get humiliated by Manchester City. As I walked from Manchester Piccadilly to The City of Manchester stadium I walked past block after block of new-build flats (of the type that would once have been called “yuppie flats”). Outside every block was a sign shrieking “Only 5% deposit required! 20% help to buy available!”. Rather than massive future liabilities for the taxpayer wouldn’t it be better for the developer to recognise the operation of the law of supply and demand?

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Mar '14 - 11:32am

    I agree with most of this article. Mark Carney’s recent Mais Lecture also has a fascinated take on the state of the economy and the role of monetary policy.

    He says that the low interest rate environment is likely to continue for some time into the future, but he makes it very clear that monetary policy is not just about meeting inflation targets and such an approach helped fuel the financial crisis. He says:

    “In pursuing price stability, monetary policy can contribute to the gradual build-up of financial vulnerabilities through its effect on the degree of risk-taking in the economy. For example the period of low and predictable interest rates before the financial crisis helped drive a ‘search for yield’ and leverage cycle, even with inflation subdued. It doesn’t take a genius to see that similar risks exist today. ”

    I have wanted interest rates to increase for a while. It might harm the recovery, but I’d rather that than preside over another great crash. If the banking sector still needs subsidies then I would subsidise it through increasing the basic rate of taxation.

  • Bill Le Breton 28th Mar '14 - 12:42pm

    Paul, the Government has an asset against that liability. The developer can go to its bank and more easily fund it’s next development. (Manchester set to grow by 100,000 over a decade.) UK gets another city approaching critical mass. purchaser of the 75% gets a lower interest rate. Lender’s risk reduced and encouraged to make further loans. construction industry stimulated. Ancillary services and producers boosted. Confidence regenerated.

    Lowering the price doesn’t help buyer access lower rates. Also effects developers ability to fund next project, impacts construction industry.

    But I am not arguing for this for other than ‘entry’ level homes of great design and good quality.

    And I agree with RC. This recovery is frail. We do need some measure that tells us when. Stimulus could be removed and that should not be some discretionary reading by 10. Unelected and unaccountable members of the MPC an number of whom were using their discretionary powers to advocate interest rate hikes back in 2012 when nominal GDP was plunging.

  • Paul in Twickenham
    You and I live in a part of the country where property prices are going mad. — Here in North Kingston I now “earn” more every month watching the value of my house rise than I ever did each month when I worked for a living. On your side of the river it is even crazier and a four bedroom house in Hampton Wick could buy a street of houses in many towns in the North West. I think the only lesson is that housing booms do not a recovery make.
    As for travelling to The Etihad to see your team lose, at least you did not have to travel as far as many of the supporters of the “home team” at Old Trafford who enjoyed as little success against City as Fulham this week. 🙂

  • Bill,

    Interesting comments about the Australian regional approach to housing subsidies. We don’t know whether Liberal Democrats will be sitting in the government or the opposition benches after May 2015, but I would at least like to see the legacy of this Coalition government be the focusing of economic policy towards making this recovery balanced and sustainable, as Vince Cable outlined in his speech to the Royal Economic Society in January of this year Recovery and beyond.

    “As the recovery gathers strength conventional macroeconomic policy would be to tighten monetary policy. That would be the correct response to a healthy recovery. The timing would depend on the ‘output gap’ before capacity is utilised and increased demand produces inflation rather than output. The official output gap is around 2% of GDP but estimates vary greatly mainly because of difficulty in assessing underemployment rather than unemployment.”

    “One of the most serious threats to sustained recovery derives from a continuation of the boom-bust cycle in property prices… I fear that the problem is more than technical: it is a deep seated, almost ideological, attachment to property not just in a perfectly understandable wish by families to own their own home but as a speculative asset and as the main source of collateral for borrowing. It leads to the belief that rising house prices are a sign of prosperity when, in fact, they represent a neglect of enterprise and a diversion from productive activity.”

    In summing up, Vince concludes:

    “This year’s sudden economic revival is greatly encouraging and reflects the success of aggressive monetary policy as a response to recession and the use of counter-cyclical fiscal policy to the extent that the Government’s critics have yet to acknowledge. This recovery is, to use the language of wartime, the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end of our economic problem.

    I have identified four major areas of policy action required to make the recovery balanced and sustainable: boosting the disposable income of low and middle earners; stimulating business investment (with the help of public investment); taking action, including through the industrial strategy, to tackle bottlenecks in skills, business finance, exports and UK supply chains; and building lots of new homes. The Coalition government has put the key elements in place but it will require a commitment well beyond the current political cycle to deliver the results and achieve a recovery that lasts. This must be the coalition government’s real legacy.”

    Jonathan Portes has recently noted – “none of our underlying problems – a dysfunctional housing market, systematic underinvestment, both public and private, and a failure to provide all of our young people with the skills they need for today’s labour market – have gone away. And over the longer term, we still need to work out how to finance high quality public services for an ageing population. The focus of the economic debate should be on these challenges.”

    If we are to avoid the potential of Japan like lost decades and the secular stagnation of that economy, we should be resolute in arguing the case for continued and sustained action, beyond the election, in the four major policy areas identified by Vince Cable, as we engage with the public over the coming year and beyond.

  • Eddie,

    your quoting of Mark Carney’s Mais lecture is appropriate “In pursuing price stability, monetary policy can contribute to the gradual build-up of financial vulnerabilities through its effect on the degree of risk-taking in the economy. For example the period of low and predictable interest rates before the financial crisis helped drive a ‘search for yield’ and leverage cycle, even with inflation subdued. It doesn’t take a genius to see that similar risks exist today. ”

    There was an interesting BBC four radio programme last week
    Why Minsky Matters exploring the legacy of the
    late American economist Hyman Minsky. His work has come to prominence as one of the most compelling explanations of the 2008 financial crisis. His key insight was the Financial Instability Hypothesis arguing that as confidence returns both banks and borrowers move from prudent lending and borrowing to speculative behaviour and ultimately to bubble financing in short “Stability breeds instability”. TUC senior economist Duncan Weldon argues it’s a radical challenge to the mainstream view that markets tend towards equilibrium and the role of banks and finance can largely be ignored, Minsky argued that in the good times the seeds of the next crisis are sown as the financial sector engages in riskier and riskier lending in pursuit of profit.as we have seen in the recent financial crisis. His ideas focus on instability in the financial system driven by human nature and are relevant to the response to the 2008 crisis and current policies like Help to Buy. While economics textbooks are beginning to incorporate Minsky’s analysis in texts, mainstream economics has yet to fully explain and deal with its own failure to predict the crisis and the challenge posed by Minsky’s ideas. It is good to see people in positions of great influence such as Mark Carney explicitly acknowledging the critical importance of risk-taking in the financial system to the wider economy.

    Adair Turner, former Chair of the FSA, has noted that the inherent instability of the financial system needs to be controlled by macro-prudential regulation. That the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee has direct responsibility for monitoring the impact of the Help to Buy scheme is a step in the direct direction.

    Minsky’s enduring legacy is that the origins of the next financial crisis build-up in the good economic times. That is when they need to be dealt with if the severe damage caused by financial sector instability is to be mitigated.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Mar '14 - 6:11pm

    Hi Joe, thanks for that information. Yes I am pleased with the Mais lecture, because even though we still disagree, I accept he knows a lot more than me and more importantly he doesn’t seem relaxed about super low rates.

    The transcript for the lecture can be found here:

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/speeches/2014/speech715.pdf

    When it comes to the Lib Dems: I would like political activists and politicians to become more engaged with monetary policy, because people are starting to try to solve monetary problems with fiscal and legal solutions and pinpointing blame to whatever sounds convenient, such as the Labour Party or big business.

    When it comes to the output gap: I think we should remember that house prices are not included in official inflation figures. I don’t profess to be an expert on the economy, I just know a few fundamentals and it is easy to recognise that it is not all Labour’s or the Bankers’ fault!

  • Paul In Twickenham 28th Mar '14 - 7:08pm

    @BIll – yeesss… or the government has a massive liability as the property market plunges from its current dizzying rises – so similar to those of less than 10 years ago, but, hey, “prices haven’t reached the peak of 2007” so what can possibly go wrong? And tens of thousands of first time buyers are left under water as those overpriced rabbit hutches are disposed of in fire sales, with a bitter experience of property ownership (cf Ireland). Or if all goes according to plan then as prices approach some sort of income-multiple event horizon (shades of Irving Fisher and his “permanently high plateau”) it is hard to see where all the stimulation to the construction industry comes from. And as people find that they are buried under eye-watering levels of indebtedness it’s hard to see where all that consumer confidence comes from.

    I agree with you on one thing : this is a wildly unbalanced recovery. And I agree with the Minsky Moment reference. I once heard someone say that there’s a passage in Hemingway where a character is asked how he went bankrupt: “slowly at first, then all at once”.

    I want to see a massive increase in housebuilding led by the social housing sector to reduce pressure on private stock, relieving the pressure on prices. Now that would lead to construction work. And boost ancillary industries.

    @JohnTilley – I agree completely. According to Zoopla there has been a >6 figure! increase in the value of my property over the last 12 months. Was this the result of my financial genius? Of course not. My only act of genius was to be born in 1964 and to buy my first property when prices were not vast multiples of income The current system is unsustainable. Anything that cannot continue will stop.

    @JohnTilley – I also agree with your other comment… as we always sing to our guests who have come to support Manchester United “live round the corner… you only live round the corner….”.

  • Joe – “… an indicator that has proved almost impossible to gauge i.e. the output gap or measures of spare capacity in the economy.

    Quite so. Reading this and other posts I wonder just how useful macroeconomics is as a tool for policy-making; many of the key indicators are, as you say, impossible to measure and there is remarkably little consensus about what caused the crisis even several years after it started. Even stranger, there seems little collective sense of urgency to understand the cause. Contrast that with the effort that would be made if an airplane crashed and a design error was implicated – the Comet for example. We would by now know the cause of the problem with a high degree of certainty and designs would have improved accordingly.

    What we do know is that the economics of the mainstream ‘neoclassical’ school has little or no useful predictive power, having failed to anticipate the crisis before it happened, failed again to provide a coherent explanation after the event and then yet again in that its policy prescriptions simply aren’t working. In any of the sciences this would make it a FAIL as a theory but in economics zombie theory can apparently thrive.

    I am an optimist about the possibility of better theory but while this is developed what are practical politicians to do? The answer I propose is to downplay the importance of dodgy theory and treat the problem as a businessman might; rather than worrying about the (unknowable) size of the output gap instead identify the places where ‘the shoe pinches’ – places where resources are not smoothly flowing to where there is need of them without ham-fisted attempts at central planning (like the 100,000 new apprenticeships sought by the Coalition) – and address those problems with simple practical solutions (the KISS principle) that don’t involve Whitehall after the set up stage.

    Looked at like this it’s easy to find places where the shoe pinches – for example the country is awash with people that don’t have productive work to do and also with companies that complain they can’t find suitably qualified staff; people’s savings are getting derisory rates of interest yet there is a great shortage of investment capital at sensible prices for growing firms and so on and so on. The overall picture is that the various bits of the country simply don’t mesh together properly like a set of gear wheels covered in grit instead of grease. In fact what needs to be done comes down to a list very like Vince Cable’s; possibly no coincidence given that he worked for a long time at Shell.

    And one final thing. Instead of demonising the poor and unemployed as being to blame for their plight let’s recognise that most welfare is driven by the ‘failure demand’ generated by a poor system. Responsibility for that sits squarely in Whitehall’s lap and we should say so.

    When companies need skilled staff they ought

  • Good points GF,

    An article in the Economist last September gives a good recounting of the observable causes of the crash Crash Course. There is perhaps broad consensus on two key points:

    1. The financial sector is prone to cyclical excessive risk taking that needs to be carefully regulated – The Minsky Financial Instability Hypotheses.
    2. Large trade imbalances do matter – even within the same currency zone, as several eurozone members discovered.

    In the UK some steps have been taken with respect to monitoring financial sector instability with the responsibilities of the Bank of England haven been considerably expanded to take over the FSA’s remit for bank supervision. The new Financial Policy Committee at the Bank is charged with a primary objective of identifying, monitoring and taking action to remove or reduce systemic risks with a view to protecting and enhancing the resilience of the UK financial system.

    As regards trade imbalances, beyond words of encouragement to exporters, very little has been achieved. Despite a major sterling devaluation, the UK position has actually worsened since the crash. 1983 was the last the last time the UK was a net lender to the rest of the world – the last time we paid our way, as it were. The current account deficit – trade plus income flows- has recently been running at around 5.5% of GDP. It is just as well so much London property is being bought-up by foreign investors – with the fall off in foreign students coming to the UK, where else would the country get the foreign exchange to meet these liabilities to the rest of the world.

    Keynes tried to address this issue of a system to mitigate the effect of trade imbalances in the wake of the Great Depression, in 1944 at the Bretton Woods conference, with his proposal for an International Clearing union and the ‘Bancor’. These proposals have been revised in recent years by Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People’s Bank of China and in 2010 by both the United Nations and the IMF.

    With respect to your suggested KISS approach, I would agree – build the houses the country needs and guarantee skills training and/or employment to everyone who want’s to work.

  • Eddie Sammon 29th Mar '14 - 7:47pm

    Joe, I don’t think stability is the problem, which is probably why Minsky’s theories are not popular in the mainstream and are just cheered by the likes of the TUC to criticise the market. The problem is the current interest rate policy is not fair for a huge section of society and that is going to have adverse effects. I’m only calling for small gradual increases.

    Best wishes

  • Eddie,

    this is an extract from Mark Carney’s remarks in a speech in 2011:

    “The Global Minsky Moment has arrived.Debt tolerance has decisively turned. The initially well-founded optimism that launched the decades-long credit boom has given way to a belated pessimism that seeks to reverse it. Excesses of leverage are dangerous, in part because debt is a particularly inflexible form of financing. Unlike equity, it is unforgiving of miscalculations or shocks. It must be repaid on time and in full.

    While debt can fuel asset bubbles, it endures long after they have popped. It has to be rolled over, although markets are not always there. It can be spun into webs within the financial sector, to be unravelled during panics by their thinnest threads. In short, the central relationship between debt and financial stability means that too much of the former can result abruptly in too little of the latter.

    Hard experience has made it clear that financial markets are inherently subject to cycles of boom and bust and cannot always be relied upon to get debt levels right. This is part of the rationale for micro- and macroprudential regulation.

    It follows that backsliding on financial reform is not a solution to current problems. The challenge for the crisis economies is the paucity of credit demand rather than the scarcity of its supply. Relaxing prudential regulations would run the risk of maintaining dangerously high leverage—the situation that got us into this mess in the first place.”

    I don’t think there is any doubt about the severity of the problem you identify “the current interest rate policy is not fair for a huge section of society and that is going to have adverse effects.”

    It would also be reckless to try to correct this other than by way of small gradual increases, as you indicate. But correct it we must – there has been a massive transfer of wealth from savers and wage earners to banks, hedge funds, bond traders, those holding substantial investment portfolios of stocks, properties other tradeable assets and larger companies with substantial debt obligations that have benefitted from the asset inflation induced by negative real interest rates and quantative easing.

    That may have been unavoidable in the economic circumstances, but we do need to recognise it and work to rebalance the situation so that real wages and not yet more private debt starts to drive consumption and the purchasing power of pensioners and others reliant on fixed income is maintained.

  • Richard Dean 31st Mar '14 - 2:31am

    Apart from the fact that I am challenged in respect of my knowledge of economics and finance, my problem with this article, and with most if not all of the comments, is that I don’t see any human beings here. It all seems to be about numbers. Following Keynes, and perhaps a number of voters, I feel that if we do what is right for people, then the money side of things will sort itself out automatically. Was Keynes wrong? And what will voters think?

  • Richard,

    even great thinkers like Keynes can be wrong about some things. In 1930, he predicted that within a century, we would work only 15 hours a week. In the 1950’s, Richard Nixon volunteered that, by 1990, Americans would retire at the age of 38. And yet somehow, despite all the gadgets and gizmos that were supposed to set us free from drudgery – dishwashers, disposable nappies, pocket computers – many people in the developed world now feel they are working harder than ever.

    Keynes famously said that “when circumstances change, I change my mind. What do you do?

    We face a conjunction of three large events – the implosion of the debt-based finance-capitalism that developed over the past twenty odd years or so in place of the industrial capitalism that had preceded it, a fracturing of the eurozone currency union resulting from design faults , and the ongoing shift of economic power from the west to the fast-developing countries of the east and south.

    I imagine that Keynes would be sceptical about the wisdom of trying to return to the high rates of growth in consumption experienced during the post-war period, in the Western economies. With our ageing populations and overhang of debt, there’s little prospect of developed societies keeping up with the rapid expansion that is going on in emerging countries. Wouldn’t we be better off thinking about how we can enjoy a better balance in quality of life in the changed circumstances that we face?

  • Richard Dean 31st Mar '14 - 9:49pm

    Joe,

    What an interesting reply, many thanks!

    However, I see your “great events” as processes rather than events, and moreover your second one is just a temporary glitch which will get fixed. As regards your third, you are seeming to believe that wealth-generation is a zero-sum game, which I suspect is challengeable though I don’t know how to do it.

    I wonder too whether “the implosion of debt-based finance capitalism” really means anything permanent. Human beings run experiments, including on themselves, and this was one – hopefully someone will learn something from it and we won’t need too many repeats!

    I’m sure that consumption can’t rise significantly for ever, but I wonder whether Keynes’ error about the 15 hour week might have been a result of a puritan-like under-estimate people’s real needs? I see a major challenge in the question of how to avoid the fracturing of society into a cohesive, relatively wealthy group who are able to efficiently provide for themselves what they want and need, and an underclass who can’t.

  • Bill le Breton 1st Apr '14 - 11:09am

    Richard Dean – hope you are still looking in!

    You write wisely and profoundly, “I see a major challenge in the question of how to avoid the fracturing of society into a cohesive, relatively wealthy group who are able to efficiently provide for themselves what they want and need, and an underclass who can’t.”

    That is very much the issue. And such a development provides fertile ground for social disintegration and loss of liberty on a huge scale.

  • Bill le Breton 1st Apr '14 - 11:15am

    Joe and others – further surprising thoughts on ‘slack’ from that inflation hawk, Martin Weale, “Even though unemployment has fallen rapidly, wage inflation has remained exceptionally low and price inflation has fallen sharply. This suggests that the slack in the economy has not been fully used up, and that there is, over the next two or three years, room for the economy to grow by more than rising labour supply and underlying productivity growth would, on their own allow.” – Match 2014 http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/speeches/2014/speech716.pdf

    And why the economy suffers when NGDP allowed by the central back to grow below trend path here from Marcus Nunes: http://thefaintofheart.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/what-does-extraordinary-commitment-mean/

    We having nothing to lose but our monetary chains.

  • Eddie Sammon 1st Apr '14 - 4:21pm

    The whole market monetarism movement needs taken down, because it misleads people on established economic theories in order to make money. There is a difference between lying and lying about someone else’s academic research.

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