Monday, February 2, 2009

Yes we can!

My economist friend Penny Wise emails, “See this rather good article in the Financial Times on how politicians appear to be doing their best to turn global recession into depression.” It’s by Willem Buiter, “Professor of European Political Economy, London School of Economics and Political Science; former chief economist of the EBRD, former external member of the MPC; adviser to international organisations, governments, central banks and private financial institutions.” Probably knows his stuff. He starts:
I used to be optimistic about the capacity of our political leaders and central bankers to avoid the policy mistakes that could turn the current global recession into a deep and lasting global depression. Now I’m not so sure.
And he finishes:
We can go down in history as the generation that created the Great Depression of the Noughties. Just keep on beating the protectionist drums. Keep on the foot-dragging that prevents effective qualitative and quantitative monetary policy easing in the Eurozone and the UK. And go ahead with unsustainable fiscal stimuli in the US, the UK and elsewhere that will spook markets, push up long-term interest rates and raise the spectre of sovereign default by countries not belonging to the group of usual suspects. Yes we can! I hope we won’t.
The stuff in the middle is, as the late Neil Roberts would say, fairly interesting.

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