Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Recent posts.

March 19, 2017

Federal Reserve officials are thinking about reducing the central bank’s holdings of mortgage-backed securities. The Fed began purchasing them soon after the crisis in November 2008 and they now account for almost a fifth of the market. “Housing market, USA”, in The 2008 crash: Recovery, March 2017.

Iceland will lift its capital controls on businesses, pension funds and households this month. The controls were put in place after the collapse of the country’s largest banks in 2008, to prevent a widespread economic crash. “Unilateral action”, in The 2008 crash: Recovery, March 2017.

President Trump has ordered a rollback of the Dodd-Frank legislation governing financial services and Wall Street. The Dodd-Frank Act was a bipartisan plan to ensure there will never be another 2008-style financial meltdown. “Regulation” and “Restructuring”, in The 2008 crash: Re-regulation, February 2017.

Is Germany a currency manipulator? Germany insisted on fiscal austerity during the eurozone crisis, and recorded the world’s biggest trade surplus last year. Criticism of Germany by the US will get louder, and unlike the European Commission, the US has leverage. The euro and the pound, February 2017.

Boom and bust.

May 8, 2015

Ideally a country’s economy should have the household sector as net savers and the corporate sector as net borrowers, with the government budget nearly balanced and net exports near zero. “Sectoral balances”, Inflation, interest, money supply: Currencies, May 2015.

The debate about economic austerity involves value judgments and trade-offs as well as economic principles, and there is uncertainty about the economic parameters. “Alternative targets”, in Inflation, interest, money supply: Targets, May 2013.

A k-wave downturn, driven by demographic change, may be a factor in the global financial crisis. Other factors are Chinese exports, American mortgage law, and financial deregulation. Back in the downwave, 1 January 2012.

Alternative explanations for economic long waves include demography or technological innovation, as well as the debt-deflation credit-cycle theory favoured by some post-Keynesian economists. “Alternative targets”, in Inflation, interest, money supply: Targets, November 2013.

Land tax, better management of protectionism, and better understanding of demography may be the best strategies for reducing economic instability. The search for a stable economy, March 2011.

The tax rate on the capital value of land should be kept within the same range as interest rates, so that no more than half of the annual value is collected as tax. Land Tax, Summer 2010.

European election.

June 10, 2014

For me, in all the thousands of words I saw about the European election campaign, one sentence stood out. It was in the Manchester Friends of the Earth’s list of 10 policies:

” a new EU economic strategy . . . which shifts the tax burden from labour to resource consumption . . . ”
( http://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/eu-election-survey-response-peter-cranie-green-party/ ).

Environmental taxes on resources and pollution could be better than income taxes, not only for the environment, but also for reducing inequality.

( ” Progressive tax and inequality”, in “Citizens incomes and progressive tax”,
https://ammpol.wordpress.com/ubiprog ).

I think this policy should be a major feature in the 2015 Westminster election campaign.

Monetary policy.

March 16, 2014

Inflation targeting made central banks reluctant to accommodate the deflationary effects of China’s entry into the world trading system. The excessive liquidity they created fed the credit bubble. The 2008 Crash: Causes, December 2012.

Cabinet member Vince Cable said “It would be useful . . . to take account of different forms of inflation – imported and domestic – as well as asset inflation”. “Alternative targets”, in Inflation, interest, money supply: Targets, 18 February 2013.

The governor of the Bank of England favours regulation, resolution and restructuring for banks. They should rely less on debt, a resolution mechanism is needed for failing banks, and High Street banking should be kept separate from other banking operations. “Three Rs”, in The 2008 Crash: Reregulation, 3 May 2012.

Modern Monetary Theory says government deficits are always good, even when the economy is in good shape, unless there’s a risk of runaway inflation. Monetary sects, February 2012.

The Positive Money campaign isn’t targeting the kind of banking which was a factor in the 2008 financial crisis, and won’t stop the creation of money by private banks. Positive Money, March 2014.

In the eurozone, average current account deficits between 1999 to 2007 are a better indicator of current problems than fiscal deficits or public debt. The euro and the pound. 7 December 2011.

Going round in circles, again.

February 1, 2011

The monetary reformer quoted some of my last lot of replies out of context, and didn’t put the rest on his blog. So I’m not sending him this lot, I’m just posting them here. I hope there won’t be any more.

X: For you, economics seems to be about money. For us, economics is about life.

A: That’s not fair.

You wrote: “Economic growth requires (at least in part) increasing loans. If loans do not increase, the economy, as it is presently structured, fails.“

That’s a purely monetary definition of economic failure. Also I think its wrong, from a monetary point of view as well as from a Green one.

I wrote “Economic growth or decline is about GDP, in other words, money. Sustainability is about resources, climate, population, and other species, as well as money.”

That definition of economic growth is not just my opinion. Wikipedia says: Economic growth is the increase of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) or other measure of aggregate income, typically reported as the annual rate of change in real GDP. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_growth)

And we agree that there is more than just money to the definition of a sustainable economy, but I said it before you did.

X: I take it you standardised the figures for a generation according to the life expectancy at the time you were measuring?

A: Its about age at reproduction not life expectancy. I used lognormal distributions to model age-specific fertility rates, and let the computer find the numbers which fitted the data best. For more details, see “Couples and the K-wave” on my website.

X: If it is not created at the point a loan is made, where and when is it created, in your view?

A: You‘re arguing with yourself. I’ve already agreed that money is created when a loan is made.

X: One cannot sustainably borrow in order to provide for daily living needs.

A: As I’ve already commented, the mortgage system is an example of sustainable borrowing to meet daily needs, and its also an example of sustainable investment, usually, with exceptions, as in the last decade.

X: A: I have shown that [debt does not necessitate ever increasing production and productivity.]

A: The bit in square brackets was added by you. Its confusing without a hyphen after “ever”. You had written “Hoogendijk has shown that debt necessitates ever increasing production and productivity.” I replied that I had shown that it doesn’t. My opinion is that debt does not always make it necessary to increase production and productivity.

X: Two manufacturing firms . . . They are now in competition as before, but now they have to service their debt. How can this fail to drive both to boost throughput of materials?

A: You’re talking to yourself again. I didn’t say it would fail, I said they probably wouldn’t get into debt if the economy was unfavourable, because they wouldn‘t get a loan.

X: This system is an important driver of economic growth, since the real economy is burdened with the necessity of paying back interest.

A: Now you’ve gone full circle right back to where we started.

1. The real economy also benefits from the interest, which is paid to the depositor, from the borrower, through the bank.
2. The real economy is also burdened with the necessity of paying wages. Nobody thinks that wages should therefore be abolished.

I don’t want to go round this circle again so I hope there won’t be any more replies.

Banking system and economic growth.

January 29, 2011

I sent some replies to a discussion about monetary policy on another blog, but they haven’t appeared. So I’m posting them here instead.

X: Economic growth requires (at least in part) increasing loans. If loans do not increase, the economy, as it is presently structured, fails.

A: This still says that equilibrium in the economy, as it is presently structured, is failure. Zero economic growth is statistically very improbable in any economic system, but a stable balance between small amounts of economic growth and decline is possible in the economy as it is presently structured. For me economic failure is what was happening in 2008, extremely negative growth.

Economic growth or decline is about GDP, in other words, money. Sustainability is about resources, climate, population, and other species, as well as money.

X: A possible factor in economic cycles is engagement and disengagment with reality. There is an analogy to be drawn between bipolar illness and the market.

A: Bipolar illness doesn’t have the regularity of the long Kondratieff cycles (K-waves). Goldstein wrote that “ the relatively fixed length of a generation” is like “a clock that links long waves to calendar time.”  My demographic explanation has this regularity, its wavelength is 1.7 generations.

X: To clarify, I agree that the interest is paid with money that is in circulation. The new money is created at the point that the bank enters a loan into the account of the borrower. This new money is spent into circulation.

A: It doesn’t really matter whether the credit or the debt is defined as new money, as they are equal amounts of money. One is new money, the other is old money, one circulates, the other doesn‘t.

The debt doesn’t circulate, it stays in one place until it disappears when it is cancelled by the repayment by the borrower. Meanwhile the credit could more appropriately be described as “continuing to circulate”, not “being spent into circulation”.

X: My model of businesses A and B holds, because the only valid reason to borrow is to invest. One cannot sustainably borrow in order to provide for daily living needs.

A: Yes one can. Mortgages are an example. They are a way of transferring housing from old people to young people, while the interest on the mortgages transfers money in the other direction, to pensions.

X: Alison, will this cover it?

4 To pay back the interest means that the borrower either has to invest the loan to make a profit on the market, or from earning wages.

A: No, there is interest from other investments, or unearned money such as the scandalous capital gains in the last house price bubble, or pensions, or winning the lottery. Any of the money that is already in circulation may be used to pay the interest on a new loan.

Anyway I don’t see the point of line 4 unless you are wanting to prove that interest is unsustainable, and I don’t believe it is.

X: We need to sort out the impact of debt on growth. . . Hoogendijk has shown that debt necessitates ever increasing production and productivity.

A: I have shown that it doesn’t. Total debt may increase, decrease or be stable. I don’t know who Hoogendijk is, but he wouldn’t be the first expert who has been wrong.

X: Increasing productivity implies increasing unemployment, which entails increasing SS payments, which increases the country’s deficit. . . In order to attain a steady-state economy, which is what ecology requires, we need to ground our economics on ecological reality.

A: Yes, I agree. A Green tax shift from labour to resources and unearned capital gains from land is what is needed.

X: Interesting point from Atlanta Fed. If booms and busts cancel each other out, there has to be a better way of arranging things.

A: Its good that they cancel each other out but we need to make them smaller. Land tax, better management of protectionism, and better understanding of demography were my suggestions.

X: In the UK, they routinely produce 97% of new money.

A: This was your reply to my comment that the banks haven’t got a monopoly. . . See my next comment.

X: Leaving whether “Bank Monopoly” is precisely correct or not, the substantive proposal is that the ratio should move from 97/3 to ~50/50.
Does this meet with your approval?

A: Not really.

1. I wonder how enforceable a required reserve ratio is.
2. The most appropriate level of the ratio probably varies depending on whether stability or a boom or a bust is happening.
3. 50/50 may be too extreme. Between 2006 and 2009 the money multiplier, defined as “broad money relative to central bank money” or “the link between central bank money . . . and money in the economy”, was highest, at about 64, in early 2007, and lowest, at about 25, in late 2008. (Financial Times, 6 March 2009)

So the ratio of broad money to the total of central bank money plus broad money varied between 25/26 and 64/65. That‘s between 96.2% and 98.5%, in three years in which there was a transition from a major bubble to an exceptionally large crash. So a reduction to 50% might be too revolutionary.

A: So in the last 2 days we have found lots more disagreements, about growth, cycles, money creation, sustainable borrowing, interest, debt, cycles, broad money, money multipliers.

Its been interesting but I need to get on with the rest of my life, and don’t want to get involved in the wiki.

Economics, environment, welfare.

July 10, 2009

All the other pages on this site are listed in ammpol.wordpress.com/about, with a brief description of each page following its title and link.

They are grouped into five categories: Boom and bust, Monetary policy, Welfare, Environment, and Summaries.