Thursday, June 17, 2010

Once again we must ask: ‘Who governs?’




"...Keynes argued that demand can fall short of supply, and that when this happened, government vice turned into virtue. In a slump, governments should increase, not reduce, their deficits to make up for the deficit in private spending. Any attempt by government to increase its saving (in other words, to balance its budget) would only worsen the slump. This was his “paradox of thrift”. The current stampede to thrift shows that the re-conversion to Keynes in the wake of the financial collapse of 2008 was only skin-deep: the first story remains deeply lodged in the minds of economists and politicians."

"But this story alone does not explain the conversion to austerity. Politicians clamouring for cuts in public spending do not cite Chicago University economists. They talk about the need to restore “confidence in the markets”. The argument here is that deficits do positive harm by destroying business confidence. This collapse of confidence may come in several forms – fear of higher taxes, fear of default, fear of inflation. Deficits thus delay the natural (and rapid) recovery of the economy. If markets have come to the view that deficits are harmful, they must be appeased, even if they are wrong. What market participants believe to be the case becomes the case, not because their beliefs are true, but because they act on their beliefs, true or false."

Perception is reality. Belief is not truth, but can be acted upon as if it were. That's the paradigm we are in and why our economic outlook can only worsen.

Read entire article here.

1 comment:

TomatoBasil said...

Electing populists as leaders remains dangerous even today. We get Orwellian messages of good is bad and bad is good. Sad state of affairs.