Il pericolo della deflazione è passato - gzibordi
By: GZ on Venerdì 07 Giugno 2002 21:39
Se un pensa che le fondamenta dell'economia sono solide i crac li interpreta in un modo
Se un pensa che le fondamenta dell'economia siano marce i crac li interpreta nel modo esattamente opposto (sono frana inevitabile che accellera)
Per un paio di anni si è parlato di pericoli di deflazione: in giappone c'è, con i prezzi che calano ogni anno, nel resto del mondo calo di domanda (con l'eccezione dei consumatori usa), recessione nel 2001, tassi di interesse bassissimi, oro e materie prime sui minimi del decennio...
Ora che il dollaro scende e l'oro sale si parla di pericoli di inflazione e di rialzo dei tassi
Bisogna decidersi. Qual'è il pericolo ? non ci possono sempre essere dei pericoli e ogni due anni diversi. David Malpass qua sotto argomenta che intanto il pericolo della deflazione non c'è più, come dimostrato dal rialzo dell'oro e dal ribasso del dollaro
Inoltre in america la disoccupazione è arrivata a un massimo del 6% e ora sta già scendendo (oggi è uscito 5.8%). Due anni fa era scesa al 4.2%
Un paese in cui la disoccupazione oscilla tra 4% e 6% ha risolto molti problemi no ?
10 o 20 anni fa sarebbe sembrato qualcosa di irragiungibile.
Quindi hai superato i pericoli della deflazione stile giappone e hai un economia che funziona, dove in recessione la disoccupazione sale al 6% massimo
I pasticci di Enron, Arthur Andersen, Dynegy, Adelphia, Tyco... spingono in basso le borse, ma poi c'è l'economia reale che resta
dal WSJ di oggi
chief global economist at Bear Stearns
First came Enron, then Arthur Andersen, now Dynegy, Adelphia and Tyco. Is it any wonder that Wall Street is in a sour mood? Given the poor performance of equities, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that the economy is fragile. Some think we're walking a tightrope -- risking a weak dollar and inflation if monetary and fiscal stimulus continue, and a double dip into recession if they are withdrawn.
In reality, the likelihood is that the U.S. has entered a broad, durable economic sweet spot, not a fragile interim. The economic recovery shouldn't be all that sensitive to interest rates, mortgage rates, business confidence or the foreign demand for U.S. assets. Growth is being driven by other, more powerful factors: the welcome exit from the deflationary macroeconomic policies of the late 1990s, and the proven flexibility and entrepreneurism of the labor force, which have added immensely to our earning potential.
Sigh of Relief
The recovery should also be sustainable over a wide range of values for the U.S. dollar. Clearly, a return to the ever-strengthening dollar policy of the 1990s would be harmful, as would the acceptance of an ever-weakening dollar. But this leaves open a wide range of acceptable values for the dollar given its very strong starting point. I think an explicit "strong and stable" dollar policy would be the most pro-growth, but other formulations will also promote economic recovery as long as they don't permit a new trend, strong or weak, in the dollar's value.
The recent rise in the price of gold and the dollar's "weakness" against other currencies is actually a central part of the bullish case for the U.S. The low price of gold in the late 1990s and the dollar's appreciation against other currencies indicated a shortage of liquidity, a scarcity of dollars. The recent moves in the dollar's value are an almost audible sigh of relief that the deflationary forces have abated. Something similar happened in July 1982: Gold rose sharply when Fed Chairman Paul Volcker loosened his disinflationary monetary policy. Within a month, equities had begun a strong rally, knowing that this was relief from deflation, not an inflation threat. With the dollar still very strong today, we are likely to see a low inflation environment for years to come, a key component of the economic sweet spot.
Best of all, our current recovery is global in nature. Europe should begin to bounce back soon. And Japan is finally breaking out of its deflation spiral, with the Bank of Japan printing huge quantities of yen and the yen price of gold, commodities, and wholesale goods rising. I expect Japan to begin adding to world GDP in 2003, a major improvement from the 1990s. Many emerging markets will also benefit, helping reverse some of the polarization of the world economy that so marred the past decade.
Business leaders and the equity market are having trouble seeing the recovery because they are reeling from two blows -- the unaccustomed nature of the deflationary pressures at work and a welter of microeconomic problems including sweeping litigation threats, accounting mistakes, bankruptcies, security costs, insurance issues and Washington's protectionism.
The damage from currency weakness and inflation is well known. In contrast, sustained currency strength -- as the U.S. experienced in the 1990s with the 30% increase in the dollar's value after the December 1996 change in monetary policy imbedded in Alan Greenspan's "irrational exuberance" speech -- is rare and has almost always led to deep, prolonged recessions. Since the world left the gold standard in 1971, only Japan and the U.S., among major industrial countries, have gone through massive currency strength. Japan's deflationary episode lasted from 1985 through 2001, with the results evident in a decade-long stagnation.
The U.S.'s deflationary episode lasted from 1997 to 2001, culminating in an actual decline in the GDP deflator, the broadest measure of prices, in the fourth quarter of 2001, the first in 50 years. Fortunately, the economy is likely to emerge in relatively good condition.
First, deflation stopped deepening soon after Sept. 11. The Fed added liquidity and finally let real interest rates fall. The price of gold and commodities began to recover some of their losses, making clear the improvement in monetary policy. Gone almost overnight were the recessionary policies of the late 1990s -- high real interest rates, heavy taxes on the private sector to pay off the national debt, and the U.S. encouragement of the OPEC cartel and its $30-per-barrel oil.
Second, the economy and labor force have proven their flexibility and resilience. Productivity growth strengthened in the 1990s and stayed strong in the recession, suggesting that the average U.S. growth rate over the next decade will be well above historical norms. Worries about the consumer's balance sheet have proved false, with evidence that the personal savings rate was much higher than government statistics showed and that delinquencies in this recession stayed well below expected levels.
Overlooked in the current gloom is the structural improvement in the U.S. unemployment rate in the 1980s and 1990s. If the U.S. unemployment "floor" is indeed 4%-6% rather than the 6%-8% predicted by the Phillips Curve, then the lifetime earnings of U.S. workers is trillions of dollars more than earlier estimates. The U.S. has a growing labor force employed mostly in private-sector, flexible jobs. This has massive positive implications for the U.S. and for the wide and widening U.S. advantage over Europe, which has a shrinking labor force employed mostly in government and unionized jobs.
Bears argue that the 4% unemployment rate of the late 1990s was an aberration. I don't think so. The big obstacles to low U.S. unemployment in earlier decades were the inflation and rising tax rates of the 1970s, the false economic theory that low unemployment was inflationary, the now-redesigned welfare system, and inflexibility in the workplace. These barriers are gone, and it's hard to defend a "jobless recovery" theory.
No Lasting Damage
Paul Krugman's June 4 New York Times diatribe asked "who will save the malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A.?" The answer is clear enough: better macroeconomic policy, labor flexibility, very low inventories, and the intense focus on corporate malfeasance we have seen in recent months.
In short, the likelihood is that macroeconomic mistakes in the late 1990s which caused the boom and bust have been corrected. The microeconomic aftershocks, while serious, are passing quickly, and are not likely to cause lasting damage to the U.S. economy's ability to create prosperity.