Come Andrà l'economia americana - Gzibordi
By: GZ on Mercoledì 23 Gennaio 2002 02:06
nel caso qualcuno fosse preoccupato di come finirà l'economia american ecco oggi l'opinione di Milton Friedman (sul WSJ di oggi).
Oltre a essere l'economista più importante del dopoguerra è anche l'unico che è famoso per essere stato negativo sulle borse nel 1987 e nel 1999, quindi che ha un certo buon senso pratico (entrambe queste posizioni di Friedman sono state pubblicizzate a suo tempo).
La sostanza è che nonostante la forte somiglianza con il 1929 e la crisi e con il 1989 in giappone e la relativa crisi successiva
la FED sta ora pompando abbastanza moneta da fare ripartire l'economia (a differenza di quello che accadde appunto nel
1929 e nel 1989 in giappone)
"... current recession will be mild and that expansion will soon resume......"
-------------------- Milton Friedman (sul WSJ di oggi) ---------------------
To an economist, the 1990s bear an uncanny resemblance to two earlier decades: the 1920s in the United States and the 1980s in Japan. In all three decades, technological change produced extraordinary economic growth, leading to talk of a "new era" and triggering a bull market in stocks that terminated in a market collapse -- widely regarded as the bursting of a speculative bubble. The 1920s were followed by the Great Depression in the U.S., the 1980s by stagnation and recurrent recession in Japan.
What will the 1990s bring? And what role has monetary policy played in these episodes?
Economic growth during the first 10 years of each episode was remarkably similar. Real gross domestic product grew an average of 3.3% per year in the U.S. from 1919 to 1929; 3.7% in Japan from 1980 to 1990; and 3.2% in the U.S. from 1990 to 2000 -- clearly, remarkable similarity.
In the two earlier episodes, what followed was very different -- a major catastrophe in the U.S., stagnation in Japan.
From the peak in 1929 to the trough in 1933, U.S. GDP fell by more than a third, and had not returned to the 1929 peak by the next cyclical peak in 1937. In Japan, GDP fell below the initial peak level by trivial amounts for a few quarters, plateaued for about two years, and then resumed slow but highly erratic growth.
In the U.S., unemployment reached 25% at the trough of the depression in 1933. During the rest of the decade, 1934 to 1939, unemployment averaged 18%. In Japan, reported unemployment never exceeded single digits. This number understates the severity of the situation, thanks both to different methods of recording and different national cultures bearing on employment. Nonetheless, it seems clear that an estimate comparable to U.S. figures would never have reached anything like 25%.
The three bull markets in stocks likewise display remarkable similarity, even extending to the early stages of the current decline. In the six years prior to the stock market peak, the indexes rose 333% in the U.S. from 1923 to 1929, 387% in Japan from 1983 to 1989, and 320% in the U.S. from 1994 to 2000.
The subsequent decline was decidedly less in Japan in the 1990s than in the U.S. in the 1930s -- 55% compared to 80% from the peak to the initial trough. However, the Japanese index remained flat throughout the 1990s. and more recently has fallen sharply again, while the U.S. index rose rapidly from its 1933 trough.
The quantity of money rose fairly steadily in all three of the decades preceding the stock market peak, but at a much higher rate in the Japanese decade -- 9.1% per year from 1980 to 1990, compared with 3.9% per year from 1919 to 1929 and 4.1% per year from 1990 to 2000 in the U.S. The higher rate in Japan may explain why the Japanese bubble was so much more sweeping than its counterparts in the two U.S. episodes.
The behavior in the following years differed much more sharply. The U.S. quantity of money fell by more than a third from the cyclical peak in 1929 to the trough in 1933. The Japanese quantity of money fell by two-tenths of one percent in the first year after the cyclical peak, and then rose by 2.5% per year in the next two years. In the current episode, the quantity of money in the U.S. has already risen by more than 11% during the first five quarters after the cyclical peak.
These differences in monetary growth are a major reason why the contraction in the United States from 1929 to 1933 was so much more more severe than the flat economic growth or modest contraction in Japan. They also suggest that the current reaction in the U.S. will be far less severe than in either of the earlier episodes.
The evidence linking the behavior of the stock of money with the behavior of the economy goes well beyond these three episodes. Every great depression has been accompanied or preceded by a monetary collapse -- banking difficulties plus a decline in the quantity of money -- just as every great inflation has been accompanied or preceded by sharp increases in the quantity of money.
Central bankers, like other students of money, have learned this lesson, which is part of the reason that there has been no repeat of the Great Depression in the post-World-War II period despite repeated scares. The Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan is currently applying that lesson, which is reason to believe that the current recession will be mild and that expansion will soon resume.
What the future brings will depend of course on how monetary policy evolves. While the current rate of monetary growth of more than 10% is sustainable and perhaps even desirable as a defense against economic contraction and in reaction to the events of Sept. 11, continuation of anything like that rate of monetary growth will ensure that inflation rears its ugly head once again.
However, the Fed preempted on the downturn and I suspect it will again preempt on the upturn, so as to avoid such an outcome.
Edited by - gzibordi on 1/23/2002 1:14:53