Zakaj je politika varčevanja bankrotirala in kako se iz nje rešiti

Bilo je za pričakovati: medtem ko se je politiki varčevanja lani oktobra odpovedal IMF, je danes isto naredila tudi Evropska komisija (EK). Predsednik EK Manuel Barosso je danes izjavil, da “politika varčevalnih ukrepov, ki jo je EU zasledovala v zadnjih nekaj letih, za delovanje nima več potrebne politične in socialne podpore. Izjavil je, da bi morala EU dati več pozornosti ukrepom, ki na hitro spodbujajo gospodarsko rast in manj na zmanjševanje javne potrošnje.” Dolgo časa je trajalo, da je spoznanje dozorelo tudi v EK, morda je k temu prispevalo tudi odkritje napake v izračunih nekdanjega prvega ekonomista IMF, Kennetha Rogoffa, prav gotovo pa povratek recesije v evro območje.

Zelo dobro poljudno razlago, zakaj politika varčevanja v pogojih skupne valute ne more uspeti in zakaj ta nujno vodi v bankrot držav, je včeraj v Guardianu dal . Po njegovem politika varčevanja bolj kot pravi ekonomski politiki temelji na moraliki:

We are talking about a politics of crime and punishment, sin and atonement. True, it’s never been particularly clear exactly what the original sin was: some combination, perhaps, of tax avoidance, laziness, benefit fraud and the election of irresponsible leaders. But in a larger sense, the message was that we were guilty of having dreamed of social security, humane working conditions, pensions, social and economic democracy.

The morality of debt has proved spectacularly good politics. It appears to work just as well whatever form it takes: fiscal sadism (Dutch and German voters really do believe that Greek, Spanish and Irish citizens are all, collectively, as they put it, “debt sinners”, and vow support for politicians willing to punish them) or fiscal masochism (middle-class Britons really will dutifully vote for candidates who tell them that government has been on a binge, that they must tighten their belts, it’ll be hard, but it’s something we can all do for the sake of our grandchildren). Politicians locate economic theories that provide flashy equations to justify the politics; their authors, like Rogoff, are celebrated as oracles; no one bothers to check if the numbers actually add up.

Razlog za poglabljanje evrske krize je preprosto v tem, da se posamezne države ne morejo zadolževati v lastni valuti. Graeber:

Even before we knew Reinhart and Rogoff’s study was simply wrong, many had pointed out their historical survey made no distinction between the effects of debt on countries such as the US or Japan – which issue their own currency and therefore have their debt denominated in that currency – and countries such as Ireland, Greece, that do not. But the real solution to the eurobond crisis, some have argued, lies in precisely this distinction.

Why is Japan not in the same situation as Spain or Italy? It has one of the highest public debt-to-GDP ratios in the world (twice that of Ireland), and is regularly featured in magazines like the Economist as a prima facie example of an economic basket case, or at least, how not to manage a modern industrial economy. Yet they have no problem raising money. In fact the rate on their 10-year bonds is under 1%. Why? Because there’s no danger of default. Everyone knows that in the event of an emergency, the Japanese government could simply print the money. And Japanese money, in turn, will always be good because there is a constant demand for it by anyone who has to pay Japanese taxes.

Posamezne države z evrom, ki se znajdejo v težavah, se enostavno ne morejo rešiti, kajti odvisne so od tega, ali jih bodo preostale države reševale ali ne. In ker se finančni trgi tega zavedajo, se bojijo bankrota posamezne države in cene zadolževanja gredo v nebo. Države posledično vse večji del proračuna namenjajo za odplačilo obresti ter vse bolj “režejo” javne izdatke, med temi pa predvsem socialne transferje in investicije. Javni izdatki padajo, gospodarstvo se krči, z njim pa tudi davki in prilivi proračuna. Posledično mora država še bolj varčevati pri javnih izdatkih, kar jo še bolj žene recesijo in bankrot. Hkrati pa se dolg tako relativno kot absolutno še bolj povečuje. Gre za “hudičevo spiralo” navzdol. Plačajo jo pa na koncu predvsem socialno šibkejši sloji. Vse skupaj pa spominja na ekonomski sadomazohizem.

No, zdaj ko je tudi najbolj hardcore zagovornikom strogega posta bolj ali manj jasno, da je šlo za napačno politiko, se šele začenja pravo delo: treba bo povrniti zaupanje med ekonomske subjekte in prebivalstvo. Da bodo prvi začeli investirati in zaposlovati, drugi pa več trošiti. Le tako je mogoče zagnati cikel gospodarske rasti. Stroški zagona gospodarske rasti bodo višji kot če do strogega posta do onemoglosti ne bi prišlo. Povrnitev zaupanja in izgon depresijske mentalitete je dolgotrajen proces. Potrebno bo angažirati več javnih sredstev, da se bo pokazal demonstracijski učinek kot bi sicer bilo potrebno. Kar pa seveda pomeni, da bodo kratkoročni proračunski deficiti šli spet navzgor, EK pa bo morala odpraviti svoje zahteve glede hitrosti fiskalne konsolidacije.

Pa to zadnje ne bo dovolj. Potrebno bo tudi nekaj narediti za “decoupling” javnih financ posameznih članic od ECB. Če že ni skupnih evro obveznic, morajo države dobiti sposobnost, da se tudi znotraj sistema skupne valute lahko samostojno rešujejo. Ena zmed takšnih možnosti je, da bi se državne obveznice lahko uporabljale kot plačilno sredstvo za plačevanje davkov v domači državi. Graeber se pri tem sklicuje na študijo Moslerja in Pilkingtona (2012), ki sta predlagala “tax backed bonds“:

The root of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis can be found in the fact that investors are concerned that countries in the periphery might default, causing them to demand a higher yield on government bonds. What’s needed is a way of giving peripheral debt a high degree of safety while allowing peripheral countries to remain users of the euro.
 
A simple solution to this problem would be for peripheral countries to begin issuing a new type of government debt: the “tax-backed bond.” Tax-backed bonds would be similar to current government bonds except that they would contain a clause stating that if the country failed to make its payments when due—and only if this happens—the bonds would be acceptable to make tax payments within the country in question. This tax backing would set an absolute floor below which the value of the asset could not fall, assuring investors that the bond is always “money good,” leading to lower bond rates and thus ensuring that peripheral countries would not be driven to default.
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Zadeva sicer zveni zelo neortodoksno, saj država izdaja obveznice, s katerimi lahko posamezniki (podjetja, inštitucije) v končni instanci plačujejo davke državi, s čimer se (ob evru) uvede še paralelna domača valuta. Toda če evro ne ustreza enako vsem in če zaradi nasprotovanja evro obveznicam ne omogoča vsem enake cene zadolževanja (za razliko od ZDA), se bo očitno treba odpovedati ortodoksiji, da sploh lahko preživimo.

2 responses

  1. No, pa še en alternativni pogled Johna Mauldinija.

    Austerity Is A Consequence — Not A Punishment
    http://www.businessinsider.com/austerity-is-a-consequence–not-a-punishment-2013-4

    “Austerity is a consequence, not a punishment. A country loses access to cheap borrowed money as a consequence of running up too much debt and losing the confidence of lenders that the debt can be repaid. Lenders don’t sit around in clubs and discuss how to “punish” a country by requiring austerity; they simply decide not to lend. Austerity is a result of a country’s trying to entice lenders into believing that the country will change and make an effort to restore confidence…

    If Italy were in control of its currency, might it make sense to print a little in the meantime, as the US, Great Britain, and Japan are doing? There is certainly a school of thought that says yes. But in a currency union of multiple countries that are all at different places on the economic journey, it is almost impossible to have a one-size-fits-all monetary policy. If the spigot is opened for Spain, Italy, et al., then Germany and others get inflation. That is a tough sell to German and Finnish voters (among others)…

    You cannot force the rest of Europe to fund your deficits. You can negotiate with them to try to lessen the severity of the crisis, but there is no pain-free path ahead from where Italy is today, Aga. Your debt to GDP is 126% and rising. Without ECB support, you would have already lost access to the bond market. If you want to stay in the euro, you just have to deal with it…”

  2. 1. Politiki palamudijo marsikaj, ampak v EUR se ne varčuje. Kdo pa ima presežek?

    2. Ne vem niti, če je odločitev sploh še v naših rokah, ker se, kot kaže, precej težko zadolžimo že sedaj.

    3. “Države posledično vse večji del proračuna namenjajo za odplačilo obresti ter vse bolj “režejo” javne izdatke, med temi pa predvsem socialne transferje in investicije.”

    Tale stavek je ključen. In resničen. Rezanje investicij je samomor, rezanje sociale pa svinjarija. Vsako drugo rezanje pa v demokracijah srednjega razreda naleti na odločen upor dobro organiziranih in interesno jasno pozicioniranih skupin. Če se prav spominjam, je bilo tudi na tem blogu govora o “hujšanju v glavo”.

    4. O idejah o prodajanju bodočih davkov pa raje ne bi.

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