Vojna med ameriškimi ekonomisti eskalira

Pred dnevi smo se s kolegi pogovarjali, da je to, kar se dogaja v ZDA, brez veze. Pri tem smo imeli v mislih spore na odprti sceni med vodilnimi ameriškimi ekonomisti glede pravilne makroekonomske politike. Zadeva je seveda nekoliko širša, saj ti spori odražajo razlike v ideologiji teh istih ekonomistov. In še več, odražajo tektonske razlike med obema političnima blokoma v ZDA, med liberalci in konzervativci, ki pa imajo v ozadju povsem materialno podstat. Tisto, ki sem jo zadnjič pokazal v postu o zgornjem 1%, ki dobiva skoraj četrtino vseh dohodkov. In tisto, ki je privedla do tako močne deregulacije finančnega sektorja. Follow the money.

Paul Krugman, ki je eden izmed glavnih protagonistov in kurjačev tega spora na odprti sceni, le-tega brutalno jasno imenuje “vojna med makroekonomisti“. Vojna, ki naj bi divjala v 1970-ih in ki naj bi se po mnenju Oliviera Blancharda, glavnega ekonomista IMF, nato v nekaj desetletjih sprevrgla v “široko konvergenco” pogledov z “nekaj specifikami“. Vsaj tako je Blanchard mislil, ko je avgusta 2008 objavil ta članek The State of Macro:

For a long while after the explosion of macroeconomics in the 1970s, the field looked like a battlefield. Over time however, largely because facts do not go away, a largely shared vision both of fluctuations and of methodology has emerged. Not everything is fine. Like all revolutions, this one has come with the destruction of some knowledge, and suffers from extremism and herding. None of this deadly however. The state of macro is good.

The first section sets the stage with a brief review of the past. The second argues that there has been broad convergence in vision, and the third reviews the specifics. The fourth focuses on convergence in methodology. The last looks at current challenges.

No, Blanchard je tako mislil avgusta 2008, tik preden je izbruhnila sedanja Velika Recesija in tik preden je postalo jasno, da bo to največja kriza po Veliki Depresiji iz 1930-let ter tik preden je postalo jasno, da obstoječa makroekonomska orodja, o katerih naj bi veljal konsenz med ekonomisti različnih šol, ne zadostujejo za rešitev krize. Šele takrat je izbruhnila nova vojna med ekonomisti, zato Krugman ta Blanchardov pogled imenuje “deluzija“. Krugman gre seveda naprej in pravi, da konvergence v pogledih ekonomistov pravzaprav nikoli ni bilo, nekateri ekonomisti in ekonomske šole, na čelu seveda s čikaško, so pač preprosto odpisali in zavrgli vse, kar je bilo keynesianskega:

… but it became painfully clear in 2008-2009 that many economists — especially, but not only, at the University of Chicago — not only didn’t work in a New Keynesian framework, they were unaware that such a thing existed. As far as they knew, everything Keynesian had been refuted in the 1970s.

Krugman je oster in pravi, da na veliko šolah študenti ekonomije sploh niso mogli poslušati celotne makroekonomije, saj se makroekonomski del, ki se nanaša na učinkovito glajenje ekonomskih ciklov z monetarno in fiskalno politiko, sploh ni predaval. In še več, medtem ko naj bi ena šola, neokeynesianska, naredila napredek in naredila svoja modelska orodja (generacija New Keynesian modelov) sprejemljiva tudi za drugo stran, pa je druga stran ta orodja povsem ignorirala:

It would be interesting to know how many graduate departments were in fact teaching New Keynesian macro in 2008. My guess is that a fair number weren’t — that students literally had no exposure to the notion that monetary policy, let alone fiscal policy, could play an effective stabilizing role. The notion that we had reached some kind of intellectual detente was, as I said, a delusion: Keynesians had rebuilt their models to make them acceptable to the other side, but the idea that there was any real dialogue was a fantasy.

Now, it is true that New Keynesian models were dominant in policy-oriented research shops — at the various Feds, at the IMF, the Bank of England, etc.. But economists in such places aren’t as free to offer independent views as the academics, so the fact that NK was very much not established in the academic world mattered a lot.

Even given all that, it has been remarkable how unwilling many economists whose theoretical framework seems to be more or less Keynesian have been to go with the implications of that framework for fiscal and monetary policy; I think of people like John Taylor and Martin Feldstein. So there are deeper problems.

Vir: Paul Krugman, New York Times

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