Larry Summers: Kaj mora narediti IMF za izognitev sekularni stagnaciji

O problemu dolgotrajne nizke rasti (sekularne stagnacije) za slovensko gospodarstvo lahko preberete v mojem današnjem komentarju v Financah. Pred dnevi pa je Larry Summers, glavni ekonomski svetovalec predsednika Obame, v Washington Postu objavil komentar, v katerem navaja programske točke za strategijo IMF, da bi se izognili globalni zaustavitvi rasti.

In its current World Economic Outlook , the IMF essentially endorses the secular stagnation hypothesis — noting that the real interest rate necessary to bring about enough demand for full employment has declined significantly and is likely to remain depressed for a substantial period. Without robust growth in industrial world markets, growth in emerging economies is likely to subside even without considering the political challenges facing countries as diverse as Brazil, China, South Africa, Russia and Turkey.

In the face of inadequate demand, the world’s primary strategy is easy money. Base interest rates remain at essentially floor levels throughout most of the industrial world. While the United States is tapering quantitative easing, Japan continues to ease on a large scale and Europe seems to be moving closer to taking such a step. All this is better than the kind of tight money that in the 1930s made the Depression great. But it is highly problematic as a dominant growth strategy.

We do not have a strong basis for supposing that reductions in interest rates from very low levels have a large impact on spending decisions. We do know that they strongly encourage leverage, that they place pressure on return-seeking investors to take increased risk, that they inflate asset values and reward financial activity. The spending they induce tends to come at the expense of future demand. We cannot confidently predict the ultimate impacts of the unwinding of massive central bank balance sheets on markets or on the confidence of investors. Finally, a strategy of indefinitely sustained easy money leaves central banks dangerously short of response capacity when and if the next recession comes.

A proper growth strategy would recognize that an era of low real interest rates presents opportunities as well as risks and would focus on the promotion of high-return investments. It would have a number of elements.

In the United States, the case for substantial investment promotion is overwhelming. Increased infrastructure spending, for example, would in all likelihood reduce burdens on future generations not just by spurring growth, but by expanding the economy’s capacity and reducing deferred maintenance costs. Take the United States’ air traffic control system: Can it possibly be rational in the 21st century to rely on vacuum tubes and paper tracking of flight paths? Equally important, government could do much at no cost to promote private investment, including authorizing oil and natural gas exports, bringing clarity to the future of corporate taxes and moving forward on international trade agreements.

Vir: Larry Summers, Washington Post


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