Perverzne politike ali kaj vleče svetovno gospodarstvo v stagnacijo

 Joseph Stiglitz & Hamid Rashid pravita natanko to, kar nam je večini ekonomistov brez ideoloških očal že nekaj časa preklemansko jasno: monetarna politika v času likvidnostne pasti ne deluje – ne spodbuja niti rasti niti inflacije. Pač pa zgolj napihuje finančne balone, ki bodo zdaj zdaj počili. V teh pogojih bi delovalo zgolj povečano zadolževanje držav za naložbe v infrastrukturo, izobraževanje, zdravstvo in in socialne storitve (fiskalna politika), ob hkratnem dvigu davkov na premoženje in dohodke ter škodljive izpuste. Toda razvite države so šle v povsem nasprotno smer od bazične učbeniške logike: uporabile so ekstremno ekspanzivno monetarno politiko ob ekstremno restruktivni fiskalni politiki. Dlje časa kot razvite države s tem napačnim miksom politik nadaljujejo, tem globlja in daljša bo stagnacija in tem večje bodo socialne (človeške) žrtve.

But the dominant policies during the post-crisis period – fiscal retrenchment and quantitative easing (QE) by major central banks – have offered little support to stimulate household consumption, investment, and growth. On the contrary, they have tended to make matters worse.

Perverse incentives are only one reason that many of the hoped-for benefits of low interest rates did not materialize. Given that QE managed to sustain near-zero interest rates for almost seven years, it should have encouraged governments in developed countries to borrow and invest in infrastructure, education, and social sectors. Increasing social transfers during the post-crisis period would have boosted aggregate demand and smoothed out consumption patterns.

Moreover, the UN report clearly shows that, throughout the developed world, private investment did not grow as one might have expected, given ultra-low interest rates. In 17 of the 20 largest developed economies, investment growth remained lower during the post-2008 period than in the years prior to the crisis; five experienced a decline in investment during 2010-2015.

Globally, debt securities issued by non-financial corporations – which are supposed to undertake fixed investments – increased significantly during the same period. Consistent with other evidence, this implies that many non-financial corporations borrowed, taking advantage of the low interest rates. But, rather than investing, they used the borrowed money to buy back their own equities or purchase other financial assets. QE thus stimulated sharp increases in leverage, market capitalization, and financial-sector profitability.

But, again, none of this was of much help to the real economy. …

Neither monetary policy nor the financial sector is doing what it’s supposed to do. It appears that the flood of liquidity has disproportionately gone toward creating financial wealth and inflating asset bubbles, rather than strengthening the real economy. Despite sharp declines in equity prices worldwide, market capitalization as a share of world GDP remains high. The risk of another financial crisis cannot be ignored.

There are other policies that hold out the promise of restoring sustainable and inclusive growth. These begin with rewriting the rules of the market economy to ensure greater equality, more long-term thinking, and reining in the financial market with effective regulation and appropriate incentive structures.

But large increases in public investment in infrastructure, education, and technology will also be needed. These will have to be financed, at least in part, by the imposition of environmental taxes, including carbon taxes, and taxes on the monopoly and other rents that have become pervasive in the market economy – and contribute enormously to inequality and slow growth.

Vir: Joseph Stiglitz & Hamid Rashid, Project Syndicate

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