Hvis nogen er gået glip af Richmond Feds interview med John Cochrane fra efteråret, så kan det anbefales at læse. Cochrane er ikke alene en af de mest interessante økonomer på det finansielle område. Han er klart tænkende på nogle af de vigtigste økonomiske spørgsmål i tiden: Finansiel regulering, konjunkturpolitik, fundamentet for makroteori, ulighed og meget mere. Han er ikonoklast, så der er noget for alle at blive provokeret af. Og han taler et herligt klart sprog. Et par smagsprøver:
But in a time of general turbulence and perceived “systemic” risk, whatever that means, seeing large and politically well-connected institutions clamoring about what tragedies will happen if they lose money, and with the power to decide who loses and who doesn’t, officials will protect creditors just as fast next time. A crisis is a terrible time to grow a spine.
You have to set up the system ahead of time so that you either can’t or won’t need to conduct bailouts. Ideally, both.
On the first, the only way to precommit to not conducting bailouts is to remove the legal authority to bail out. Ex post, policymakers will always want to clean up the damage from crises and worry about moral hazard another day. Ulysses understood he had to be tied to the mast if he was going to ignore the sirens. You also have to let people know, loudly. The worst possible system is one in which everyone thinks bailouts are coming, but the government in fact does not have the legal authority to bail out.
I think we’ve left the point that we can blame generic “demand” deficiencies, after all these years of stagnation. The idea that everything is fundamentally fine with the U.S. economy, except that negative 2 percent real interest rates on short-term Treasuries are choking the supply of credit, seems pretty farfetched to me. This is starting to look like “supply”: a permanent reduction in output and, more troubling, in our long-run growth rate.
Hans blog, The Grumpy Economist, er også værd at følge.