Tag Archives: inflation

Structural Divergence in Europe: Death Foretold

One of my mantras is that doing economics is not about “being right,” but about getting wiser all the times. Note that the two things may not overlap. I, for example, would rather be wrong all of the time but know why I am being wrong instead of being right without having a clue as to why. So, I think it is a good mantra, and I will stick with it. Now, after the beginning of the current financial crisis and recession, more or less prominent economists lined up to tell the world that they were “right” as they had seen the crisis coming. Some actually had something to back … Continue reading

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Can the US Go Bankrupt? Yes, of course it can

A few days ago, the rating agency Standard & Poor’s changed its rating of US government bonds from the usual (highest possible) AAA to a similar one, but with a “negative outlook warning”. This caused havoc around the blogosphere and in policy circles. Some claimed that this was an untimely private, and politically motivated, action serving to undermine public spending programmes in the US. In any case, the market didn’t take much notice, as the interest on government bonds moved little. “Poor Standards” as Paul Krugman called it. He may be right. After all, S&P did funny ratings in the past (remember house-backed securities pre 2007?). And, by the way, … Continue reading

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The Inflation Fallacy and central banking debates in the US

Among my favorite contemporary academic economists is N. Gregory Mankiw. I have always found his academic writings very lucid and to the point. I was once again reminded of this today, when I stumbled over some debates about abolishing the Federal Reserve System. Opponents of central banking, mostly self-proclaimed followers of the “Austrian school”, view central banks as monopoly powers that undermine free markets and are inherently inflationary – implying a government-supported devaluation of the population’s wealth. In the United States, these opponents are having golden days, as they can blame the Fed for having not only caused the financial crisis, but also for engaging in irresponsible quantitative easing that … Continue reading

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