Kritiker werfen mir vor, immer nur auf die negativen Dinge zu blicken. Grund genug einen optimistischen Beitrag zu bringen. Statt wie sonst üblich Ambroise Evans-Pritchard zu zitieren, der in einem längeren Beitrag die Auffassung vertritt, dass die USA vor einem “L” stehen und erst nach einer Änderung des Fed-Gesetzes, das die direkte Staatsfinanzierung durch die Notenbank erlaubt – also fast schon MMT – einen Aufschwung erleben. Heute ein Kollege, der Vergleiche zwischen der Spanischen Grippe und Corona und den 1920ern und den 2020ern zieht:
- “They called them ‘the Roaring Twenties’, or in France the Années Folles (crazy years) – a boom time of rapid economic growth, growing prosperity and artistic exuberance which saw the construction of the iconic Chrysler building in New York and the birth of a whole new swathe of mass consumer industries from automobiles to radio, talkies and electrically driven home appliances.” – bto: Es war ein Boom, getrieben von Innovationen, aber auch von Konsumentenkrediten.
- “The Twenties were preceded by a devastating pandemic that might have knocked anything up to 10 per cent off global GDP, and in terms of its human tragedy, hugely surpassed anything Covid 19 is likely to inflict. The so-called Spanish flu of 1918-19 is reckoned to have killed anywhere between 50m and 100m people worldwide. India alone lost an estimated 18m souls to the pandemic, or around 6 per cent of its population at the time. With better healthcare, mitigation and containment strategies, the US and Britain fared somewhat better with a mortality rate of “just” 0.5 per cent, but the numbers nonetheless put our own contemporary ‘health emergency’ in some perspective. As one of the worst affected nations by Covid in Europe, Britain has so far lost just 0.07 per cent of its population to the disease, which statistically is almost irrelevant. Yet the immediate, and largely self inflicted, economic impact appears to have been much bigger than back then.” – bto: Also als erste Aussage, die medizinischen Folgen sind kleiner, die ökonomischen wohl auch wegen der Maßnahmen größer.
- “The differences between the Spanish flu and today’s pandemic are in any case at least as great as the similarities. For a start, the Spanish flu disproportionately killed men of prime working age, which later led to labour shortages and a spike in real wages.” – bto: Das brauchen wir diesmal nicht, weil die demografische Entwicklung schon alleine zu höheren Löhnen führt. Wir bekommen also eine Umkehr des Trends der sinkenden Lohnquote.
- “And although the death toll was so much higher, paradoxically the immediate economic impact of the Spanish flu seems to have been far less severe than today’s pandemic. There is very little reliable economic data from this time; most analysis relies heavily on anecdotal evidence. The period of highest impact also coincided with the end of the Great War, making the two events difficult to disentangle.”
- “(…) the war effort ensured some degree of countervailing support for an economy which in any case wasn’t in those days nearly as dependent on discretionary consumer spending as today. With demobilisation and the consequent release of pent up demand, the economy was quick to recover. Interestingly, the Dow Jones rose throughout the pandemic, surging 10.5 per cent in 1918 and by 30.5 per cent in 1919.” – bto: weil es zu Mehrnachfrage kam, nachdem das “Zwangssparen” der Kriegszeit zu Ende war.
- “Two tentative economic conclusions can be drawn from this experience. One is that once we emerge from the current hysteria, recovery ought to be rapid, even if the economy grows back in a somewhat different form. Despite the recent spike in infection rates in the US and the developing world, there is good reason to believe this moment could be sooner than we think.” – bto: sicherlich, wenn es gelingt einen Impfstoff zur Verfügung zu stellen.
- “In the Spanish flu pandemic, the second wave was much more devastating than the first; there is obviously that possibility this time too, but it looks increasingly unlikely. Even in the US, death rates remain comparatively low, despite the resurgence in infections. So assuming the economy hasn’t entirely expired while in induced coma, there still remains a reasonable chance of the sort of V-shaped recovery we saw after the Spanish flu.” – bto: Die Frage, die sich mir stellt, ist, wie sehr die Unternehmen durch die Verschuldung angeschlagen sind.
- “The second, more speculative, conclusion is that galvanised by unprecedented quantities of fiscal and monetary stimulus, in combination with the power of the virus to accelerate the transition from one economic age to another, we could indeed in a few years time be looking at more of a Roaring Twenties boom than a depression. Things could of course go the other way, but this would actually be a quite unusual outcome for a serious, global pandemic, the long term economic consequences of which are generally and ironically quite positive. Economic rebirth is in other words more likely than final death.” – bto: was allerdings die Studie früherer Pandemien nicht hergibt. Diese zeigt zwar höhere Löhne aber geringeres Wachstum.
- “Capitalism, and the US economy in particular, have an enormous capacity for reinventing themselves. After more than a decade of effective stagnation, my guess is that we are approaching one of those moments.” – bto: Das wäre schön und würde die finanzielle Repression erleichtern!