Die FINANCIAL TIMES (FT) hat ein Interview mit Christopher Pissarides, Nobelpreisträger der Jahres 2010, über die aktuelle Lage geführt. Der Titel allein machte mich schon neugierig: „Debt and inflation could see us lose control“. Das ist in der Tat eine Gefahr – wie Leser dieses Blogs gut wissen.
Den Nobelpreis bekam der an der London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) lehrende Forscher für seine Untersuchungen über Friktionen an Arbeitsmärkten, beispielsweise aufgrund eines Unterschiedes zwischen angebotener und nachgefragter Qualifikation. Im Interview ging es darum, aber auch um eine breitere Sicht:
- Zunächst zum Charakter des Aufschwungs nach Corona: “It’s a completely different kind of recovery we’re facing now. Not only because of Covid, but also because it has coincided with the war in Ukraine and what’s happening to prices of materials. In 2008, the recession was focused on the financial sector, and the main spillover from there was in construction or housing . . . Once you brought [those two sectors] under control . . . then recovery was going to come on its own, as it did. I do think there were mistakes made, like the debt-reduction policies (…) That’s what slowed down the recovery, rather than the economy itself. Very importantly, there was no inflation at the time. So, we could use these expansionary monetary policies as we wanted, to get us out of the recession and there were no inflationary risks.” – bto: Das ist in der Tat ein wesentlicher Unterschied zu damals.
- Jetzt ist es auch aus einem anderen Grund schwieriger: “Now, we’re running into the problem that there is a lot more debt. So, some debt reduction might be justified before it gets out of control — although, until recently, I thought that it wasn’t justified yet. Coinciding with the rise in energy prices and those spreading out into the economy, and with the huge expansion of furlough schemes and other things during the pandemic internationally, that created a situation where we might be running risks that would get out of control. The debt situation — debt and inflation combined — could see us lose control in macro management and not be able to bring the economy under control quickly enough.” – bto: Die hohen Schulden machen es eben schwieriger, mit höheren Zinsen auf die Inflation zu reagieren.
- “On top of that, technological changes are taking place. They were happening independently in the economy because of automation, robotics and so on, but Covid brought new technological changes. Couple that with China being the main trading partner of the UK, outside Europe, and going into lockdown seemingly forever, and what’s happening with energy supplies and in other supply chains. There are so many things taking place simultaneously that it’s really a very, very difficult job, knowing how to co-ordinate policy and how to control the economy so as to bring a recovery that is quick enough and without big costs, especially for those on lower incomes and for the inequality we’ve been observing across Britain.” – bto: Das ist eine Aussage, die auch auf andere Länder/Regionen zutrifft.
- “The problem with running the economy hot to deal with such problems is that it might bring even more inflation. That will affect the very people you are trying to help. The only solution I see is something similar to the furlough policy, but addressed to people in work on low incomes — because you have this double whammy of [inflation] and new technologies, which are hitting mainly low incomes and unskilled jobs. That’s the section of the economy that needs a little help, but it doesn’t need fiscal policy — general macro fiscal policy type of help — because inflation is a real constraint.” – bto: Also gezielte Hilfe für die Einkommen im unteren Bereich. Nun muss man wissen, dass UK längst nicht solch einen ausgebauten Sozialstaat hat wie Deutschland. Das erleichtert – siehe den entsprechenden Podcast zur negativen Einkommenssteuer – den Übergang zwischen Nicht-Arbeiten und Arbeiten.
- “I think we’re reaching a point where companies will automate because of the shortages of labour.” – bto: Das wäre gut für die Produktivität.
- “I don’t think it’s a risk if other measures are put in place at the same time — upskilling and the transition to new types of jobs where there are labour shortages. The skills required in the new jobs are different from the ones that automation technologies have taken over. They may be a bit more technical. They will rely more on social interaction, as in the hospitality industry and in health and care . . . But they require training.“ – bto: Und auch das würde die Produktivität steigern.
- “Productivity will go up and there is no reason why we should have the inequalities that we have, because the new jobs will be more highly skilled.” – bto: Die beste Möglichkeit der Angleichung ist über die Qualifikation von unten.
- “ (….) workers do feel a lot more threatened by new technologies and all these unanticipated shocks — Covid, war in Europe. So, I don’t see them, or their unions, being aggressive in pushing for wage rises without worrying about jobs. That mentality, I think, is past. I do see market forces pushing in that direction, because employers who think they have good business and cannot find workers might be raising wages. But again, that would depend very much on whether the training programmes are in place and whether the transitions workers would be making are feasible.” – bto: Das wäre vom Prozess her deutlich besser.
- “ (….) we have to be realistic about monetary policy. We had near zero interest rates for so long that we think that’s the norm but it’s not. Capital has a rate of return — that’s what induces investment. That rate of return should be reflected in the central bank’s interest rate policy. In a sense, it was unusual circumstances that put interest rates so low.” – bto: Aber es gibt immer noch die These, dass die Zinsen in einem säkularen Abwärtstrend sind.
- “One of the findings of intergenerational research is that what your parents did is a very strong influence. In areas where parents used to leave school at 16 and go into manufacturing, coal mining, shipbuilding and so on, that’s transmitted to the next generation. So, that’s a big constraint.“ – bto: Was es auch so schwer macht, am grünen Tisch neue Qualifkationen anzunehmen.
- “The eurozone is more flexible on the labour market because it still has a big supply of more reasonably priced labour [from eastern Europe] and there are still big numbers underemployed in their own countries or in certain jobs. Female employment rates in southern Europe are still very low and with the rise in education standards, they will increase. Altogether, the fundamentals, if you like, of the labour market in the eurozone are a lot better than almost anywhere else in the advanced world.” – bto: Das setzt natürlich voraus, dass es auch auf die politische Agenda kommt.
- “The problems the eurozone had in the past had to do more with monetary union and whether one rate of exchange was good for all the countries. But the adjustment seems to have taken place. (…) The constraints were more like the integration of the public sector in the regulation and openness of the professions — the old, traditional market rigidity of southern Europe. Gradually, those have been reformed. Spain was a leader in that reform, Italy under Mario Draghi is doing it, Greece is doing it now. When you see all those things taking place with the European Central Bank having put the financial side under control, then there are better prospects for the eurozone.” – bto: Bekanntlich teile ich derartigen Optimismus nicht.