“The Normalization Delusion”

Adair Turner ist Lesern von bto bekannt. Er hat in seinem Buch Debt and the Devil eine konsistente Analyse der Krise vorgelegt. Konsistent im doppelten Sinne in sich, aber auch zu den Überlegungen an dieser Stelle. Hier diskutiert er die verfehlten Hoffnungen auf eine Normalisierung:

  • “Many economic commentators now focus on prospects for exit‘ from nearly a decade of ultra-loose monetary policy, with central banks reducing their balance sheets to normal‘ levels and gradually raising interest rates. But we are far from a return to pre-crisis normality.” bto: Das würde ich ganz genauso sehen! Wir haben nur verschleppt, nicht gelöst.
  • “(…) advanced economies still face too-low inflation and only moderate growth, and recovery will continue to rely on fiscal stimulus, underpinned if necessary by debt monetization.” bto: Das ist seine entscheidende These, wie wir wissen. Und vermutlich ist es auch der einzige gangbare Weg.
  • “Since 2007, per capita GDP in the eurozone, Japan, and the United States are up just 0.3%, 4.4%, and 5%, respectively.(…) Despite central banks’ massive stimulus efforts, nominal GDP from 2007-16 grew 2.8% per year in the US, 1.5% in the eurozone, and just 0.2% in Japan, making it impossible to achieve moderate growth plus annual inflation in line with 2% targets.” bto: Das zeigt aber auch die Wirkung der Demografie! Japan: 4,4 Prozent pro Kopf, 0,2 Prozent insgesamt.
  • “Labor-market developments are key, with wage growth remaining stubbornly low even as unemployment falls to normal‘ pre-crisis levels. Japan is the most extreme case: with a shrinking labor force, minimal immigration, and a 2.8% unemployment rate, all standard models predict accelerating wage growth. But (…) growth in compensation remains sluggish: in June, total wages grew just 0.4%. In the US, too, each new batch of monthly data indicates strong employment growth and surprisingly low wage growth.” bto: weil wir es eben doch mit einem zunehmend globalen Markt zu tun haben und die absehbare Automatisierungswelle ebenfalls dazu beitragen wird.
  • “Nominal demand, meanwhile, is still being held back by an overhang of unresolved debt. Between 1950 and 2007, advanced economies’ private debt grew from 50% to 170% of GDP. Since 2008, debt has shifted from private to public sectors, with large fiscal deficits both an inevitable consequence of post-crisis recession and essential to maintain adequate demand. In addition, the global economy has been kept going by China’s enormous leverage increase, with the debt-to-GDP ratio up from around 140% in 2008 to 250% today. Worldwide, total public and private debt has reached a record high, up from 180% of global GDP in 2007 to 220% in March 2017. As a result, interest rates cannot return to pre-crisis levels without risking a new recession.” bto: Wir hängen wie Junkies am Tropf der Schulden.
  • “Facing this debt overhang, loose monetary policy alone was bound to be ineffective and, beyond some point, potentially harmful and counterproductive. Neither investment nor consumption responds strongly to ever-lower interest rates when debt burdens are high. Very low interest rates, meanwhile, generate asset-price increases, which benefit the already wealthy and reduce the income of less wealthy bank depositors, who in some circumstances might cut consumption more than deeply indebted borrowers increase it.” bto: genau unser heutiges Problem.
  • “(…) loose monetary policy (…) work(s) (…) only if, it facilitates fiscal expansion by keeping government borrowing costs low. Nominal GDP in the US has grown faster than in the eurozone since 2007, because the US ran deficits averaging 7.2% of GDP versus the eurozone’s 3.5%. Global growth today is crucially underpinned by China’s 3.7%-of-GDP fiscal deficit, up from 0.9% in 2014. Japan’s continued growth is assured only by large fiscal deficits stretching well into the 2020s; the Bank of Japan, which now holds government bonds equivalent to about 75% of GDP, will hold some of them forever, permanently monetizing accumulated fiscal debts. bto: Und wir werden dem Vorbild folgen!
  • “Because ever-looser monetary policy alone is decreasingly effective beyond some point, it can be partly reversed with little danger to nominal demand; and slightly higher interest rates would temper, even if only mildly, the inegalitarian impact of the current policy mix.” bto: Damit wächst aber das Risiko politischer Unfälle!
  • “I doubt that the US federal funds rate will exceed 2.5% in 2020, while Japanese and eurozone rates will rise only marginally, probably remaining well below 1%. Inflation is more likely to undershoot than to exceed 2% targets. Moderate growth at best will be insufficient to offset the impact of the lost decade of 2007-17.” bto: Damit dürfte er wohl recht behalten.

→ Project Syndicate: “The Normalization Delusion”, 4. September 2017