“What’s Wrong With the 2 Percent Inflation Target”

Dieser Kommentar des ehemaligen US-Notenbank-Präsidenten Paul Volker erschien schon im letzten Herbst bei Bloomberg. Er blickt kritisch auf die Geldpolitik der letzten Jahre und zeigt damit deutlich, dass es weniger ein Problem des Wissens ist als des Wollens, wenn die Notenbanken eisern am Kurs der völligen Monetarisierung festhalten:

  • “(…) recently, a remarkable consensus has developed among central bankers that there’s a new ‘red line’ for policy: A 2 percent rate of increase in some carefully designed consumer price index is acceptable, even desirable, and at the same time provides a limit.” – bto: Das ist bekanntlich auch für die EZB das offizielle Ziel ihrer Handlungen.
  • “A 2 percent target, or limit, was not in my textbooks years ago. I know of no theoretical justification. It’s difficult to be both a target and a limit at the same time. And a 2 percent inflation rate, successfully maintained, would mean the price level doubles in little more than a generation.” – bto: Natürlich gibt e seine Logik. In unserer Geldordnung hilft Inflation schon, die Wirkung von Schulden, Zins und Zinseszins abzuschwächen und erleichtert die Anpassungen von realen Löhnen in einem ansonsten deflationären Umfeld.
  • “(…) with economic growth rising and the unemployment rate near historic lows, concerns are being voiced that consumer prices are growing too slowly — just because they’re a quarter percent or so below the 2 percent target! Could that be a signal to ‘ease’ monetary policy, or at least to delay restraint, even with the economy at full employment? Certainly, that would be nonsense. How did central bankers fall into the trap of assigning such weight to tiny changes in a single statistic, with all of its inherent weakness?” – bto: Das ist eine sehr gute und berechtigte Frage! Es ist nur mit den Schulden zu erklären, denke ich.
  • “(…) in 1987 (…) New Zealand economic policy was undergoing radical change. Years of high inflation, slow growth, and increasing foreign debt culminated in a sharp swing toward support for free markets and a strong attack on inflation (…) The new government set an annual inflation rate of zero to 2 percent as the central bank’s key objective. The simplicity of the target was seen as part of its appeal — no excuses, no hedging about, one policy, one instrument. Within a year or so the inflation rate fell to about 2 percent.” – bto: Und der Chef der Notenbank ist dann um die Welt gereist und hat diese Politik verbreitet. Sie war schließlich erfolgreich.
  • “(…) such seeming numerical precision suggests it is possible to fine-tune policy with more flexible targeting as conditions change. Perhaps an increase to 3 percent to provide a slight stimulus if the economy seems too sluggish? And, if 3 percent isn’t enough, why not 4 percent? (…) I read such ideas voiced occasionally by Fed officials or economists at the International Monetary Fund, and more frequently from economics professors. In Japan, it seems to be the new gospel.” – bto: In dieselbe Kategorie fallen die Überlegungen, höhere Inflation zuzulassen, um Jahre mit zu tiefer Inflation zu kompensieren.
  • “The fact is, even if it would be desirable, the tools of monetary and fiscal policy simply don’t permit that degree of precision. Yielding to the temptation to ‘test the waters’ can only undercut the commitment to stability that sound monetary policy requires. The old belief that a little inflation is a good thing for employment (…) lingers on even though Nobel Prize–winning research and experience over decades suggests otherwise. In its new, more sophisticated form it seems to be fear of deflation that drives the argument.” – bto: was vorgeschoben ist, geht es doch ausschließlich um die Schulden und das Finanzsystem.
  • “Deflation (…) has not been a reality in this country for more than eighty years. It is true that interest rates can’t fall significantly below zero in nominal terms. So, the argument runs, let’s keep ‘a little inflation’ — even in a recession — as a kind of safeguard, a backdoor way of keeping ‘real’ interest rates negative. Consumers will then have an incentive to buy today what might cost more tomorrow; borrowers will be enticed to borrow at zero or low interest rates, to invest before prices rise further.” – bto: Argumente, an denen aber auch etwas dran ist. Es ist leichter bei etwas Inflation.
  • “Yet that fear can, in fact, easily lead to policies that inadvertently increase the risk. History tells the story. (…) Only once in the past century, in the 1930s, have we had deflation, serious deflation. In 2008–2009 there was cause for concern. The common characteristic of those two incidents was collapse of the financial system.” – bto: Genauso ist es! Es hängt mit Schulden zusammen.
  • “Deflation is a threat posed by a critical breakdown of the financial system. (…) The real danger comes from encouraging or inadvertently tolerating (…) extreme speculation and risk taking, in effect standing by while bubbles and excesses threaten financial markets. Ironically, the ‘easy money’, striving for a ‘little inflation’ as a means of forestalling deflation, could, in the end, be what brings it about.” – bto: und zwar viel schlimmer bei jedem Anlauf. Heute sind wir demnach gefährdeter als 2009. Und die Notenbanken ahnen das und bereiten intellektuell und kommunikativ die nächsten, noch extremeren Maßnahmen vor.

→ bloomberg.com: “What’s Wrong With the 2 Percent Inflation Target”, 24. Oktober 2018