Central bankers have long recognized that it is imprudent to lower interest rates in pursuit of full employment if the consequence is an inflationary spiral in wages, resource prices, or consumer prices. (...)Men er det ikke netop problemet: At Kinas handelsoverskud og USA's relativt høje arbejdsløshed var to sider af samme mønt - nemlig Kinas valutamanipulation?
I do, however, know that the way the issue is usually posed is wrong. People claim that the Greenspan Federal Reserve "aggressively pushed the interest rate below its natural level." But what is the natural level of the interest rate? Swedish economist Knut Wicksell defined the natural rate of interest in the 1920s: it is the interest rate at which, economy wide, desired investment is equal to desired savings and hence in which there is neither upward pressure for consumer price, resource price, and wage inflation to accelerate as aggregate demand outruns supply nor downward pressure on those three inflation rates as demand falls short of supply. On Wicksell's definition--which is the best, in fact, to my knowledge the only definition--the market interest rate was if anything above the natural interest rate in the early 2000s: not accelerating inflation but rather deflation threatened. The natural interest rate was very low because, as Ben Bernanke explained at the time, the world had a global savings glut (or, rather, a global investment deficiency). (...)
You can argue--and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I will believe you--that Alan Greenspan's policies in the early 2000s were wrong. But you cannot argue that he aggressively pushed the interest rate below its natural level.
Jeg er som sagt ikke noget geni til økonomi, men at sætte renten til ingenting for at få folk i arbejde virker som at skyde forbi målet, der nu engang måtte være den skæve handelsbalance mellem USA og Kina, som følge af Kinas hokus pokus med valutakurser og vestlig modvilje mod en straftold på samme. "Det naturlige arbejdsløshedsniveau" kan under disse betingelser være temmeligt højt, og alt andet end naturligt.