Likviditetsfällan slår igen (II)

21 Aug, 2011 at 18:27 | Posted in Economics | Comments Off on Likviditetsfällan slår igen (II)

Några av mina kära läsare har redan hört av sig och undrat om mitt recept på likviditetsfällan verkligen skiljer sig från den neoklassiska klokskapen. Sjunkande reallöner – via inflation eller lönesänkningar – går väl på ett ut?

Nej, det är just det tankefelet vi måste komma bort ifrån om vi ska få bukt med dagens ekonomiska moras. Som Keynes skriver i General Theory (1936, s 268-69):

The method of increasing the quantity of money in terms of wage-units by decreasing the wage-unit increases proportionately the burden of debt [kursiv – LPS]; whereas the method of producing the same result by increasing the quantity of money whilst leaving the wage-unit unchanged has the opposite effect. Having regard to the excessive burden of many types of debt, it can only be an inexperienced person [läs: neoklassiska ekonomer] who would prefer the former … If a sagging rate of interest has to be brought about by a sagging wage-level … there is … a double reason for putting off investment and thus postponing recovery.

Med det massiva skuldöverhäng världsekonomin dras med sedan åminstone år 2008 är skuldbördan ett centralt inslag i problembilden även idag. Som teorins upphovsman själv – Irving Fisher – skriver i Debt-Deflation Theory of Great Depressions (Econometrica, 1933, s 349):

In summary, we find that: (1) economic changes include steady trends and unsteady occasional disturbances which act as starters for cyclical oscillations of innumerable kinds; (2) among the many occasional disturbances, are new opportunities to invest, especially because of new inventions; (3) these, with other causes, sometimes conspire to lead to a great volume of over-indebtedness; (4) this in turn, leads to attempts to liquidate; (5) these, in turn, lead (unless counteracted by reflation) to falling prices or a swelling dollar; (6) the dollar may swell faster than the number of dollars owed shrinks; (7) in that case, liquidation does not really liquidate but actually aggravates the debts, and the depression grows worse instead of better, as indicated by all nine factors; (8) the ways out are either laissez faire (bankruptcy) or scientific medication (reflation), and reflation might just as well have been applied in the first place.

Om EU:s regeringar och deras riksbanker – och republikanska tepåsepolitiker i USA – fortsätter på den inslagna åtstramningspolitiken kommer vi att hamna djupt i den skulddepression som Fisher och Keynes varnade för redan på 1930-talet.

Ska det verkligen behöva vara så svårt att lära av historien? Jag tror inte det – om bara viljan finns!

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