Financial markets seem convinced that the recent surge in business and consumer confidence in the US economy will soon be reflected in “hard” data, such as GDP growth, business investment, consumption, and wages. But economists and policymakers are not so sure. (To some outside the US, it is an assumption that sometimes looks a lot like blind faith.)
Over the past few months interest rates and the value of the dollar have risen sharply, and monetary policy’s quantitative indicators have contracted. These monetary restrictions have worsened the structural impediments to U.S. economic growth that existed before the election and continue today...
“He might be bad or he might be good. He has no political experience. He talks openly, rejects political correctness. And he throws out theories that might even be right – we really just don’t know – because we’ve never heard them before.” Which is today’s narrative.
The corporate sector’s animal spirits may soon give way to primal fear: the market rally is already running out of steam, and Trump’s honeymoon with investors might be coming to an end. There are several reasons for this...
Half a world away at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz made remarks earlier this week that the US should "get rid of currency." Physical cash means there is no one else standing between you and your savings. But Professor Stiglitz and his colleagues don’t want that. They want a massive, centralized bureaucracy to have control over your savings.
Demonetization will have achieved nothing positive. But it will have seriously damaged the Indian economy. The human costs are immense and continue to pile up. This could easily - even likely - take India to autocracy and eventually, bloody and chaotic disintegration. The demonetization policy and Modi are merely symptoms of deeper issues though.
So here we are, disgust from so many, euphoria from others, and LOTS of uncertainty about what’s to come. Meanwhile, all the disgust and euphoria - these are intense emotions that cloud judgment. We human beings tend to make very bad decisions... and miss a lot of important cues... when we’re emotional.
Infamous rules-based economist John Taylor attended the first monetary-policy conference in Jackson Hole in 1982, and he may be the only person to attend both the 1st and the this year's 35th. With Fed policy the easiest (relative to economic fundamentals) every in history, Taylor has one wish for an outcome... "less weird policy"
The notion that something good might come out of a Trump policy elicits guffaws in certain economic circles. However, by insisting that the U.S. Treasury label China a “currency manipulator” and by promoting trade that is both free and “fair,” Mr. Trump may be laying the groundwork for a significant breakthrough in international monetary relations - one that could ultimately validate the rationale for an open global marketplace and restore genuine free trade as a vital component of economic growth.
"While seemingly elegant in theory, globalization suffers in practice. That is the lesson of Brexit and of the rise of Donald Trump in the United States. And it also underpins the increasingly virulent anti-China backlash now sweeping the world. Those who worship at the altar of free trade, including me, must come to grips with this glaring disconnect."