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Stephen Roach On Why Abe's Aggression Won't Save Japan

Tyler Durden's picture





 

Authored by Stephen Roach, originally posted at Project Syndicate,

The politicization of central banking continues unabated. The resurrection of Shinzo Abe and Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party – pillars of the political system that has left the Japanese economy mired in two lost decades and counting – is just the latest case in point.

Japan’s recent election hinged critically on Abe’s views of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy stance. He argued that a timid BOJ should learn from its more aggressive counterparts, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. Just as the Fed and the ECB have apparently saved the day through their unconventional and aggressive quantitative easing (QE), goes the argument, Abe believes it is now time for the BOJ to do the same.

It certainly looks as if he will get his way. With BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s term ending in April, Abe will be able to select a successor – and two deputy governors as well – to do his bidding.

But will it work? While experimental monetary policy is now widely accepted as standard operating procedure in today’s post-crisis era, its efficacy is dubious. Nearly four years after the world hit bottom in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, QE’s impact has been strikingly asymmetric. While massive liquidity injections were effective in unfreezing credit markets and arrested the worst of the crisis – witness the role of the Fed’s first round of QE in 2009-2010 – subsequent efforts have not sparked anything close to a normal cyclical recovery.

The reason is not hard to fathom. Hobbled by severe damage to private and public-sector balance sheets, and with policy interest rates at or near zero, post-bubble economies have been mired in a classic “liquidity trap.” They are more focused on paying down massive debt overhangs built up before the crisis than on assuming new debt and boosting aggregate demand.

The sad case of the American consumer is a classic example of how this plays out. In the years leading up to the crisis, two bubbles – property and credit – fueled a record-high personal-consumption binge. When the bubbles burst, households understandably became fixated on balance-sheet repair – namely, paying down debt and rebuilding personal savings, rather than resuming excessive spending habits.

Indeed, notwithstanding an unprecedented post-crisis tripling of Fed assets to roughly $3 trillion – probably on their way to $4 trillion over the next year – US consumers have pulled back as never before. In the 19 quarters since the start of 2008, annualized growth of inflation-adjusted consumer spending has averaged just 0.7% – almost three percentage points below the 3.6% trend increases recorded in the 11 years ending in 2006.

Nor does the ECB have reason to be gratified with its strain of quantitative easing. Despite a doubling of its balance sheet, to a little more than €3 trillion ($4 trillion), Europe has slipped back into recession for the second time in four years.

Not only is QE’s ability to jumpstart crisis-torn, balance-sheet-constrained economies limited; it also runs the important risk of blurring the distinction between monetary and fiscal policy. Central banks that buy sovereign debt issued by fiscal authorities offset market-imposed discipline on borrowing costs, effectively subsidizing public-sector profligacy.

Unfortunately, it appears that Japan has forgotten many of its own lessons – especially the BOJ’s disappointing experience with zero interest rates and QE in the early 2000’s. But it has also lost sight of the 1990’s – the first of its so-called lost decades – when the authorities did all they could to prolong the life of insolvent banks and many nonfinancial corporations. Zombie-like companies were kept on artificial life-support in the false hope that time alone would revive them. It was not until late in the decade, when the banking sector was reorganized and corporate restructuring was encouraged, that Japan made progress on the long, arduous road of balance-sheet repair and structural transformation.

US authorities have succumbed to the same Japanese-like temptations. From quantitative easing to record-high federal budget deficits to unprecedented bailouts, they have done everything in their power to mask the pain of balance-sheet repair and structural adjustment. As a result, America has created its own generation of zombies – in this case, zombie consumers.

Like Japan, America’s post-bubble healing has been limited – even in the face of the Fed’s outsize liquidity injections. Household debt stood at 112% of income in the third quarter of 2012 – down from record highs in 2006, but still nearly 40 percentage points above the 75% norm of the last three decades of the twentieth century. Similarly, the personal-saving rate, at just 3.5% in the four months ending in November 2012, was less than half the 7.9% average of 1970-99.

The same is true of Europe. The ECB’s über-aggressive actions have achieved little in the way of bringing about long-awaited structural transformation in the region. Crisis-torn peripheral European economies still suffer from unsustainable debt loads and serious productivity and competitiveness problems. And a fragmented European banking system remains one of the weakest links in the regional daisy chain.

Is this the “cure” that Abe really wants for Japan? The last thing that the Japanese economy needs at this point is backsliding on structural reforms. Yet, by forcing the BOJ to follow in the misdirected footsteps of the Fed and the ECB, that is precisely the risk that Abe and Japan are facing.

Massive liquidity injections carried out by the world’s major central banks – the Fed, the ECB, and the BOJ – are neither achieving traction in their respective real economies, nor facilitating balance-sheet repair and structural change. That leaves a huge sum of excess liquidity sloshing around in global asset markets. Where it goes, the next crisis is inevitably doomed to follow.

 


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Sat, 12/29/2012 - 21:56 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

The whole world has gone mad.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 21:59 | Link to Comment flacon
flacon's picture

Yeah but at least it had a Keynesian "jump start". 2013 will be a year of growth (in the money supply). 

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 16:18 | Link to Comment Enslavethechild...
EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. Everything in Japan is either Glowing, Radiating or Mutating. Nothing in Japan will survive intact, the place is not habitable. Nothing there is worth anything. No amount of Mainstream hype can change that. Radiation has a half-life of thirty thousand years. Wake up sheeple

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:00 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

I suppose that makes us both crazy...lol.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:34 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Nietsche claimed (I think?) that what does not kill you makes you stronger.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb has a new book out: Antifragile

You all may recall that he wrote The Black Swan (very influential book in 2007).  I have just started it, and have reached Page 48.  My first impressions of the word "antifragile itself, a word Taleb had to coin himself as it was in no language he could find...

Japan is a great example of a fragile place.  Who would be antifragile?

http://tinyurl.com/d2fb2ox

 

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:51 | Link to Comment WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

Quae nocent docent.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 00:18 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

As my Latin was always very bad (lazy), I had to look that up.  

+ 1

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 06:12 | Link to Comment Michaelwiseguy
Michaelwiseguy's picture

I really like the part of this video where Jackqueline Kennedy scoops up parts of JFK's skull and brains from the trunk of the limo and tries to put him back together, pieces of her husband's head with the car moving. (About 50 minutes into this video.)

JFK - ASSASSINATED BY THE CIA BECAUSE HE STOPPED OPERATION NORTHWOODS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCVaYxOvcMs&NR=1

P.S.: I was only 2 years old when this happened and murder cases have no expiration date.

President John F. Kennedy was the First President ever to been filmed live in color in all of history, being murdered right before your very eyes. That's pretty amazing.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 16:27 | Link to Comment Enslavethechild...
EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

@Michaelwiseguy you fucking Moron.

He was printing greenbacks and buying our (ass)ets back  from the Federal Reserve, like we should be doing now. If we the people don't start printing our own greenbacks and start buying our assets back from the Feds, pretty soon we will own nothing and they will own everything. Then we will all be their worker slaves. Especially if we let them have our guns.

 

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 10:32 | Link to Comment n.d.v.
n.d.v.'s picture

Somehow, Taleb managed to not find the word "robust" in any dictionary. Impressive.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 10:38 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Prologue, Page 8

Taleb:

"Robust Is Not Robust Enough"

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 13:17 | Link to Comment Pareto
Pareto's picture

Since 1990 or so, I'd say the Russians are the most anti-fragile.  No cradle to grave coddling going on there.  People gave up on the state looking after them long ago and have largely fended for themselves.  Poorly defined (non-existent)  property rights, lack of a constitution, a dysfunctional government, questionable rule of law, etc., hasn't stopped people from figuring shit out for themselves.  Resiliant.  The entire country has morphed into a state capitalist from of production and distribution, and the average citizen will take this over Marx anyday since state capitalism offers some window of hope, where Marx offers none.  Just ask Cuba.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:00 | Link to Comment ball-and-chain
ball-and-chain's picture

Japan has been playing this same game for close to 20 years.

They're on their second lost generation.

And one thing has always been constant--no matter how much they print.

DEFLATION.

America is on the same path.

We're a couple of gut-shot bears wandering aimlessly through the woods.

http://www.angrysinner.blogspot.kr/2012/12/yesterday-i-walked-ten-miles_29.html

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 01:47 | Link to Comment three chord sloth
three chord sloth's picture

No... the whole world has gone soft and childish, that's all. Most want to believe that some magic formula will fix what ails us; that the right politician plus the right policy equals good times forever. And demagogues everywhere are willing to sell that snake oil to a spoiled and frightened public... who are more than willing to buy it by the bushel.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 03:06 | Link to Comment Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I'd like to point out that not the whole world has gone soft and childish. The places we call 'The Third World' have no nanny state to take care of them. So they are still self-reliant.

In other words, mano a mano, they could kick our butts. If only they could get a few decent meals in their bellies before the match.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 16:28 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

 

In other words, mano a mano, they could kick our butts. If only they could get a few decent meals in their bellies before the match.

The problem here is, the average Western sheepizen would have to release their permament death grip on their latest e-gadget in order to free up their mano for the fight in the first place.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:03 | Link to Comment fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

The USD is the worlds reserve currency and that is never changing. Quantitative easing has proven that no matter how much we try to debase our currency, the rest of the world still craves dollars. There is absolutely no negative consequences to printing money. Therefore the agenda going forward should be immediate debt forgiveness for everyone. An infusion of trillions of dollars will be given to each bank to buffer against the consequences of all loans being removed from their books. Each US citizen will be given an annual stipend of 50k/yr to be electronically deposited in monthly installments. Illegal immigrants will only be given 49.5k/yr because they need to suffer some consequences. With all debt paid off and citizens flush with cash interest rates can now go back to their traditional higher averages.  The growth that will take place after these measures will be mesmerizing. We will literally re write the history books.Let's Win the future!

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:26 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

You are missing your /sarc tag.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:30 | Link to Comment fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I'm trying to convince myself it's possible.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:42 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

How's that working out so far?   

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:48 | Link to Comment fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Not going to happen for me. I will just sit here with my beer at the beach and watch the ocean continue to recede. I'm sure it's nothing.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:55 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

Right on.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:24 | Link to Comment Hulk
Hulk's picture

OK Fonz, that was funny !!!

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:33 | Link to Comment fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

thanks, goodnight fellas.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:38 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

lol night lad.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 11:53 | Link to Comment JungleJim
JungleJim's picture

fonzannoon:

 The sick thing is I personally know a lot of people who believe that. Many years ago I had a discussion with a woman who was on public welfare, 6 kids, public housing, food stamps the whole bit ... She says to me " I just don't understand why the goverment just doesn't write checks for everyone, then no one would have to work" That unfortunately is the kind of mentality and intellect we are dealing with.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 15:55 | Link to Comment americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

And let's have price controls too so that nobody can raise prices. That'll work.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 22:23 | Link to Comment hairball48
hairball48's picture

Nothing has changed. Many welfare sheeples still believe that nonsense. 

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:05 | Link to Comment Everyman
Everyman's picture

How does YCS look?

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:08 | Link to Comment fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I look at YCS a lot. Who the fk knows. It's like betting on two drunk guys racing backwards.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:09 | Link to Comment steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

 

I dunno if Roach is talking about Japan or the US or Europe.

 

Central banks cannot succeed because problems have little to do with credit (except there is too much credit 'on the economies' books' already). The problem is extinguished capital and energy shortage which effects Japan (and Europe) more than these things effect some other countries.

 

The 'credit idea' has pretty much been played out. All the 'liquidity' that Roach talks about is borrowed. It has to be repaid with interest. People cannot repay now, they won't be able to repay the added liquidity, either. What comes next?

 

Time to shrink the economies so that earnings can occur. That means, get rid of the toys, live within means.

 

To do otherwise is to have the toys gotten rid of, for people to (be forced to) live within means.

 

What the Japanese establishment seeks to do is bring back the past ... to retrieve capital that was destroyed long ago ... that can never be retrieved.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:59 | Link to Comment VisualCSharp
VisualCSharp's picture

ROACH! We'll cut him off up ahead. DON'T GET PINNED DOWN!

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 16:34 | Link to Comment linrom
linrom's picture

Yes and that's what elites want. They want to keep their toys but everyone else must live within their own means.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:21 | Link to Comment I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

USSA is not far behind.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:25 | Link to Comment Jason T
Jason T's picture

Destiny...ours quite frankly sucks.  

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:25 | Link to Comment Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Everyone needs to relax a little. We just have to accept that at times there is a convergence of bad demographics, lousy leadership, clueless central bankers and trigger happy governments. Any one of these on their own can cause a disaster let alone all four at once. The high level of interconnectedness between world economies just ensures the loss of a relief valve and in fact magnifies the subsequent blow up.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:59 | Link to Comment Pharming
Pharming's picture

"The high level of interconnectedness between world economies just ensures the loss of a relief valve and in fact magnifies the subsequent blow up."

This should also have an impact on recovery correct?  I hear many say that kicking the can down the road only delays the inevitable, I agree, those people also say that the collapse will be harder by delaying it...I agree, but I'm not sure I agree that the recovery out of the abyss will take longer in relation to the longer we wait.  If we are all tied together going down...will coming up out of it all be together? (hopefully not one world order) or some sooner than others?...  Once again...the $1 quadrillion question.


Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:49 | Link to Comment NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

How am I to assume a "relaxed" posture when I agree with everything you said?  :)

What we're doing now (and for the last 4 years, minimum) is using every policy tool in the book, plus some we just made up to try to stem what would surely have been Great Depression, Mark II. 

What is happening now is like living in a world where nobody every dies.  For a few years, it's nice that PopPop and Grandma are still around despite their old age and deteriorating health.  Gunshot victims don't die, but live through slow, agonizing recoveries.  The cancer wards pile up with patients who can't be cured but don't succumb to their illness.  Hospitals and other medical facilites are overwhelmed.  After a while you start to realize it's a curse, not a blessing. 

ANY sustainable economic model requires the possiblity of failure.  Remove that and things get twisted and distorted in ways no society as a whole can survive.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 10:17 | Link to Comment Rossalgondamer
Rossalgondamer's picture

+1

 

I would suggest however that Grandma and PopPop are quite dead, with QE slowly poisoning the living toward reunion.

 

 

 

 

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 05:29 | Link to Comment Joe A
Joe A's picture

"bad demographics, lousy leadership, clueless central bankers and trigger happy governments". Are these the four horsemen of the apocalypse?

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:26 | Link to Comment q99x2
q99x2's picture

Seems to me that if the Government is offering to hand you money, that you would not be so inclined to work but would rather send that money offshore and complain that it wasn't enough. Just thinking about what might come to my mind.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:46 | Link to Comment pragmatic hobo
pragmatic hobo's picture

may you live in interesting times ...

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 10:30 | Link to Comment fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I wonder if the guy who said that originally said "may you live in financial repression" and then  thought about it and did not want to be the guy at the party whoi bums everyone out.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:47 | Link to Comment Conman
Conman's picture

Hope Abe's got costco sized pepto bismol ready, its gonna be a bumpy ride.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:51 | Link to Comment Kastorsky
Kastorsky's picture

this aggression will not stand, man

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 22:51 | Link to Comment Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

I disagree. The Fed should double its balance sheet again and hand out more free houses.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:08 | Link to Comment Joe moneybags
Joe moneybags's picture

Stephen Roach, whom I have followed for 14 years, is a brilliant writer, kinowlegable, intelligent, but always wrong about markets.  When writing for Morgan Stanley in NYC for years, he waxed on about the trade deficit, and proved seven ways from Sunday how it was unsustainable, and would be the catalyst for a market collapse.  His solid analysis and wisdom was out of sync with what the market was doing, and did.  Now, he is Mr. Asia Doomster, and will undoubtedly be too negative, on the Asian economies, and mis-time the market movements.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 03:52 | Link to Comment terex
terex's picture

but..., is he wrong?

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 23:39 | Link to Comment hairball48
hairball48's picture

This time is different.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:11 | Link to Comment Hedgetard55
Hedgetard55's picture

Honest Abe will rescue Japan for sure. Money printing has saved many nations in the past, it will do so again re Japan and the USA.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:10 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Hubris isn't so bad, it's nemesis that's the bitch.

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:27 | Link to Comment max2205
max2205's picture

Shit must suck for ben. Via starving savers, he gave the bsnks 400bil and even that hasnt helped. 

 

Poor ben (savers)

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 23:49 | Link to Comment FleaMarketPete
FleaMarketPete's picture

"a timid BOJ should learn from its more aggressive counterparts, the US Federal Reserve" ......FTMFW

 

Somewhere, in a dark dingy motel room in Bangkok.  Paul Krugman is auto-erotic asphyxiating himself to this news.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 00:31 | Link to Comment earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

the writings on the wall folks? by joining the 'qe-too-infinity' duopoly, that being the eu and ussa, they are now the official righteous [good] axis... the three amigos! will this love triangle solidify as one to destroy china or vice versa? where's the ussr in all this-- sorry, meant to say, good-ole-back-in-the? growing pains neo- russia?

we all know how love triangles turn out? germany could say fuck you's, and side with russia of the 'not-so-long', but,'not- forgotten-east'? maybe they really could patch up old wounds [ memories we like to forget?] with czar putin, or vis-a-vis kaiser putin?

anywho, things are about to go south real quickly... perhaps as early as 2014/15.

1) germany sides with russia through maseration entropy

2) china goes it alone... but finds russia in the mess as an ally via attrition 

3) the ussa... a fragmented europe, and a japan that never got the delicious taste of chinese innocents off their lickity-split manchurian-swords?

war is a`coming folks!!!

jmo

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 01:27 | Link to Comment williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

"The difference between monetary and fiscal policy."

Can someone please explain this Zen riddle to me?

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 02:10 | Link to Comment Colonel
Colonel's picture

Williambanzai7 are you sure you want the truth?

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 02:48 | Link to Comment Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

Here's your answer, Grasshopper:

Fiscal policy means spending money that hasn't yet been printed.  Monetary policy means printing money to pay for what was already spent.  Primary dealers are the bagmen who link the two in time and space. They---PDs--- are the Joule Effect, as some energy (the spread) is lost in the transfer.  And like entangled pairs, the PDs know instantly when the printing is about to start, and affect an equal and opposite reaction.

You can understand it all much better if you just don't get stuck in that "time is linear" thing.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 09:00 | Link to Comment Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

WINNER!!!!!!  +1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 10:10 | Link to Comment Eugend66
Eugend66's picture

+1.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 12:07 | Link to Comment Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Cosimo de Medici: Keep repeating that post until the lower fractions can comprehend the simplicity. Nice work!

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 03:17 | Link to Comment Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

For me, the phrase makes the distinction between the Federal Government and Federal Reserve.

Fiscal means money stolen through taxation, right?  (Right Sandi) So that's the federal government, who now has laid claim to tax money from all Americans, and people who might have met Americans somewhere in their lifetime.

Monetary of course means related to money, so that's the Federal Reserve, who prints it with great abandon without having to actually print anything except to the screen.

So using that logic, "The difference between monetary and fiscal policy" would be a comparison of the policies of the 'real' government v. the policies of the Federal Reserve, our real masters.

It's a great question and a very sleazy answer.

Either way, it's all very good for me and my family, I'm sure.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 05:34 | Link to Comment bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

Good question WB7 - and the above article misses some key points in regard to Japan, which is about to try something very new in monetary policy that really has not been tried yet.

Fiscal policy is the government budget - you tinker with a nation's economy by spending less, or spending more, which can be borrowed. -

Classic 'Keynesian' efforts are 'fiscal policy' - government increases spending when the private sector is spending less.

Monetary policy is different, but also more complex of an idea. It means the supply of 'money' but that includes many forms of credit - and in fact there is huge, wild disagreement and uncertainty as to what should 'count' as money. In advanced economies 'credit' is much bigger than cash and bank deposits. « The difficulty is in defining what part of our liquidity structure is truly money. » - Alan Greenspan in 2000.

Indeed 'monetary policy' is something more difficult to pin down. It includes things like lowering interest rates and trying to create more 'credit', but that is only part of it. For the 'hard-core' monetarists, it really means orienting policy toward some 'money supply' parameter which they try to define more precisely (a technical topic without great consensus).

There are many 'Keynesians' but actually few hard-core 'monetarists'. According to some of these monetarists, the real 'monetarist' approach has not yet been tried in the great post-2008 financial crisis.

Japan has been using the Richard Koo 'fiscal policy' approach, leading to huge Japanese government debt, but now they are about to go where no nation has really gone before in the midst of a financial slump -

The radical monetarist solution -

What Japan is planning to do, is to make a very specific target of 'money supply', printing and creating money and credit (not directly increasing government debt as before), to try to make sure that 'nominal' GDP growth (not necessarily 'real' growth, but on-paper 'nominal') is higher than the interest rate.

With interest rates around 1%, the monetarist theory is to pump artificial money into the system to have a 'nominal' growth of about 3%, as the main target of Central Bank activity - forcing 'some' inflation and easing debt burdens and encouraging modest growth, but in theory not so much you get Weimar hyper-inflation.

The hard-core monetarists say this is the game that WORKS. It has never really been tried as conscious policy in this way, but there is some basis for the idea.

In the 1930s, the countries that loosened money supply - going off the gold standard, like Britain, or Nazi Germany - did much better than the countries that stayed with hard money, like France or the USA. The US devalued and confiscated gold, but did not really loosen the money supply. In the 1930s, Britain's economy only dipped 5% while the US loss 25%. (This is one of the subtler but more important arguments that gold should remain free but not the government money-standard.)

If this works ... and we should hope it does, really ... Japan may show us the way to the future ... or else it is one more way we can all blow up spectacularly.

But there's no reason for Japan not to take this monetarist gamble and experiment, it's the one thing left to try for them -

Aside from, of course, being more open like the Koreans to foreign immigration ... and getting rid of the American bases, plus other progressive measures like ending the death penalty in Japan ... but that's a bigger topic.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 09:33 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

whenever you take this 1930's example don't forget that by "getting loose" those countries traded their future against their present

which is the whole point of credit and debt, if you think about, a question of time preferences

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 10:38 | Link to Comment geno-econ
geno-econ's picture

Tying interest rates to unemployment rates is monetary policy, fiscal policy or Executive Branch economic policy ???

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 13:12 | Link to Comment linrom
linrom's picture

Thanks for a very nice summary. I hope they succeed.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 08:57 | Link to Comment Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

I would suggest reading The Theory of Money and Credit - Ludwig von Mises, else you're apt to ramble on like some bank guy in europe...

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 09:37 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

one part of this Zen riddle is that they both involve taxing, either directly or indirectly, the economy

but they can differ in who is taxed - and interestingly also where

as an example: you probably pay direct taxes to the Hong Kong authorities

but the whole Hong Kong economy pays an Uncle Sam Monetary Devaluation Tax, in virtue of being part of the dollarzone, i.e. using an Hong Kong Dollar that is tied and backed by US Dollars

the "revenues" of this tax are currently used to feed the financial systens, particularly the MegaBanks, but not only that, it also currently supports Uncle Sam's spending and debt habits

the result for you is what you are seeing: your local money losing value vs the "currently less prolifigate" monetary zone of the mainland

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 01:31 | Link to Comment asteroids
asteroids's picture

Japan has a demographics problem. Growth via workers wages will NOT happen. The US is about 6 years behind. There is NOTHING that can fix the demographics problem.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 03:19 | Link to Comment Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

If the nursing homes could be appropriately compensated, the problem can be fixed in less than a year without anybody being the wiser.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 12:41 | Link to Comment JungleJim
JungleJim's picture

asteroids:

Three letters .... Can you give me a W ...

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 02:03 | Link to Comment Lord Of Finance
Lord Of Finance's picture

John Maynard Keens has accomplished multiple reincarnations on 4 continents.

    'The return of the master'(of disaster)

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 04:24 | Link to Comment nah
nah's picture

japan has plenty of money anyways

.

their asian

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 06:35 | Link to Comment lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

I long for the day when Keynesians are hunted down worldwide and disposed of like the nazis were.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 16:32 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

No.

I want public burnings.  Over piles of printed paper.

Anything less is not justice.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 23:30 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

akak said:

I want public burnings.  Over piles of printed paper.

Also known as an auto-da-fiat.

Sun, 12/30/2012 - 08:07 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

Sure there are places, but there are also many tiny bubbles of corruption, on a sea of innocents. Not even gold is immune from these tiny bubbles.

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