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17 сентября, 07:00

YES 2017: о чем говорили на форуме?

Эксперты много говорили об украинской коррупции, российской агрессии и том, в каком направлении Украине двигаться дальше.

16 сентября, 15:00

Does MacLean Really Want Economists to Drop this Assumption?

(Don Boudreaux) TweetLately I’ve immersed myself in the literature on externalities – a great deal of writing from Alfred Marshall‘s pioneering 1890 text through A.C. Pigou‘s central work on the topic, and up to and beyond the famous works of Tibor Scitovsky, Francis Bator, Ronald Coase, Jim Buchanan and Craig Stubblebine, and Steven Cheung (including Carl Dahlman’s […]

15 сентября, 20:35

Paul Krugman: Politicians, Promises, and Getting Real

Paul Krugman: Politicians, Promises, and Getting Real, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: On Wednesday Donald Trump demanded that Congress move quickly to enact his tax reform plan. But so far he has not, in fact, offered any such plan... Meanwhile,...

15 сентября, 13:58

Миру стоит тщательнее изучить кризисный опыт прошлого - экономист

По словам Кругмана, все новые вызовы, с которыми столкнулся сегодня мир, совсем не новые.

15 сентября, 13:32

Нобелевский лауреат по экономике: я удивлен экономической стабилизацией Украины

По словам Кругмана, Киев на самом деле не сделал ничего сверхъестественного для этого.

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15 сентября, 00:00

Politicians, Promises, and Getting Real

Paul Krugman, New York TimesHow much does clarity about policy matter?

14 сентября, 17:13

Procrastination on September 14, 2017

**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Nick Bunker**: Markups, macroeconomics, and the changing U.S. economy: "Over the past several decades, the U.S. economy experienced changes in key economic metrics that don’t bode well for the welfare of most people... * **Nick Bunker**: JOLTS Day Graphs: July 2017 Report Edition | Equitable Growth: "The Beveridge Curve in July looks to be very close to its pre-recession trend: * **Joseph E. Stiglitz**: Where Modern Macroeconomics Went Wrong: "This paper provides a critique of the DSGE models that have come to dominate macroeconomics during the past quarter-century... * **Matthew Kahn**: Does Culture Matter? The Case of Academic Economics: "I stumbled across this very interesting (and depressing) post by Claudia Sahm... * **Barbara Biasi and Petra Moser**: Effects of Copyrights on Science: Evidence from the WWII Book Republication Program: "In 1942, the American Book Republication Program (BRP) allowed US publishers to reprint exact copies of German-owned science books... * **Caroline Freund and Dario Sidhu**: Manufacturing and the 2016 Election: An Analysis of US Presidential Election Data: "Much of the public discourse and media analysis of the surprise outcome of the 2016 US presidential election has emphasized the role of manufacturing workers... ..."...

13 сентября, 10:22

Порошенко 15 сентября выступит на заседании ежегодной встречи YES

Президент Украины Петр Порошенко 15 сентября откроет своим выступлением пленарное заседание 14-й ежегодной встречи Ялтинской европейской стратегии (YES) в Киеве.

12 сентября, 22:46

Links for 09-012-17

Why the US government can’t be downsized - Larry Summers What should we do about climate change? - AEA Re-thinking the capital code - Thomas Piketty Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find? - NBER Fiscal Stimulus and Fiscal Sustainability -...

11 сентября, 19:46

Paul Krugman: Conspiracies, Corruption and Climate

"Why are U.S. conservatives so willing to disbelieve science and buy into tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories": Conspiracies, Corruption and Climate, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: After the devastation wreaked by Harvey on Houston — devastation that was right in line with...

11 сентября, 10:06

Links for 09-11-17

The Paranoid Style In Conservative Politics - Paul Krugman Netherlands: The #2 Food Exporter in the World - Tim Taylor Methods for pricing options in the 19th century - VoxEU The myth of surplus peasants and China’s growth - VoxEU...

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10 сентября, 01:10

(What's Left Of) Our Economy: The Real 'Dreamer Fakeonomics'

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Authored by Alan Tonelson via Reality Check blog, If you’ve been following the heated national debate about President Trump’s decision to rescind former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, you know that an economic conventional wisdom has been quickly established. It holds that, whatever you think about the legality, propriety, or morality of ending its legalization process for the young and young-ish residents of the country who arrived as the children of illegal immigrants, the impact on the nation’s growth, employment, and productivity would be disastrous. Sadly – but not surprisingly – an examination of the data reveals this conclusion to be quintessential fakeonomics. Worse, these claims have been spread with techniques that have become all too typical in the nation’s political, policy, and media circles – by endlessly and credulously repeating assertions that are based either on no solid data whatever, or on unusually weak data. Enough examples could be cited to fill a book, so let’s focus for now on one that’s just appeared in America’s leading newspaper (The New York Times) and by no less than a Nobel Prize-winning economist (columnist Paul M. Krugman). As Krugman argued in this morning’s paper, the Trump administration’s position that DACA has “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens” is not only “junk economics.” But because it’s based on the (equally false, per Krugman) belief that “immigrant workers compete with less-educated native-born workers, driving their wages down and increasing income inequality,” it’s “irrelevant.” The reason? “The Dreamers [as beneficiaries of DACA are often called] are a relatively well-educated group, very different from undocumented immigrants who came as adults.” Therefore, “letting Dreamers work is all economic upside for the rest of our nation, with no downside unless you have something against people with brown skin and Hispanic surnames.” Needless to say, the argument that Dreamers actually tend be valuable economically on top of being young and young-ish, and slated to suffer for the sins of their parents, contributes to the image of Mr. Trump’s policy as a loser on all counts. But the main evidence cited by Krugman doesn’t justify this conclusion at all. It comes from a Times feature posted on Tuesday that purports to show that “DACA-eligible immigrants have higher-skilled jobs” than other illegal immigrant workers. Two big problems here, however. First, the statistics presented in this post show that this standard represents an awfully low bar. Second, the differences revealed by these numbers between DACA-eligible illegals and other illegals is decidedly unimpressive. For instance, what’s the occupation of the greatest percentage of workers in both groups? “Food preparation and serving” (16 percent). That sector of the economy sure isn’t known for creating great jobs. Number two for the Dreamers and those eligible for this designation? “Sales and related.” This category also features the biggest absolute occupation gap between the Dreamer-types and non-Dreamers, employing 15 percent of the former but only six percent of the latter. But these kinds of jobs sound pretty dead-end, too. Ditto for “Office and administrative support” (which employs the next greatest share of Dreamer-eligible workers). Worse, both the sales and the office jobs are being killed off left and right these days by automation. Equally revealing: The next four biggest employers of Dreamer-eligible workers are the kinds of blue-collar-dominated categories that typically don’t require much education, and which therefore place Dreamer types in direct competition with their “less-educated native-born counterparts.” These categories – “Construction and extraction”; “Production”; “Transportation and material moving”; and “Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance” – employ fully 32 percent of the Dreamer types. An additional seven percent work in the comparable occupations of Personal care and service and Installation, maintenance, and repair. It’s true that, in what’s officially considered a very low unemployment economy, the Dreamer-eligible workers may not be taking jobs from the native-born (or from legal immigrants). At the same time, their presence may well explain some of the nation’s nearly multi-decade low labor force participation rate. Moreover, the laws of supply and demand strongly indicate that the influx of Dreamers into these labor markets is holding down wages, all else equal. This Times feature reveals something else fishy about the new Dreamer-nomics conventional wisdom. Much is based on a survey that should prompt considerable skepticism – and especially from reporters and editors, who are supposed to be professional skeptics. Here I’m talking about the insistence that DACA recipients (in the words of the liberal, pro-DACA Center for American Progress), thanks to their new status “are making significant contributions to the economy by buying cars and first homes, which translate into more revenue for states and localities in the form of sales and property taxes. Some are even using their entrepreneurial talents to help create new jobs and further spur economic growth by starting their own businesses” as well as earning higher wages. Yet there are no hard numbers behind this “finding.” Instead, it’s based on a widely cited survey conducted by a researcher employed by the Center and other pro-DACA groups that asks Dreamers about their experiences following the Obama decision. On the one hand, there can be little doubt that workers with some legal protections are going to do better than workers with none. On the other hand, how sustainable will these gains be, especially in an economy with poor recent economic and social mobility? Moreover, because DACA-style legalization is such a boon to recipients for reasons beyond economics, too, don’t the respondents have a strong incentive to play up their progress? I’ve actually been moving toward the position that the Dreamers should be allowed to stay in the country permanently, and possibly get that proverbial “path to citizenship” – largely because they came out of the shadows and registered with the authorities based on a presidential promise. It’s not their fault that the promise’s legality was dubious at best. Best of all would be a Dreamer amnesty coupled with border security and other immigration policy measures smart enough to prevent yet another powerful illegal immigration magnet from being constructed. But policy shifts based on clearly hyped and mis-interpreted data rarely turn out well. If Americans do decide to give the DACA recipients the blessings of legal residence in the United States, they should at least do it with their eyes wide open to the likeliest economic impact.

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05 сентября, 18:45

Does Government Spending Create More Economic Growth? (Spoiler Alert: No, Silly!)

Authored by Frank Shostak via The Mises Institute, After the 2007-2009 global financial crisis, fears of ballooning public debt and worries about the drag on economic growth pushed authorities in some countries to lower government spending, a tactic that economists now think may have slowed recovery. Note that in the United States the total debt to GDP ratio stood at 349 in Q1 this year. In a paper presented at the Kansas City Federal Reserve’s annual economic symposium on August 26 2017, Alan Auerbach and Yuriy Gorodnichenko from the University of California suggested that “expansionary fiscal policies adopted when the economy is weak may not only stimulate output but also reduce debt-to-GDP ratios”. (Fiscal Stimulus and Fiscal Sustainability, August 1,2017, UC – Berkley and NBER). Some commentators are of the view that these findings may be welcome news to central bankers who face limited options of their own to combat a future downturn, given existing low interest rates and low inflation rates in their economies. "With tight constraints on central banks, one may expect — or maybe hope for — a more active response of fiscal policy when the next recession arrives," the University of California researchers wrote. These findings are in agreement with Nobel Laureate in economics Paul Krugman, and other commentators that are of the view that an increase in government outlays whilst the economy is relatively subdued is good news for economic growth. Can increase in government outlays strengthen economic growth? Observe that government is not a wealth generating entity as such - the more it spends, the more resources it has to take from wealth generators. This in turn undermines the wealth generating process of the economy. The proponents for strong government outlays when an economy displays weakness hold that the stronger outlays by the government will strengthen the spending flow and this in turn will strengthen the economy. In this way of thinking, spending by one individual becomes part of the earnings of another individual, and spending by another individual becomes part of the first individual's earnings. So if for some reason people have become less confident about the future and have decided to reduce their spending this is going to weaken the flow of spending. Once an individual spends less, this worsens the situation of some other individual, who in turn also cuts his spending. Following this logic, in order to prevent an emerging slowdown in the economy’s growth rate from getting out of hand, the government should step in and lift its outlays thereby filling the shortfall in the private sector spending. Once the flow of spending is re-established, things are back to normal, so it held, and sound economic growth is re-established. The view that an increase in government outlays can contribute to economic growth gives the impression that the government has at its disposal a stock of real savings that can be employed in emergency situations. Once a recessionary threat alleviated, the government may reduce its support by cutting the supply of real savings to the economy. All this implies that the government somehow can generate real wealth and employ it when it sees necessary. Obviously, this is not the case. Given that the government is not a wealth generator, whenever it raises the pace of its outlays it has to lift the pace of the wealth diversion from the wealth-generating private sector. Hence the more the government plans to spend, the more wealth it is going to take from wealth generators. By diverting real wealth towards various non-productive activities, the increase in government outlays in fact undermines the process of wealth generation and weakens the economy’s growth over time. The whole idea that the government can grow an economy originates from the Keynesian multiplier. On this way of thinking an increase in government outlays gives rise to the economy’s output by a multiple of a government increase. However, is it possible that an increase in government will give rise to more output as popular wisdom has it? On the contrary, it will impoverish producers. Producers are forced to part with their product in an exchange for goods and services that are likely to be on a lower priority list of producers and this in turn weakens the flow of production of final consumer goods. Not only does the increase in government outlays not raise overall output by a positive multiple, but on the contrary this leads to the weakening in the process of wealth generation in general. According to Mises, …there is need to emphasize the truism that a government can spend or invest only what it takes away from its citizens and that its additional spending and investment curtails the citizens' spending and investment to the full extent of its quantity. Contrary to our University of California researchers and commentators such as Krugman, at no stage of the economic cycle can an increase in government outlays be supportive to economic growth. On the contrary, what is required is to cut government outlays as much as possible, thus leaving more wealth in the hands of genuine wealth generators. A cut in government outlays is great news for wealth generators and to the economy. It is of course bad news for various artificial forms of life that emerged on the back of increases in government outlays and cannot survive without the ongoing support from these outlays.

04 сентября, 15:35

Moral Outrage Over Low Wages: Canada Joins Trump With Threats To Leave NAFTA

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com, The threat of total abandonment of NAFTA took on a second front this weekend as Canada’s biggest private-sector union said NAFTA should be scrapped if Mexico cannot agree to better labor standards. Please consider Sharp Differences Over Labor Surface at NAFTA Talks in Mexico. Tensions over sharp differences in pay between Mexican workers and their Canadian and U.S. counterparts surfaced on Sunday as negotiators discussed labor market rules in talks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.   Canada’s biggest private-sector union said NAFTA should be scrapped if Mexico cannot agree to better labor standards, clashing with Mexican business leaders who argued that workers rights were a matter for each country to resolve internally.   Mexican political and corporate leaders firmly resist demands to bring wages into line with U.S. and Canadian levels, arguing the big cost advantage the country enjoys over richer peers should decrease as economic development advances.   Labor union leaders in the two wealthier nations say laxer labor standards and lower pay in Mexico have swelled corporate profits at the expense of Canadian and U.S. workers, making resolution of the issue a major battleground of the NAFTA talks.   Jerry Dias, national president of Canadian union Unifor, said NAFTA had been a “lousy trade agreement for working-class people” and that the union was pushing his government to walk away from the talks if it could not secure them a better deal.   “If labor standards aren’t a part of a trade deal, then there shouldn’t be a trade deal,” Dias told reporters in Mexico City on the sidelines of a second round of negotiations to update the 1994 trade agreement among the three countries. Bosco de la Vega, head of Mexican farm lobby, the National Agricultural Council, said more trade, not intervention in labor markets, was the best way for the region to grow economically.   “Mexico can’t interfere in the labor market issue in the United States and Canada. We ask the same: that they don’t interfere in these matters,” he told reporters at the talks. Moral Outrage Over Free Trade Are bad jobs at bad wages better than no jobs at all? Should the US demand third world economies pay “living wages”? If so, and if countries don’t oblige, should the US impose tariffs so the US does not lose jobs to such countries? This is what I think… Moral outrage is common among the opponents of globalization–of the transfer of technology and capital from high-wage to low-wage countries and the resulting growth of labor-intensive Third World exports. These critics take it as a given that anyone with a good word for this process is naive or corrupt and, in either case, a de facto agent of global capital in its oppression of workers here and abroad. But matters are not that simple, and the moral lines are not that clear. In fact, let me make a counter-accusation: The lofty moral tone of the opponents of globalization is possible only because they have chosen not to think their position through. While fat-cat capitalists might benefit from globalization, the biggest beneficiaries are, yes, Third World workers. Workers in those shirt and sneaker factories are, inevitably, paid very little and expected to endure terrible working conditions. I say “inevitably” because their employers are not in business for their (or their workers’) health; they pay as little as possible, and that minimum is determined by the other opportunities available to workers. And these are still extremely poor countries, where living on a garbage heap is attractive compared with the alternatives. And yet, wherever the new export industries have grown, there has been measurable improvement in the lives of ordinary people. Partly this is because a growing industry must offer a somewhat higher wage than workers could get elsewhere in order to get them to move. More importantly, however, the growth of manufacturing–and of the penumbra of other jobs that the new export sector creates–has a ripple effect throughout the economy. The pressure on the land becomes less intense, so rural wages rise; the pool of unemployed urban dwellers always anxious for work shrinks, so factories start to compete with each other for workers, and urban wages also begin to rise. Where the process has gone on long enough–say, in South Korea or Taiwan–average wages start to approach what an American teen-ager can earn at McDonald’s. And eventually people are no longer eager to live on garbage dumps. The benefits of export-led economic growth to the mass of people in the newly industrializing economies are not a matter of conjecture. A country like Indonesia is still so poor that progress can be measured in terms of how much the average person gets to eat; since 1970, per capita intake has risen from less than 2,100 to more than 2,800 calories a day. A shocking one-third of young children are still malnourished–but in 1975, the fraction was more than half. Similar improvements can be seen throughout the Pacific Rim, and even in places like Bangladesh. Why, then, the outrage of my correspondents? Why does the image of an Indonesian sewing sneakers for 60 cents an hour evoke so much more feeling than the image of another Indonesian earning the equivalent of 30 cents an hour trying to feed his family on a tiny plot of land–or of a Filipino scavenging on a garbage heap? The main answer, I think, is a sort of fastidiousness. Unlike the starving subsistence farmer, the women and children in the sneaker factory are working at slave wages for our benefit–and this makes us feel unclean. And so there are self-righteous demands for international labor standards: We should not, the opponents of globalization insist, be willing to buy those sneakers and shirts unless the people who make them receive decent wages and work under decent conditions. This sounds only fair–but is it? Let’s think through the consequences. First of all, even if we could assure the workers in Third World export industries of higher wages and better working conditions, this would do nothing for the peasants, day laborers, scavengers, and so on who make up the bulk of these countries’ populations. At best, forcing developing countries to adhere to our labor standards would create a privileged labor aristocracy, leaving the poor majority no better off. And it might not even do that. The advantages of established First World industries are still formidable. The only reason developing countries have been able to compete with those industries is their ability to offer employers cheap labor. Deny them that ability, and you might well deny them the prospect of continuing industrial growth, even reverse the growth that has been achieved. And since export-oriented growth, for all its injustice, has been a huge boon for the workers in those nations, anything that curtails that growth is very much against their interests. A policy of good jobs in principle, but no jobs in practice, might assuage our consciences, but it is no favor to its alleged beneficiaries. You may say that the wretched of the earth should not be forced to serve as hewers of wood, drawers of water, and sewers of sneakers for the affluent. But what is the alternative? Should they be helped with foreign aid? And as long as you have no realistic alternative to industrialization based on low wages, to oppose it means that you are willing to deny desperately poor people the best chance they have of progress for the sake of what amounts to an aesthetic standard–that is, the fact that you don’t like the idea of workers being paid a pittance to supply rich Westerners with fashion items. In short, my correspondents are not entitled to their self-righteousness. They have not thought the matter through. And when the hopes of hundreds of millions are at stake, thinking things through is not just good intellectual practice. It is a moral duty. Purposeful Plagiarism I need to point out that everything above following “This is what I think…” was not written by me (but it does reflect my exact beliefs). Believe it or not, Paul Krugman wrote that, and here is the link: In Praise of Cheap Labor. Krugman wrote that before he lost his mind. Fair Trade is Unfair The unions howl they want “fair trade”. Fair to whom? The answer is fair to their self-interests, damn the enormous costs to everyone else. Tariffs will not bring jobs back to the US, at least jobs by living, breathing human beings. All tariffs will do is slow global trade and raise costs on everyone. Those looking for someone to blame for income inequality and low real wages, should not look at globalization, but rather the Fed (central banks in general), insisting on rising prices in a technological deflationary world. Repetitive asset bubbles and the demise of the middle class are the direct results. Related Articles Disputing Trump’s NAFTA “Catastrophe” with Pictures: What’s the True Source of Trade Imbalances? Make China Great Again: Ford Bypasses NAFTA Dispute By Moving Focus Production to China Killing the Trade Golden Goose: Farmers Rattled by Trump’s NAFTA Rescinding Plans Lose Lose Lose Affair: Farm Lobby Turns Up Heat on Trump Over NAFTA An ideal trade agreement can fit on a napkin: Effective immediately, all tariffs and all subsidies, on all goods and services ends today.

30 августа, 22:03

Global Outrage After Japan Finance Minister Said "Hitler Had Right Motives"

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While Donald Trump is not exactly known for his oratorial and diplomatic skills, either during live speeches or within the confines of his trademark outbursts in 140 characters or less on Twitter, he is positively Machiavellian compared to Japan's 76-year-old deputy prime minister and finance minister in Abe's cabinet, Taro Aso, whose entire career appears to be a series of diplomatic blunders and verbal gaffes. Taro Aso, Japan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance It started in 2013 when the Japanese minister had a modest proposal to fix Japan's demographic time bomb, urging the country's elderly to "hurry up and die"; then three years, in 2016, making a stark Freudian slip and admitting alongside Paul Krugman that the only solution to the global "liquidity trap" created by central banks is "war", a resolution to which the world appears to be inching ever closer with each passing day. Then a few months, Aso reverted back to the 76-year-old's favorite topic, old people who refuse to die: Gaffe-prone Finance Minister Taro Aso was again caught taking a swipe at the elderly, saying last week that he wondered how much longer a 90-year-old person intends to live.   The outspoken Aso, who is also deputy prime minister, made the comment at a Liberal Democratic Party rally in Otaru, Hokkaido, on Friday, where he said: “I recently saw someone as old as 90 on television, saying how the person was worried about the future. I wondered, ‘How much longer do you intend to keep living?’ “   Aso pointed to the more than ¥1.7 quadrillion of personal assets held nationwide, saying the money needs to be spent.   “The biggest problem at the present is how everyone is staying put,” he said. “If you don’t spend the money you have, that money will mean nothing. What’s the point of accumulating more wealth? Just looking at the money you have?” Fast forward to today when Japan's finance minister has done it again, landing in hot water after explicitly suggesting Adolf Hitler might have had "the right motives." His comments promptly resulted in global outrage, and according to Reuters were criticized both at home and abroad, with the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center saying the remarks were “downright dangerous.” “I don’t question your motives (to be a politician). But the results are important. Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good, even if his motives were right,” Aso told a meeting of his faction of the governing Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization which confronts anti-Semitism, hate speech and terrorism, said Aso’s comments could spoil Japan’s reputation. “This is just the latest of a troubling list of ‘misstatements’ and [they] are downright dangerous,” the center’s head, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said in a statement on Tuesday. “These words damage Japan’s reputation at the very time when all Americans want to show their solidarity with Japan, our sister democracy and ally, following the missile launch from Kim Jong-un’s North Korea." The chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party's Diet Affairs Committee, Kazunori Yamanoi, also said Aso's remark was a serious gaffe. "The comment was extremely shameful as one made by a Cabinet minister. I cannot help but question his competence (as a minister)," he added, discussing the mental capacity of Abe's 76-year-old assistant, Kyodo news reported. Faced with a furious public outrcry, on Wednesday Aso was forced to issue a statement, saying, "I raised an example of a bad politician. It is regrettable that [the comment] was misinterpreted and caused misunderstanding.... It is clear that Hitler was wrong in his motive too. I want to retract my comment because it was inappropriate to cite him as an example." * * * To be sure, Aso is no stranger to public gaffes. In addition to the examples above, in 2013 Aso again retracted a comment about Hitler’s rise to power that was interpreted as praising the Nazi regime.  Referring at the time to Japan’s efforts to revise its constitution, he said the constitution of Weimar Germany had been changed before anyone realized, and asked, “Why don’t we learn from that technique?” There has been a spike in Nazi-related discourse in recent weeks: Aso’s gaffe comes just weeks after Donald Trump drew sharp criticism for comments that blamed “many sides” for this month’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, while back in June, Bank of Japan board member Yutaka Harada told a seminar Hitler’s economic policies had been “appropriate” and “wonderful” but had enabled the Nazi dictator to do “horrible” things.

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29 августа, 20:24

Economists Are The New Astrologers

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Authored by Andrew Syrios via The Mises Institute, When Christopher Nolan was promoting his previous film Interstellar, he made the casual observation that “Take a field like economics for example. [Unlike physics] you have real material things and it can’t predict anything. It’s always wrong.” There is a lot more truth in that statement than most academic economists would like to admit. Alan Jay Levinovitz recently put forth the provocative argument that economics is “The New Astrology.” He notes that “surveys indicate that economists see their discipline as ‘the most scientific of the social sciences.’” But unfortunately “real-world history tells a different story, of mathematical models masquerading as science and a public eager to buy them, mistaking elegant equations for empirical accuracy.” Indeed, Levinovitz goes on to observe that, The failure of the field to predict the 2008 crisis has also been well-documented. In 2003, for example, only five years before the Great Recession, the Nobel Laureate Robert E Lucas Jr told the American Economic Association that ‘macroeconomics ... has succeeded: its central problem of depression prevention has been solved’.   Short-term predictions fair little better — in April 2014, for instance, a survey of 67 economists yielded 100 per cent consensus: interest rates would rise over the next six months. Instead, they fell. A lot. There are, of course, many other examples of the failure of mathematical models in economics. The model Christina Romer put together during the height of the Great Recession concluded that unemployment could go as high as 8.8 percent without the economic stimulus bill. With the stimulus, unemployment went over 10 percent. The spectacular failure of Long Term Capital Management, which was built solely upon investing on mathematical models, is another great example. Indeed, Daniel Kahneman found the “correlations was .01” when asked to evaluate the investment outcomes of 28 different advisors. Warren Buffet is currently crushing the hedge fund Protégé Partners in their ten year, one million dollar bet. (Buffett picked an index fund that invests in the S&P 500.) Finance and economics are linked at the hip in this overconfident, mathematical malaise it would seem. Returning to Levinovitz, the problem as he sees it is that these highly complicated models built with mystifying and ingenious mathematical equations are completely useless if they are erected upon false assumptions. You may have built the most luxurious mansion imaginable, but if you built it on a hill of sand it might as well be a house of cards. Think of the Ptolemaic model of the universe that put the Earth at the very center. The Ancient Greeks would notice that the stars would move across the sky, then stop, then go backward, then start moving forward again. To resolve this conundrum, Claudius Ptolemaeus put together an ingenious model of “circles within circles.” Each star not only orbited around the Earth along a given trajectory, but also maintained a secondary orbit around a point moving along the first orbit to make it appear from the Earth that the star would sometimes move backward. The geocentric model of the universe was a stupendous mathematical achievement, but alas, it was all for naught given the assumptions it was built on were completely false. Levinovitz uses the example of astrology, noting that, As an extreme example, take the extraordinary success of Evangeline Adams, a turn-of-the-20th-century astrologer whose clients included the president of Prudential Insurance, two presidents of the New York Stock Exchange, the steel magnate Charles M Schwab, and the banker J P Morgan. To understand why titans of finance would consult Adams about the market, it is essential to recall that astrology used to be a technical discipline, requiring reams of astronomical data and mastery of specialised mathematical formulas. "An astrologer" is, in fact, the Oxford English Dictionary’s second definition of "mathematician." For centuries, mapping stars was the job of mathematicians, a job motivated and funded by the widespread belief that star-maps were good guides to earthly affairs. The best astrology required the best astronomy, and the best astronomy was done by mathematicians — exactly the kind of person whose authority might appeal to bankers and financiers. When Adams was eventually arrested in 1914 for laws that forbade astrology, “it was her mathematics that eventually exonerated her.” And this is by no means just a Western phenomenon. Another example the author references is the similarly mathematically impressive work done regarding Li in Ancient China. Li was also a mathematical model of the stars and for whatever reason, thought to be “essential to good governance.” Obviously it wasn’t, but the Chinese spent “astronomical sums refining mathematical models of the stars.” As we do with much that passes for economics today. Interestingly enough, Levinovitz quotes several famous Keynesian and neo-classical economists, including Paul Romer, who criticized the “Mathiness in the Theory of Economic Growth” and the man who’s always right (except when he isn’t) Paul Krugman. In this instance, though, Krugman is mostly correct observing that “As I see it, the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth.” But this reliance on math to hide the underlying flaws in an economic theory sounds like it falls perfectly in line with “The Pretense of Knowledge” that Friedrich Hayek warned about all those years ago. Since then, many economists believed they had made economics into a scientific discipline based on modeling and empirical testing. They assured us that by using copious amounts of data and fine-tuned mathematical models they could centrally plan an economy, eliminate the business cycle and increase economic growth and prosperity. And they were wrong. Surprisingly, Levinovitz does not use the word “econometrics” because that’s the first thing that came to my mind while reading his essay. The econometric approach may be the best example of the mathematical arrogance Levinovitz describes. The flaws in its internal reasoning become obvious, however, as you peel away the math, as Robert Murphy shows, The econometric approach to stock price movements is analogous to a meteorologist who looks for correlations between various measurements of atmospheric conditions. For example, he might find that the temperature on any given day is a very good predictor of the temperature on the following day. But no meteorologist would believe that the reading on the thermometer one day somehow caused the reading the next day; he knows that the correlation is due to the fact that the true causal factors — such as the angle of the earth relative to its orbital plane around the sun — do not change much from one day to the next.   Unfortunately, this distinction between causation and correlation is not stressed in econometrics. Indeed, for economists truly committed to the positive method, there can be no such distinction. Although the econometric pioneers may understand why certain assumptions are made and can offer a priori justifications such as “rational expectations” for the details of a particular model, the students of such pioneers are often caught up in the mathematical technicalities and lose sight of the true causes of economic phenomena. But more fundamentally, as Austrian economist Frank Shostak notes, “In the natural sciences, a laboratory experiment can isolate various elements and their movements. There is no equivalent in the discipline of economics. The employment of econometrics and econometric model-building is an attempt to produce a laboratory where controlled experiments can be conducted.” The result is that economic forecasts are usually just wrong. Levinovitz believes there is a conflict of interest at the heart of academic economics. He approvingly quotes one economist saying “The interest of the profession is in pursuing its analysis in a language that’s inaccessible to laypeople and even some economists. What we’ve done is monopolise this kind of expertise.” And furthermore, “…that gives us power.” But it’s more than even just that. It’s not just that economists fails to make accurate predictions or that hedge funds fail to beat the market. If economics is unable to provide bureaucrats with the ability to effectively guide and control an economy, the best alternative would be to turn it back over the market. It’s not just that “mathiness” gives economists “power.” In many ways, it’s the façade that justifies a large number of them having jobs in the first place. It appears that Levinovitz hasn’t quite grasped the full consequences of the argument he has espoused; namely that because economics models are mostly useless and cannot predict the future with any sort of certainty, then centrally directing an economy would be effectively like flying blind. The failure of economic models to pan out is simply more proof of the pretense of knowledge. And it’s not more knowledge that we need, it’s more humility. The humility to know that “wise” bureaucrats are not the best at directing a market — market participants themselves are.  

29 августа, 00:15

What Is The Liquidity Trap?

Authored by Frank Shostak via The Mises Institute, Some economists such as a Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman are of the view that if the US were to fall into a liquidity trap the US central bank should aggressively pump money and aggressively lower interest rates in order to lift the rate of inflation. This Krugman holds will pull the economy from the liquidity trap and will set the platform for an economic prosperity. In his New York Times article of January 11, 2012, he wrote, If nothing else, we've learned that the liquidity trap is neither a figment of our imaginations nor something that only happens in Japan; it's a very real threat, and if and when it ends we should nonetheless be guarding against its return — which means that there's a very strong case both for a higher inflation target, and for aggressive policy ...(of the central bank). But does it make sense that by means of more inflation the US economy could be pulled out of the liquidity trap? The Origin of the Liquidity-Trap Concept In the popular framework of thinking that originates from the writings of John Maynard Keynes, economic activity presented in terms of a circular flow of money. Spending by one individual becomes part of the earnings of another individual, and spending by another individual becomes part of the first individual's earnings. Recessions, according to Keynes, are a response to the fact that consumers — for some psychological reasons — have decided to cut down on their expenditure and raise their savings. For instance, if for some reason people have become less confident about the future, they will cut back on their outlays and hoard more money. Therefore, once an individual spends less, this worsens the situation of some other individual, who in turn also cuts his spending. A vicious circle sets in: the decline in people's confidence causes them to spend less and to hoard more money, and this lowers economic activity further, thereby causing people to hoard more, etc. Following this logic, in order to prevent a recession from getting out of hand, the central bank must lift the money supply and aggressively lower interest rates. Once consumers have more money in their pockets, their confidence will increase, and they will start spending again, thereby re-establishing the circular flow of money, so it is held. In his writings, however, Keynes suggested that a situation could emerge when an aggressive lowering of interest rates by the central bank would bring rates to a level from which they would not fall further. This, according to Keynes, could occur because people might adopt a view that interest rates have bottomed out and that rates should subsequently rise, leading to capital losses on bond holdings. As a result, people's demand for money will become extremely high, implying that people would hoard money and refuse to spend it no matter how much the central bank tries to expand the money supply. Keynes wrote, There is the possibility, for the reasons discussed above, that, after the rate of interest has fallen to a certain level, liquidity-preference may become virtually absolute in the sense that almost everyone prefers cash to holding a debt which yields so low a rate of interest. In this event the monetary authority would have lost effective control over the rate of interest. Keynes suggested that, once a low-interest-rate policy becomes ineffective, authorities should step in and spend. The spending can be on all sorts of projects - what matters here is that a lot of money must be pumped, which is expected to boost consumers' confidence. With a higher level of confidence, consumers will lower their savings and raise their expenditure, thereby re-establishing the circular flow of money. Do Individuals Save Money? In the Keynesian framework the ever-expanding monetary flow is the key to economic prosperity. What drives economic growth is monetary expenditure. When people spend more of their money, this is seen as saving less. Conversely, when people reduce their monetary spending in the Keynesian framework, this is viewed as saving more. Observe that in the popular — i.e., Keynesian — way of thinking, savings is bad news for the economy: the more people save, the worse things become. (The liquidity trap comes from too much saving and the lack of spending, so it is held.) However, to suggest that people could have an unlimited demand for money (hoarding money) that supposedly leads to a liquidity trap, as popular thinking has it, would imply that no one would be exchanging goods. Obviously, this is not a realistic proposition, given the fact that people require goods to support their lives and well-being. (Please note: people demand money not to accumulate indefinitely but to employ in exchange at some point in the future). Being the medium of exchange, money can only assist in exchanging the goods of one producer for the goods of another producer. The state of the demand for money cannot alter the amount of goods produced, that is, it cannot alter so-called real economic growth. Likewise, a change in the supply of money doesn't have any power to grow the real economy. Contrary to popular thinking, a liquidity trap does not emerge in response to consumers' massive increases in the demand for money but comes as a result of very loose monetary policies, which inflict severe damage to the pool of real savings. The Liquidity Trap and the Shrinking Pool of Real Savings According to Mises, "The sine qua non of any lengthening of the process of production adopted is saving, i.e., an excess of current production over current consumption. Saving is the first step on the way toward improvement of material well-being and toward every further progress on this way." As long as the rate of growth of the pool of real savings stays positive, this can continue to sustain productive and non-productive activities. Trouble erupts, however, when, on account of loose monetary and fiscal policies, a structure of production emerges that ties up much more consumer goods than the amount it releases. This excessive consumption relative to the production of consumer goods leads to a decline in the pool of real savings. This in turn weakens the support for economic activities, resulting in the economy plunging into a slump. (The shrinking pool of real savings exposes the commonly accepted fallacy that the loose monetary policy of the central bank can grow the economy.) Once the economy falls into a recession because of a falling pool of real saving, any government or central bank attempts to revive the economy must fail. Not only will these attempts not revive the economy; they will deplete the pool of real savings further, thereby prolonging the economic slump. Likewise, any policy that forces banks to expand lending "out of thin air" will further damage the pool and will reduce further banks' ability to lend. Note that the essence of lending is real savings and not money as such. Real savings impose restrictions on banks' ability to lend. (Money is just the medium of exchange, which facilitates real savings.) Also, note that without an expanding pool of real savings any expansion of bank lending is going to lift banks' nonperforming assets. Contrary to Krugman, we suggest that if the US economy were to fall into a liquidity trap the reason for that is not a sharp increase in the demand for money, but because loose monetary policies have depleted the pool of real savings. What is required in this case is not to generate more inflation but the exact opposite. Setting a higher inflation target, as suggested by Krugman, will only weaken the pool of real savings further and will guarantee that the economy will stay in a depressed state for a prolonged time.

26 августа, 23:35

Germany Bans 'Extremist AntiFa' Website For "Legitimizing Violence Against Cops"

While over 300,000 Americans have signed a petition demanding the US government formally recognize AntiFa a terrorist organization (and some 'cells' calling for "all-out revolution"), the US mainstream media continues to provide cover for the violent leftist organization (as do college professors). However, in Europe, German authorities have banned the most influential AntiFa website in the wake of violence that occured last month outside the G20 summit in Hamburg. In an unprecedented move against violent left-wing extremism, Germany’s Interior Ministry informed the owners of the left-wing site about the crackdown Friday, the Local reported. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière claimed the website helped incite the violence in Hamburg and warned of “serious consequences” of left-wing radicalism, the New York Times reported. “The prelude to the G-20 summit in Hamburg was not the only time that violent actions and attacks on infrastructural facilities were mobilized on linksunten.indymedia,” the minister said, identifying the website.   He also said the site tried to “legitimize violence against police officers,” which he described as an “expression of an attitude that tramples human dignity.”   “This is absolutely unacceptable and incompatible with our liberal democratic order,” he added. Fox News reports that, according to the Local, Germany’s internal spy agency once described the website, which has operated since 2008, as “the most important platform for violent left-wing extremism in Germany. For years it has been providing a forum for people to publish first-hand reports on left-wing crimes.” The violent clashes between the Antifa and police led to around 476 police officers being injured, while around 186 demonstrators were arrested and 225 were temporarily detained. The Interior Ministry said the website was shut down because it “goes directly against the law in both its aims and actions,” Spiegel reported. The police, meanwhile, searched the properties connected to the owners of the radical website in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. “At the moment several premises are being searched,” said Thomas Strobl, the state’s interior minister.   “This step marks a major blow against the extreme left in Germany,” he added. Following the announced closure, the extremist website now directs visitors to a “what to do” article calling the government’s move an “authoritarian crackdown.” It also urges people to spread “revolutionary material and ideas everywhere” and come up with “alternative ways to communicate with each other and the general public in times of intensifying state censorship and control.” Notably, as Ron Paul recently explained, the alt-right and its leftist opponents are two sides of the same authoritarian coin. The alt-right elevates racial identity over individual identity. The obsession with race leads them to support massive government interference in the economy in order to benefit members of the favored race. They also favor massive welfare and entitlement spending, as long as it functions as a racial spoils system. Some prominent alt-right leaders even support abortion as a way of limiting the minority population. No one who sincerely supports individual liberty, property rights, or the right to life can have any sympathy for this type of racial collectivism. Antifa, like all Marxists, elevates class identity over individual identity. Antifa supporters believe government must run the economy because otherwise workers will be exploited by greedy capitalists. This faith in central planning ignores economic reality, as well as the reality that in a free market employers and workers voluntarily work together for their mutual benefit. It is only when government intervenes in the economy that crony capitalists have the opportunity to exploit workers, consumers, and taxpayers. Sadly, many on the left confuse the results of the “mixed economy” with free markets. Ironically, the failure of the Keynesian model of economic authoritarianism, promoted by establishment economists like Paul Krugman, is responsible for the rise of the alt-right and antifa. While we should be willing to form coalitions with individuals of good will across the political spectrum, we must never align with anyone promoting violence as a solution to social and economic problems. We must also oppose any attempts to use the violence committed by extremists as a justification for expanding the police state or infringing on free speech. Laws against hate speech set a dangerous precedent for censorship of speech unpopular with the ruling elite and the deep state. Libertarians have several advantages in the ideological battle over what we will replace the Keynesian welfare model with. First, we do not need to resort to scapegoating and demagoguing, as we have the truth about the welfare-warfare state and the Federal Reserve on our side. We also offer a realistic way to restore prosperity. But our greatest advantage is that, while authoritarianism divides people by race, class, religion, or other differences, the cause of liberty unites all who seek peace and prosperity.  

23 августа, 19:30

How Rand Paul Can Free Americans From The Fed

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Authored by Tho Bishop via The Mises Institute, Ever since entering the Senate, Rand Paul has continued his father’s work in advocating for an audit of the Federal Reserve. This week, writing for the Daily Caller, Senator Paul renewed his efforts, illustrating how the recent era of unconventional monetary policy has made an audit all the more important: In 2009, then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was able to refuse to tell Congress who received over two trillion in Fed loans, and it took congressional action and a Bloomberg lawsuit to force the Fed to reveal the details of what it did in more than 21,000 transactions involving trillions of dollars during the 2008 financial crisis.  A one-time audit of the Fed’s emergency lending mandated by Congress revealed even more about the extent to which the Fed put taxpayers on the hook. When pushed to defend the lack of transparency for the Federal Reserve, officials like Janet Yellen and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin point to the myth of the Fed independence - a position that requires outright ignorance of the history of America’s central bank and the executive branch. Of course it’s quite usual for the Senate to base the merits of legislation entirely off of fallacious arguments, so they have continued to be the legislative body holding up a Fed audit with little indication they are prepared to move. Given that reality, it is time for Senator Rand Paul to change his approach and introduce another piece of legislation from his father’s archives: the Free Competition in Currency Act. While not as catchy as “End the Fed”, this piece of legislation – inspired by the work of F.A. Hayek – was perhaps Ron Paul’s most radical pieces of legislation. The idea was quite simple: eliminate legal tender laws mandating the use of US Dollars and remove the taxes Federal and State governments place on alternative currencies - such as gold and silver. While the original legislation did apply to “tokens,” an updated version should explicitly include the growing market of cryptocurrencies as a good with monetary value that should not be taxed. What this would do is create a more even playing field between the dollar and alternative currencies, allowing an easy way for Americans to safeguard their wealth if they ever have reason to doubt the wisdom of the Federal Reserve’s policies. Just as Senator Paul advocated for the ability of Americans to be able to opt-out of the failing Obamacare system, this bill would grant Americans a lifeboat should the weaknesses inherent with the Fed’s fiat money regime expose themselves. Unlike most examples of monetary policy reforms, which tend to be the products of ivory tower echo chambers, competition in currency would reflect active political trends. In recent years, states like Texas, Utah, and – in 2017 – Arizona have passed laws allowing the use of silver and gold for use in transactions. Meanwhile, other countries have looked to embrace the potential of cryptocurrencies for their monetary regimes. This makes this not only an idea that is good on paper, but one whose time has come. As alluded to before, simply because a policy makes sense does not mean the Senate will act on it. That doesn’t mean the conversation and debate isn’t worth having. While it may still be on the horizon, there has been a steady drumbeat in Washington for the Federal Reserve to face some sort of reform. For two Congressional sessions in a row, the House has passed legislation explicitly calling for the Fed to embrace a “rules-based monetary system.” While this approach may sound better than today’s PhD standard, it doesn’t solve the problems inherent with central banking and fiat money. Monetary rules such as “NGD Targeting” – which has the support of a rare coalition including the Cato Institute, Mercatus Center, Christina Romer, and Paul Krugman — should never be seen as a “reasonable compromise” for those skeptical about the Fed. Instead it’s simply another way of disguising central planning in a way to make it more palpable to the public, and therefore more difficult to stop. By putting this bill out there, Rand Paul can help frame the debate and bring a real solution to the table. Something that wouldn't force the Fed to change a single thing, only making them compete on the market like the producer of other good or service.  After all, as is the case with healthcare, or shoes, the best sort of “monetary policy” is competition on the market. Not one dictated by government.   

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22 августа, 16:01

Ron Paul Urges America "Oppose Fascism Of The Right & The Left"

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity, Following the recent clashes between the alt-right and the group antifa, some libertarians have debated which group they should support. The answer is simple: neither. The alt-right and its leftist opponents are two sides of the same authoritarian coin. The alt-right elevates racial identity over individual identity. The obsession with race leads them to support massive government interference in the economy in order to benefit members of the favored race. They also favor massive welfare and entitlement spending, as long as it functions as a racial spoils system. Some prominent alt-right leaders even support abortion as a way of limiting the minority population. No one who sincerely supports individual liberty, property rights, or the right to life can have any sympathy for this type of racial collectivism. Antifa, like all Marxists, elevates class identity over individual identity. Antifa supporters believe government must run the economy because otherwise workers will be exploited by greedy capitalists. This faith in central planning ignores economic reality, as well as the reality that in a free market employers and workers voluntarily work together for their mutual benefit. It is only when government intervenes in the economy that crony capitalists have the opportunity to exploit workers, consumers, and taxpayers. Sadly, many on the left confuse the results of the “mixed economy” with free markets. Ironically, the failure of the Keynesian model of economic authoritarianism, promoted by establishment economists like Paul Krugman, is responsible for the rise of the alt-right and antifa. Despite a recent (and likely short-lived) upturn in some sectors of the economy, many Americans continue to struggle with unemployment and a Federal Reserve-caused eroding standard of living. History shows that economic hardship causes many to follow demagogues offering easy solutions and convenient scapegoats. Left-wing demagogues scapegoat businesses and the “one percent,” ignoring the distinction between those who made their fortunes serving consumers and those who enriched themselves by manipulating the political process.   Right-wing demagogues scapegoat immigrants and minorities, ignoring how these groups suffer under the current system and how they are disproportionally impacted by policies like the war on drugs and police militarization. As the Keynesian-Krugman empire of big government and fiat currency collapses, more people will be attracted to authoritarianism, leading to an increase in violence. The only way to ensure the current system is not replaced with something even worse is for those of us who know the truth to work harder to spread the ideas of liberty. While we should be willing to form coalitions with individuals of good will across the political spectrum, we must never align with anyone promoting violence as a solution to social and economic problems. We must also oppose any attempts to use the violence committed by extremists as a justification for expanding the police state or infringing on free speech. Laws against hate speech set a dangerous precedent for censorship of speech unpopular with the ruling elite and the deep state. Libertarians have several advantages in the ideological battle over what we will replace the Keynesian welfare model with. First, we do not need to resort to scapegoating and demagoguing, as we have the truth about the welfare-warfare state and the Federal Reserve on our side. We also offer a realistic way to restore prosperity. But our greatest advantage is that, while authoritarianism divides people by race, class, religion, or other differences, the cause of liberty unites all who seek peace and prosperity.

02 февраля, 14:18

7 самых успешных управляющих хедж-фондов

Лондонский фонд LCH Investments, подразделение Edmond de Rothschild Capital Holdings Limited, опубликовал свой ежегодный рейтинг 20 самых успешных фондовых управляющих 2016 г.

31 мая 2015, 21:21

новая норма от Лиссабона до Владивостока

Прочитав статью о плачевном состоянии экономики Финляндии, Пол Кругман предложил посмотреть в странах еврозоны на изменение ВВП на душу с 2007 года. Латвия, которую Кругман продолжает ошибочно ругать за якобы неправильную антикризисную политику, на фоне остальных стран с фиксированным курсом выглядит совсем не плохо. Но в целом картинка окончательной победы Европейского союза довольно депрессивная. Полная деградация стран победившего евро-капитализма, губят людей европейские институты...Не удивительно, что кризис еврозоны все еще продолжается, сохраняется недовольство Грецией, растет нелюбовь к трудовым и прочим мигрантам. Это экономика, а не российская пропаганда, виновата в росте противоречий и популярности евроскептиков. Многие сейчас ругаются и переживают из-за замедления экономического роста в России после 2008. На всякий случай глянул на регион от Лиссабона до Владивостока :) За базу выбрал не 2007, а 2008. Картинка игнорирует докризисные темпы роста, которые, например, у прибалтов, России и Беларуси были очень высокими, намного лучше, чем в Польше. За такой длинный срок правильнее было бы сравнивать ВВП на душу, как у Кругмана, но есть некоторые сомнения в точности данных по населению. Если считать на душу, то рост Турции, Узбекистана и Таджикистана, естественно, был бы поменьше. Украина выглядела бы получше, но все равно была бы последней в списке. Беларусь и Польша так и остались бы рядом, как близнецы. В общем и целом сокращение разрыва между доходами богатых и бедных продолжалось.

10 декабря 2013, 22:28

Почему должны расти зарплаты

Наступила пора развлечений – или, во всяком случае, пора провести время в торговых центрах. Также, по традиции, это время подумать о положении тех, кому повезло меньше – например, о человеке по другую сторону кассы. оследние несколько десятилетий были трудными для многих американских рабочих, но особенно тяжело пришлось людям, занятым в розничной торговле – это категория, включающая продавцов Walmart и сотрудников McDonald’s. Несмотря на остаточное действие финансового кризиса, Америка сейчас гораздо богаче, чем 40 лет назад. Однако зарплата неруководящего персонала в розничной торговле, скорректированная с учетом инфляции сократилась почти на 30% с 1973 г. Так можно ли как-то помочь этим рабочим, многим из которых, чтобы накормить семью, нужны продуктовые карточки (при условии, что они смогут их получить), и многие из которых зависят от программы Medicaid (опять же при условии доступа к ней) для получения необходимого медицинского обслуживания? Да. Мы можем сохранить и расширить продуктовые карточки, а не сокращать программу, как этого хотят Республиканцы. Мы можем обеспечить успешное проведение реформ в сфере здравоохранения, несмотря на попытки правых подорвать процесс реализации программы. И мы можем повысить минимальную зарплату. Для начала - несколько фактов. Несмотря на увеличение минимальной, национальной, зарплаты несколько лет назад, она все же остается очень низкой по историческим меркам, значительно отставая от инфляции и средних уровней зарплаты. Кто же получает этот небольшой минимум? По большому счету, это мужчины или женщины, работающие на кассе: почти 60% американских рабочих, получающих минимальную зарплату, занимаются продажей продуктов питания или оказанием сопутствующих услуг. Между прочим, это значит, что один из аргументов, часто выдвигаемых против повышения зарплат - угроза конкуренции со стороны иностранных компаний – в данном случае не убедителен: американцы не поедут в Китай за гамбургерами и картошкой фри. Тем не менее, даже если международная конкуренция – не проблема, можем ли на самом деле помочь рабочим, просто законодательно установив более высокую зарплату? Не нарушает ли это закон спроса и предложения? Не поразят ли нас боги рынка невидимой рукой? Но есть множество свидетельств того, что происходит при повышении минимальной зарплаты. И результат является положительным: повышение минимальной зарплаты мало влияет, или совсем не влияет, на занятость, при этом значительно увеличивает доходы рабочих. Важно понять, насколько можно доверять таким доказательствам. Обычно экономическому анализу препятствует отсутствие контролируемых экспериментов. Например, мы можем увидеть, что случилось с американской экономикой после внедрения стимулов, предложенных Обамой, но мы не можем оценить состояние альтернативной вселенной, в которой не было стимулов, и не можем сравнить результаты. Однако существуют примеры, когда один штат поднимал минимальную зарплату, а другой нет. Если бы что-то подтверждало значительное негативное влияние повышения минимальной зарплаты на сферу занятости, подобный результат был бы очевиден при сравнении штатов. Но этого не произошло. Так что повышение минимальной зарплаты помогло бы низкооплачиваемым рабочим, без особых негативных последствий. И мы говорим о большом числе людей. В начале этого года Институт экономической политики подсчитал, что повышение минимальной национальной зарплаты с 7,25 доллара до 10,10 доллара принесло бы пользу 30 миллионам рабочих. Большинство получило бы непосредственную выгоду, поскольку сейчас они зарабатывают менее 10,10 доллара в час; а остальные получили бы косвенную выгоду, так как их оплата на самом деле привязана к минимуму – например, управляющие магазинов быстрого питания, получающие немного (но только немного) больше, работников, которыми они руководят. Сейчас многие экономисты испытывают неприязнь ко всему, что связано с установлением цен, даже при наличии положительных последствий. Некоторые из этих скептиков выступают против всего, что помогло бы низкооплачиваемым рабочим. Другие утверждают, что мы должны обеспечить субсидии и расширить программу E.I.T.C. (налоговый зачет за заработанный доход), которая, в сущности, оказывает значительную помощь малообеспеченным семьям. Между прочим, я полностью за расширение программы E.I.T.C. Но, оказывается, существуют веские причины рассматривать минимальную зарплату и E.I.T.C. как дополнение друг к другу, а не замену. Следует увеличить и то, и другое. К сожалению, учитывая политическую реальность, нет никаких шансов, что Конгресс примет закон об увеличении помощи работающему бедному населению. С другой стороны, минимальная зарплата может быть повышена благодаря огромной государственной поддержке. Эта поддержка исходит не только от Демократов или даже самовыдвиженцев; за повышение выступает подавляющее большинство Республиканцев (57%) и консерваторы (59%). Словом, повышение минимальной зарплаты помогло бы многим американцам, и, соответственно, американской экономике. Пол Кругман Подготовлено Forexpf.ru по материалам New York Times

12 ноября 2013, 19:58

Бернанке, не Кругман

Пол Кругман предложил вниманию читателей свою лекцию (с двумя моделями ) о роли политики обменного курса и наличия собственной валюты во время кризиса. Он настаивает на том, что спекулятивный кризис доверия практически не возможен в развитых странах с плавающим валютным курсом. Эту ситуацию он противопоставляет "греческим" кризисам в странах еврозоны, повторяя свои обобщения о природе кризиса в странах валютного союза. На доброжелательных ирландцев повторение пройденного большого впечатления не произвело.  Одним из важных элементов в рассказе Кругмана является хорошо знакомая роль правительственных и частных займов в собственной валюте, а не иностранной. Ничего нового для знакомых с "первородным грехом" в экономике и тех, кто слыхал о работах Кармен Рейхарт с коллегами про "боязнь плавания" и "неожиданные астановки"... В дополнение к лекции, за последние недели Кругман разместил в своем блоге серию записей с атаками на Германию, защитой Франции и критикой ЕЦБ с евробюрократами. Большинство из этих нападок повторяют тезисы 2-3-4-х летней давности. Как будто бы за это время мы не узнали ничего нового. Версию о том, что кризис в еврозоне был вызван потерей конкурентоспособности стран периферии в пользу Германии, мы обсуждали в начале 2010 здесь, и потом часто (начиная с немцы против немцев). С тех пор ко многим экономистам пришло понимание природы кризиса в Латвии, затем в Ирландии, затем в Италии и Испании.  Как здесь уже записано, огромным, хотя и запоздалым, ударом по позициям Кругмана была недавняя статья Бланшара о кризисе в Латвии. Благодаря внимательному изучению опыта этих стран, понимание кризиса в еврозоне стало намного более глубоким. На версию о потере конкурентоспособности теперь приходится, быть может, процентов 10-20 его объяснения :), и она теперь годится разве что для лекции в сельском клубе... Лекция Бернанке (там же, интересно) о кризисе как классическом набеге на финансовый сектор и панике на финансовых рынках, важна для понимания уроков кризиса в США, в еврозоне и Великобритании.  В еврозоне эти моменты были особенно важны, потому что банки там были слабее, и механизмы защиты от паники были институцуионально не проработанными. Рассмотрение еврозоны Кругманом как одной страны граничит с профанацией анализа.  Ожидать от правительства Германии действий не в интересах экономики своей страны, а в интересах экономики Греции или Испании, мне кажется верхом наивности. Конечно, валютный союз накладывает дополнительные обязательства на правительства еврозоны, и за время кризиса они обсуждались, менялись, кодифицировались. Но национальные правительства там пока никто не отменял, и избирают партию Меркель граждане Германии, а не кругманы. Критика Кругманом денежно-кредитной политики ЕЦБ, как мне кажется, тоже несправедлива, но об этом лучше черкнуть отдельно. Большинству, наверное, давно не интересно разбираться в уже разобранном, но Кармен Рейнхарт не поленилась указать нобелевскому лауреату на его ошибочные комментарии к картинке про Великобританию. А о том, что "греческий кризис" был только в Греции, что еврозона не страна, похожая на США, и что банковский кризис в еврозоне многим отличался от механики кризисов в других странах, никто уже блогеру не жаждет рассказывать... Офтопик: Своими грубыми нападками, часто выходящими далеко за рамки приличий, Кругман удобен тем, кому выгодно атаковать ЕЦБ, Европейскую комиссию и антикризисную политику в Европе.  С одной стороны, Кругмана нельзя игнорировать, потому что блогер-экономист пользуется популярностью и авторитетом среди читателей и многих коллег. С другой стороны, отвечать ему грубостями не каждый захочет и не каждый может себе это позволить. Поэтому европейцы пытаются отвечать взвешенными заметками, как Бути и Падоан здесь и, в ответ Кругману, здесь.  Или как только что тужился сделать один из бывших лидеров ЕЦБ Смаги в заметке "Аскетизм и тупость" :) Народная мудрость: "Против лома нет приема, если нет другого лома".  Для ответа Кругману, наверное, нужен евро-Ильвес с большой командой неглупых экономистов :) Рогофф и Рейнхарт, как мне кажется, лучше других защищались от гадких наездов Кругмана. По крайней мере в среде профессионалов им удалось поставить Кругмана на место. Но в популярном сознании Рогофф и Рейнхарт все равно подозреваются в тяжких грехах.  Утешение атакуемых Кругманом в том, что люди, принимающие решения по антикризисной политике, слушают не Кругмана, а его оппонентов. И народ, который свои правительства избирает, этих людей поддерживает.

26 апреля 2013, 12:44

Странглия, Мервин Кинг и Сергей Игнатьев

На графике ВВП Великобритании (картинка из свежайшей речи одного из лидеров Банка Англии, там другие есть). Красным показан докризисный тренд, а синим жизнь. Вчера все с напряжением ждали, объявят ли народу об уже ТРЕТЬЕЙ по счету рецессии, но бог миловал и объявили о небольшом росте в первом квартале. Почему нет роста в любимом россиянами Лондонграде и его окрестностях?Кругман, ДеЛонг и другие уверяют своих читателей, что это из-за бюджетной консолидации бюджетного аскетизма, как в России.  Они видят на этой картинке ошибку в статье Рейнхарт-Рогофф 2010 года, и письмо о бюджетной дисциплине, которое в феврале 2010 года подписал Кеннет Рогофф вместе с другими экономистами. Статья и письмо подтолкнули правительство Камерона на ужасную экономическую политику и лишили британцев благосостояния, измеряемого разницей между красной революционной линией и синей, преступной. Чтобы убедиться, что красная линия является для Кругмана и ДеЛонга критерием успеха, желающие могут почитать свежую заметку ДеЛонга про США или поискать его и Кругмана многочисленные атаки на Великобританию, а про Латвию с Эстонией я лучше промолчу.Вопрос на засыпку про бюджетный аскетизм упирается в Великобританию по ряду причин.  У страны своя валюта, которая, как постоянно повторяет Кругман и Ко. необходима для успеха.  С начала кризиса фунт стерлингов подешевел процентов на 20-25, что, по мнению Кругмана, должно было привести с скачку экспорта.  Инфляция была намного выше 2%, к чему тоже призывали Кругман и другие экономисты.  Много чего было в Великобритании в кризисные годы. А роста не было и пока нет.  Поэтому для Кругмана, ДеЛонга и их единомышленников  главным виновником преступления должен быть бюджетный аскетизм.  В Великобритании, по их мнению, нужен был значительный бюджетный стимул, достаточный для быстрого возвращения к красной черте.  На всякий случай напомню сразу, что дефицит бюджета в Странглии на автомате сразу скакнул к 10-11% ВВП (картинка).  Этого, по мнению борцов с бюджетным аскетизмом, было мало, надо было гораздо больше. По мнению Кругмана, инвесторы бы этого совсем не испугались, потому что никакой "Волшебницы доверие" нет (добавим от себя следствие: нет и "Волшебницы Недоверие").  Вот свежая заметка ДеЛонга, где он обвиняет Камерона и "правых" экономистов в попытке реализовать в Великобритании "стимилирующее сокращение" дефицита бюджета а ля Алесина.Как и в случае российских дебатов о замедлении роста, за более объективным мнением я обратился к уходящему руководителю центрального банка - Банка Англии - Мервину Кингу, коллеге Сергея Игнатьева. В своей январской речи Кинг подробно рассказывал о диагнозе, лечении и будущем экономики Великобритании.  Речь советую почитать. В отличие от Банка России, британцы публикуют речи своих руководителей, чтобы каждый желающий не гадал, какие у них мысли, а мог прочитать речь и поглазеть на иллюстрации к ней и даже почитать указанную дополнительную литературу.Кинг сразу же напомнил слушателям об избыточном докризисном энтузиазме:Much of this reflects the inevitable correction of exuberance on the part of borrowers and lenders, the conditions for which were created by the failure to tackle the global imbalances that left most major countries with unsustainable exchange rates, unsustainable paths of consumption, saving and borrowing, and unsustainably low long-term real interest rates.Затем отметил три фактора, сдерживающих рост, некоторые из них внутренние, некоторые внешние. Не буду пересказывать, но среди них упомянуты цены на еду и энергию.  Системный финансовый кризис привел к нарушениям в банковском секторе, толкнул банки к осторожности и затруднил доступ к кредиту, особенно для мелких и средних предприятий. Но среди причин анемичного роста у Кинга нет даже намека на излишний бюджетный аскетизм.  Единственное упоминание о бюджетной политике во всей речи сводится к ограничениям в ее использовании из-за большого госдолга:In many countries, including the UK, fiscal policy is constrained by the size of government indebtedness, and monetary policy has come to be seen as the only game in town.Нет бюджетного стимулирования и среди нескольких рецептов лечения (помимо денежно-кредитной политики КуЕ). Рецепта три, включая укрепление банков, увеличение экономического потенциала за счет структурных реформ и (все еще надежда на)  восстановление еврозоны и слабый фунт стерлингов/экспорт:What are those other policies? They come under three headings: restoring confidence in our banks, reforms to raise the future potential supply of our economy, and changes in the world economy and exchange rates.Этот диагноз, рецепты лечения и прогноз мы услышали от одного из сотен британских экономистов, которые в свое время в открытом письме возмутились преступным бюджетным аскетизмом Маргарет Тэтчер :). Кто-нибудь наверняка скажет мне, что старик Кинг кривит душой, что не хочет осложнять жизнь правительству Камерона. Но ведь он пожилой уже человек, ему нечего терять, кроме своего доброго имени. Не боится же он требовать значительного дополнительного увеличения акционерного капитала у всесильных банков, которые могли бы его подкармливать в старости. Неужели Кинг промолчал бы, если бы действительно верил во вред бюджетной дисциплины?Что такое ужасное делает правительство Великобритании, какой такой особый аскетизм в Лондонграде?  Смотрим еще раз на сокращение дефицита, ожидаемое в разных странах за три года 2011-2013, и видим, что у британцев сокращение дефицита очень похоже на небольшое сокращение в других странах, как у Франции или Бельгии, и меньше, чем в США, не говоря уже о больных еврозоны Испании, Ирландии и Ко., которым Кругман, кстати, тоже раньше регулярно предлагал активнее стимулировать экономику дополнительными бюджетными расходами (?!).Можно допустить, что сейчас, когда инвесторы успокоились после испуга 2008-2011 гг., британцы могли бы сокращать дефицит чуть медленнее, как это может себе теперь легко позволить Эстония или Латвия. Сейчас, а не в 2010, когда инвесторы, включая Билла Гросса, буквально тряслись от страха. И американцы могли бы сейчас дать слабину. Но надо же быть реалистами. К красной линии они бы все равно долго не вернулись. И Кругман с ДеЛонгом все равно будут ругать всех и вся во всю силу своих легких.  Никакого чрезмерного аскетизма в Великобритании нет, просто не нашли там вовремя сланцевый газ, банковский сектор там побольше и еврозона поближе. Разница между Великобританией и США еще и в том, что в Америке нет никаких бюджетных планов, а есть секвестр, знакомый нам по предкризисным 1990м. Там правит политический паралич. Планы же британцев известны заранее, и за выполнением планов уже давно следят специально обученные независимые люди в Офисе бюджетной ответственности, как и учил реалист Кеннет Рогофф.ДОП: Пока я кропал и выдергивал из интернета чужие мысли и картинки, появился пользительный пост zhu_s...Как я уже заметил в тексте, мы не можем ознакомиться с речью Сергея Игнатьева о причинах замедления роста российской экономики и посмотреть на познавательные картинки-иллюстрации к его увлекательному рассказу.  Но у нас есть zhu_s, который думает и пишет на эту важную для экономической политики тему.

28 февраля 2013, 20:13

Стимулирование или спад? МАКРОЭКОНОМИКА РЕЦЕССИИ

ДЕЛОНГ: Период между 1985 и 2007 – период «Великого Спокойствия» - Фед Резерв и Правительство США с одной стороны на Западе, а центральные банки и финансовые институты Евросоюза на востоке Атлантического океана обеспечили устойчивое макроэкономическое окружение в рамках которого частный бизнес сектор, рабочие и инвесторы могли реализовывать свои экономические устремления. В США в годовом выражении прирост номинального ВВП опускался ниже 4% только 3 раза в эти годы и превышал 7% только 2 раза в течение 22 лет, уровень потребительской инфляции был выше 5% 3 раза и падал ниже 2%  только 2 раза в течение этих 22 лет, а уровень занятости взрослого населения (отношение числа занятых к общей численности взрослого населения) колебался в границах 60-64%. Западная Европа переживала примерно такой же период «Великого Спокойствия» с низкой инфляцией, плавным ростом и снижающейся безработицей. Как говорил Роберт Лукас в эти спокойные годы: «проблема предотвращения депрессии была решена». Далее в 2008-2009-м гг. уровень прироста номинального ВВП в США рухнул к -3% - неожиданное значительное снижение для любого, кто ожидает «Великого Спокойствия» с прежним уровнем роста расходов, потребительская инфляция ушла в отрицательную зону (-2%), а занятость населения упала с 63% до 58-59%. В Западной Европе изначально рецессия была слабее, но последующая ситуация на рынке труда оказалась более разочаровывающей, так что в настоящий момент чистое снижение к тренду производства и занятости в Западной Европе превышает аналогичные показатели в США. Проблема предотвращения депрессии и её излечения не была решена. В этом контексте мы собрались обсудить следующие четыре вопроса: Может ли политика ФРС, ЕЦБ, государственных органов адоптироваться так, чтобы в короткие сроки вернуть уровень занятости к значениям которые мы в течение 1985-2007 считали «нормальными», а темпы роста занятости к уровням Рейгановского бума 1982-1989 гг.? Если может, какой должна быть эта политика? Если может, является ли эта политика приемлемой? Как ваше мнение на вопросы 1-3 отличается от мнения 6 лет назад?  Карло Коттарелли из Международного валютного фонда.