Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Abuse of the Global Economy

Krugman here (and The Star today) quoted Bernanke that the problem of the world started when Asia had its financial crisis in 1997 and started to accumulate foreign reserves - and those foreign reserves were then exported back to the US to create the subprime problem and the current financial crisis.

I disagree.

The cause of the current financial crisis is the problem of the US monetary policy - more specifically the problem of Greenspan's relentless printing of money to exploit seignorage to benefit the administrations he served as well as the American people.

The indiscipline of the US monetary policy - where every stock market decline was followed immediately by the cutting of interest rates to pump in the liquidity to prop up financial asset prices - spilled over into the speculation of real estate - to the glee of all speculators, i.e., the man in the street (who now laments) and the bankers (who now are quite happy to live on their accumulated fat bonuses).

That Asia worked hard during those times and saved cannot be the problem. If Asians did not work hard, we might have seen worse inflation around the world. Let it be remembered that the low-cost products from Asia helped to lessen the inflationary pressures on the ordinary people while the small but rich part of the world population indulged in shameless luxury.

The reason for the asset inflation in the US is that the American people have lost their competitive edge and they cannot compete. The money printed by Greenspan was used to buy local financial assets and real estate as well as imports from the rest of the world.

The abuse of the US dollar of its status as an international currency is the reason for the current financial crisis. The morale of the story is that printing money does not solve economic crisis.

Abusing Keynes will not work either.

Working hard to make products that the world needs and which will improve the wellbeing of the people of the world (as well as the planet) is the road ahead for this global economy.


de minimis said...


What do you make of the idea of re-pegging the ringiit?

There's a piece in Edge Daily,

etheorist said...

The ringgit should be allowed to float. Which means that policies - both monetary and fiscal - must be right.