Thursday, May 07, 2009

Globoeconomics: Name Of The Game

Adam Smith (1723-1790) {{he|דיוקנו של אדם סמית}}Image via Wikipedia

Capitalism In Crisis Wall Street Journal the dizzying array of programs that the government is deploying and the staggering amounts of money that it is spending or pledging -- almost $13 trillion in loans, other investments and guarantees -- in an effort to avoid a repetition of the 1930s. ..... could lead to high inflation, greatly increased interest costs on a greatly increased national debt, much heavier taxes, the restructuring of major industries, and the redrawing of the line that separates business from government. ........ When the banking system breaks down and credit consequently seizes up, economic activity plummets. ......... prices were rising because interest rates were low. So when the Federal Reserve (fearing inflation) began pushing interest rates up in 2005, the bubble began leaking air and eventually burst. It carried the banking industry down with it because banks were so heavily invested in financing houses. ........ Though the banks are continuing to hoard bailout money and the stimulus program is just beginning to be implemented, these and other recovery programs have probably slowed the downward spiral. ....... because risk and return are positively correlated in finance, competition in an unregulated financial market drives up risk, which, given the centrality of banking to a capitalist economy, can produce an economic calamity ..... we need our central bank, the Federal Reserve, to be on the lookout for bubbles, especially housing bubbles because of the deep entanglement of the banking industry with the housing industry. Our central bank failed us. ..... we may need more regulation of banking to reduce its inherent riskiness. .... a restoration of business confidence ...... Anything that amplifies this uncertainty slows recovery by making businessmen more likely to freeze and hoard rather than venture and spend. Reregulating banking, hauling bankers before congressional committees, passing laws tightening credit-card lending, and capping bonuses all impede recovery. All that is for later, once the economy is back on track. ........... international regulation of banking is needed in principle ...... the government responded to the crisis with spasmodic improvisations, amplifying uncertainty and mistrust and thus retarding recovery. ......the influential economists who assured us that there could never be another depression. They argued that in the face of a recession the Federal Reserve had only to reduce interest rates and flood the banks with money and all would be well. If only.
There are parallels to what we are going through right now and the Great Depression. Many have called this the Great Recession. But the number one lesson from back then is not that you need a huge governmental spending to get out of the ditch, important as it is. The number one lesson from then is that the collective consciousness matured on from microeconomics to macroeconomics. Now the challenge is to mature on from macroeconomics to globoeconomics. There I don't see much work being done so far. The work is to lay down a new, robust set of rules for the global financial system. Two words: transparency and accountability. Jacking up the IMF's resources is only a small part of the equation. Most of the work will affect the private sector. Laying down the ground rules is not about snuffing out the market impulses. It is about laying down the ground rules to make great soccer possible.

Stimulus: Make It A Trillion
Stimulus: Size Matters
Global Finance, Global Terrorism, Global Warming
The Chinese Success Story
Deficits As Far As The Eyes Can See

Money is a resource. It has to go where the need is the greatest, where the return is the greatest, and often times those two are in sync. If there were enough transparency and accountability in place, money would not flow to create housing bubbles that are by definition bound to go bust.

Microfinance could digest a trillion dollars easy. You pour a trillion into microfinance across the Global South, and you are not going to see a bubble. You are going to see a return on your money that is twice the return from the US treasury bonds.

Microfinance, Nanotech, Biotech, Software/Hardware/Connectivity

Flush money should go into creating the jobs, companies and industries of tomorrow. Money should go into small businesses. Money should go to the tried and tested.

Bubbles are a sign the smart money is not being very smart. But the money has to go somewhere. So it ends up in bubbles: short term glory, long term pain.

And then there is that standard monopoly thing. If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big. It should not have been allowed to get that big in the first place. And it is not too late to break up a few banks. Turn them into smaller size chunkies.

A Single Global Currency, A Global New Deal, A Global Economic Council
A Brighter Future Ahead
Old White Men Need To Chew Gum
Needed: A New Global Financial Architecture

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