University of Texas Economics Professor James Galbraith is a son of the great US Institutional economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and a leading non-orthodox economist in his own right. He has developed highly innovative methods to measure economic inequality that are well documented here; he is a strident critic of conventional economics; and he has been as active in the USA as an analyst of and commentator on this financial crisis as I have in Australia. His many interviews on the topic are linked from this site.
Several people have commented on the speech by Glenn Stevens (for international readers, Stevens is the Governor of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia) yesterday in which he commented, inter alia, that:
Ross Gittins finally comes aboard the debt-deflation train, with an article in today’s (December 8 2008) Sydney Morning Herald entitled “It’s not inflation that did us in, it’s the borrowing”. For non-Australian readers, Ross has been a regular economic commentator for Sydney’s leading newspaper for about forty years.
The UK Government has taken the first tentative steps towards a solution to this crisis with its decision today to give stressed borrowers an interest repayment holiday of up to two years (New scheme to help people at risk of repossession).
What’s Really Going On? or…
Why Did I See it Coming and “They” Didn’t?
Part 2: The Models
“But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.” (Keynes, A Tract on Monetary Reform, 1924)
There is some technical glitch affecting the blog at present that delays approval of new posts, and often results in multiple postings from the same post. I know these would be irritating to receive, but they are the fault of either the underlying software (WordPress) or my ISP host, or both.
Reports that the USA government’s total financial commitments from the financial crisis now top US$5 trillion raise the obvious question “Can they afford it?”.
The answer isn’t obvious. Some economists, from a range of schools of economic thought, argue that the government sector (lumping the Treasury and the Federal Reserve together) has a limitless capacity to pay debt as a consequence of its status (especially since the US dollar is still the world’s reserve currency).
And now for something completely different…
A correspondent has just passed this beautiful piece of wit along to me: a song about the financial crisis to the tune of the old “Monster Mash” song from the 50s (you know, back when they had banks).
Permanent link to this post
(46 words, estimated 11 secs reading time)
The Parliamentary Library arranged a debate between myself and Rory Robertson of the Macquarie Group on the financial crisis today. We had a good audience of about 70 Parliament House denizens. You can download the Powerpoint Slides slides for my presentation, and the Vissim model of Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis which was part of the presentation ( Right click and choose “Save As” since this is a text file; then install the viewer, which can load the file and let you run it (I’ve also loaded the EXE file of the viewer onto my site as another way of getting the program). You can make changes too, but they can’t be saved).
Today’s CPI data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that consumer prices fell by 1 percent in the month of September. This is the steepest monthly fall in the index since January 1938, and comes after two previous monthly falls (of 0.4 and 0.14 percent). It is therefore possible that a debt-deflationary process is underway.