What Japan’s economic experiment can teach the rest of the world
IN THE 1980s Japan was a closely studied example of economic dynamism. In the decades since, it has commanded attention largely for its economic stagnation. After years of falling prices and fitful growth, Japan’s nominal GDP was roughly the same in 2015 as it was 20 years earlier. America’s grew by 134% in the same time period; even Italy’s went up by two-thirds. Now Japan is in the spotlight for a different reason: its attempts at economic resuscitation.
To reflate Japan and reform it, Shinzo Abe, prime minister since December 2012, proposed the three “arrows” of what has become known as Abenomics: monetary stimulus, fiscal “flexibility” and structural reform. The first arrow would mobilise Japan’s productive powers and the third would expand them, allowing the second arrow to hit an ambitious fiscal target. The prevailing view is that none has hit home. Headline inflation was negative in the year to May. Japan’s public debt looks as bad as ever. In areas such as labour-market reform, nowhere near enough has been done. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Anders als die deutsche, hat die japanische Regierung unter Premierminister Shinzo Abe begriffen, dass es keinen Wohlstand ohne öffentliche Investitionen gibt. Noch erstaunlicher: Man begreift auch, dass die Investitionen des Staates nicht vom absoluten Stand der staatlichen Schulden abhängig gemacht werden dürfen. Woher kommt die kollektive Begriffsstutzigkeit in Deutschland und Europa?
Der japanische Premierminister Shinzo Abe ist seit Beginn seiner Amtszeit dadurch aufgefallen, dass er sich nicht scheute, herrschende ökonomische Dogmen über den Haufen zu werfen (wir haben das unter anderem hier ausführlich erläutert). Man hat folglich eine ganze volkswirtschaftliche Ausrichtung nach ihm benannt: Abenomics. Das war im Prinzip ein sehr erfolgversprechender Ansatz, aber auch er ist letztlich nicht erfolgreich gewesen, weil es Shinzo Abe nicht gelungen ist, die Lohndeflation in seinem Land zu durchbrechen.
Nun schickt sich Herr Abe erneut an, der Welt zu zeigen, dass sein Land nicht wie Europa darauf warten wird bis ein Aufschwung vom Himmel fällt, sondern dass der Staat auch dann agieren kann, wenn der Schuldenstand so hoch ist wie derzeit in Japan, nämlich etwa 250 Prozent des BIP. Man bedenke: In Europa werden Länder offiziell dafür bestraft, dass sie in einer tiefen Rezession bei wesentlich höherer Arbeitslosigkeit als in Japan nicht mit Gewalt versuchen, den Schuldenstand auf 60 Prozent des BIP zu bringen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
The great fiscal fair of 2016 has begun. The world’s governments are seizing on the flimsy excuse of Brexit to prime pump their economies, hoping to stretch the ageing global cycle for a little longer.
Japan’s Shinzo Abe has kicked off the first round with a „shock and awe“ fiscal package ostensibly worth $270bn, though the South Koreans nipped ahead of him with a $17bn raft of measures.
Britain cannot be far behind as Philip Hammond prepares his first post-austerity Budget this autumn, while France’s Francois Hollande and Italy’s Matteo Renzi have seized on Brexit to run a coach and horses through the eurozone’s fiscal rules. Brexit is manna from heaven.
Brussels hardly dares to raise a squeak, knowing that revolutionaries – the Front National and Beppe Grillo’s Five Star movement – are knocking at the doors of power. Fiscal austerity is over in Europe. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted on July 25, 2016 by Ellen Brown, Web of Debt Blog
Fifteen years after embarking on its largely ineffective quantitative easing program, Japan appears poised to try the form recommended by Ben Bernanke in his notorious “helicopter money” speech in 2002. The Japanese test case could finally resolve a longstanding dispute between monetarists and money reformers over the economic effects of government-issued money.
When then-Fed Governor Ben Bernanke gave his famous helicopter money speech to the Japanese in 2002, he was talking about something quite different from the quantitative easing they actually got and other central banks later mimicked. Quoting Milton Friedman, he said the government could reverse a deflation simply by printing money and dropping it from helicopters. A gift of free money with no strings attached, it would find its way into the real economy and trigger the demand needed to power productivity and employment.
What the world got instead was a form of QE in which new money is swapped for assets in the reserve accounts of banks, leaving liquidity trapped on bank balance sheets. Whether manipulating bank reserves can affect the circulating money supply at all is controversial. But if it can, it is only by triggering new borrowing. And today, according to Richard Koo, chief economist at the Nomura Research Institute, individuals and businesses are paying down debt rather than taking out new loans.They are doing this although credit is very “accommodative” (cheap), because they need to rectify their debt-ridden balance sheets in order to stay afloat. Koo calls it a “balance sheet recession.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Source: The Economist
Subject: The impact on jobs: Automation and anxiety
SITTING IN AN office in San Francisco, Igor Barani calls up some medical scans on his screen. He is the chief executive of Enlitic, one of a host of startups applying deep learning to medicine, starting with the analysis of images such as X-rays and CT scans. It is an obvious use of the technology. Deep learning is renowned for its superhuman prowess at certain forms of image recognition; there are large sets of labelled training data to crunch; and there is tremendous potential to make health care more accurate and efficient.
Dr Barani points to some CT scans of a patient’s lungs, taken from three different angles. Red blobs flicker on the screen as Enlitic’s deep-learning system examines and compares them to see if they are blood vessels, harmless imaging artefacts or malignant lung nodules. The system ends up highlighting a particular feature for further investigation. In a test against three expert human radiologists working together, Enlitic’s system was 50% better at classifying malignant tumoursand had a false-negative rate (where a cancer is missed) of zero, compared with 7% for the humans. Another of Enlitic’s systems, which examines X-rays to detect wrist fractures, also handily outperformed human experts. The firm’s technology is currently being tested in 40 clinics across Australia. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
If boats were on land, churches on sea
If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse
If the mamas sold their babies
To the Gypsies for half a crown
If summer were spring
And the other way ‘round
Then all the world would be upside down!
– 17th century English children’s song
“There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen.”
– Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin
“For someone will say, ‘His [Paul’s] letters are severe and forceful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.’”
Adair Turner, a former chairman of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority and former member of the UK’s Financial Policy Committee, is Chairman of the Institute for New Economic Thinking. His latest book is Between Debt and the Devil.
JUN 10, 2016, Project Syndicate
SINGAPORE – At the end of 2015, Greece’s public debt was 176% of GDP, while Japan’s debt ratio was 248%. Neither government will ever repay all they owe. Write-offs and monetization are inevitable, putting both countries in a sort of global vanguard. With total public and private debt worldwide at 215% of world GDP and rising, the tools on which Greece and Japan depend will almost certainly be applied elsewhere as well.
Since 2010, official discussion of Greek debt has moved fitfully from fantasy to gradually dawning reality. The rescue program for Greece launched that year assumed that a falling debt ratio could be achieved without any private debt write-offs. After a huge restructuring of privately held debt in 2011, the ratio was forecast to reach 124% by 2020, a target the International Monetary Fund believed could be achieved, “but not with high probability.” Today, the IMF believes that a debt ratio of 173% is possible by 2020, but only if Greece’s official European creditors grant significant further debt relief. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
U.S. household borrowing nears precrisis peaks; global debt has already topped 2008 levels
Student loans in the U.S. now account for 10% of household debt, double the level in 2008.
If current trends persist through the end of the year, U.S. households will owe as much as they did at the peak of borrowing in 2008.
Global debt has already topped 2008 levels and keeps rising. That’s pretty astonishing so soon after debt-driven crises in the U.S. and Europe and endless worries about too much borrowing in Japan, China and emerging markets.
But for all the hand-wringing, a near-term debt crisis is unlikely. Lower interest rates mean debt payments are far lower than they were before the crisis. In the U.S., household debt compared with the overall economy is way down. And overseas, loans can easily be rolled over. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research, chaired President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984. In 2006, he was appointed to President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and, in 2009, was appointed to President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Currently, he is on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Group of 30, a non-profit, international body that seeks greater understanding of global economic issues.
MAY 23, 2016, Project Syndicate
CAMBRIDGE – On May 26-27, the heads of the Group of Seven leading industrial countries will gather in Japan to discuss common security and economic problems. A major common problem that deserves their attention is the unsustainable increase in the major developed countries’ national debt. Failure to address the explosion of government borrowing will have adverse effects on the global economy and on debt-burdened countries themselves.
The problem is bad and getting worse almost everywhere. In the United States, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal government debt doubled over the past decade, from 36% of GDP to 74% of GDP. It also predicts that, under favorable economic assumptions and with no new programs to increase spending or reduce revenue, the debt ratio ten years from now will be 86% of GDP. Even more worrying, the annual deficit ratio will double in the next decade to 4.9% of GDP, putting the debt on track to exceed 100% of GDP. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Source: The Wall Street Journal By GREG IP
Obama administration wants Berlin to borrow more, but the real problem is Germany’s private sector, not its public sector
Germany’s private employers have been slow to raise wages since labor rules were made more flexible in the early 2000s, a dynamic that has kept a lid on demand.
The U.S. Treasury Department recently unveiled a new watch list of potential currency manipulators. That China and Japan were featured was hardly a surprise; both have used weaker currencies to help exports, and both are notoriously unfriendly to imports.
Germany’s inclusion is, by contrast, perplexing. It can’t manipulate its currency since it doesn’t have one, having outsourced that to the European Central Bank. It can’t discriminate against imports because trade policy is the European Union’s job.
Like the others, it does have a big surplus on its current account, the balance on all trade and income with the rest of the world. At nearly $300 billion last year, or 8.5% of gross domestic product, it ties with China’s as the world’s largest. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »