In April 2014 I wrote: Stand by for the next UK crash! ETA 2016
I didn’t use my crystal ball which has never proved very reliable, in any case, when it comes to forecasting football scores or racing results. The reasoning was based on the rate of fall in the financial position of the UK private domestic sector. It was obvious, then, that serious private sector debt problems would start to arise in mid to late 2015 if government policies carried on as they were.
Two recent articles by Owen Jones in the Guardian and Nigel Morris in the Independent bear this out. Government policies have indeed been carried on as they were.
There is a very real danger of an economic crash as Owen Jones argues although he doesn’t have quite the right explanation. It’s really not much to do with the need for increased industrial productivity. The productivity of UK and European industry is higher than it has ever been. Yet the economic problems are worse than they have been since the 30’s. Clearly Owen Jones, much as we might admire his political stance, is barking up the wrong tree.
Simply, if the UK wants to run a 5% of GDP deficit in its Current Account Balance of Payments, someone has to fund that by borrowing. Usually it is government which has assumed that role but increasingly the burden is being shifted onto the Private Domestic sector.
It may work in the short term but soon the private sector will be increasingly unable to raise the necessary loans especially if there is a fear of higher interest rates, and a general credit crunch in the economy. The words ‘credit crunch’ started to become a cliche of all 2008 financial commentary just prior to the GFC. We are starting to hear them again on a more regular basis.
It’s not looking good!
The graphical basis of my concern. A modified screen shot from Neil Wilson’s blog “3poken”.
Posted in MMT General
Tagged austerity economics, Balance of trade, Budget Deficit, Central bank, Chartalism, current account deficit, Economic system, European Union, Fiat Currencies, Government budget balance, Government debt, john mcdonnell, Labour Party Economics, MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, National Debt, Post-Keynesian economics, Resources and Money, y
Richard Murphy published an interesting article “On budget surpluses and the economic illiteracy of the Fiscal Charter” yesterday in which he made several important points such as “we need deficits because people want to buy gilts” and “if the government runs a surplus someone else has to run a deficit”.
Absolutely right and well said, Richard! I hope everyone who’s even the slightest bit worried about our deficit and so-called “national debt” reads this very important piece of what will be ‘news’ to them. Maybe John McDonnell has finally seen the light? There’s nothing wrong with a a change of mind when new evidence and new arguments compel that. Intelligent people change their views all the time as more information becomes avaialble.
The question to be resolved, and I must admit I’m not totally clear on the answer, is if we should sell gilts. Is the fact that people want to buy them a good enough reason to sell them? Why can’t we just allow people to put their money on deposit. Offer the a fixed interest rate, say 2%, and tell them “That’s it. Take it or leave it”.
Some would say 2% was way too high. We should pay 0%. So what will happen then? If we discourage people saving, deliberately creating enough inflation to make 0% , or even 2% very unattractive, we’ll theoretically have no deficits at all.
Because Government Deficit = Savings of the Non-Government
Is that what people really want? Is George Osborne aware that what he needs to do to achieve his surplus is create more inflation and stop selling gilts?
Posted in MMT General
Tagged austerity economics, Bank of England, Borrowings and Lendings, British Labour Party, deflation, Fiat Currencies, Government debt, john mcdonnell, Labour Party Economics, MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, National Debt, Post-Keynesian economics, Quantitative Easing, richard murphy, uk economy