Saturday, 16 October 2010

Quantitative Easing misses the point

Compared to the drivel that the Keynesian party among the economics tribe perpetrates, the doctrines of the mercantilists must sound like the epitome of logic and rationalism. Who really thinks that helicopter money is the solution to the economic woes the commentators diagnose for the United States? During the quite intense recession of the mid-1970s there was no question of QE, the politicians (and the media) did not panic. Today anything less than growth a l'outrance seems to be simply unacceptable. But is a decline of 5 per cent in someone's annual income (from a level higher than ever seen in human existence) really a disaster calling for extreme (and ultimately futile) measures? What magnifies the real or perceived economic problem faced by the US is rampant militarism and extreme inequality exacerbated by a dysfunctional political system that is hopelessly dominated by special interests and checkbook politics. As more and more parts of the population slide towards the fate of becoming an underclass the urgency of trying anything (apart from sensible economic and political reform) to stem this tide is at least understandable - even if it will ultimately fail.

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