31 July 2009

Keen on Rudd: "On the money"

Rudd’s essay shows a stronger appreciation of the causes of this crisis, and the fragility of the economy in its wake, than I’ve yet seen from any other official source (with the sole exception of the Bank of International Settlements, where Bill White’s influence appears to remain, even though he is no longer its Economic Adviser–check this story on Bill and his forlorn attempts to raise the alarm during the Bubble).

Its one weakness is continued reliance upon neoclassical economic models to predict the future course of the economy after this crisis–when those same models ignore the role of private debt (which caused the bubble in the first place) and deleveraging (which will in fact drive the future course of the economy).

We can expect Rudd and Swann to continue with a large scale fiscal stimulus, in the hope that this will end the crisis. The next stage will come when this stimulus fails to achieve the level of growth predicted by neoclassical economic models, and as a result unemployment exceeds forecasts, public debt continues to run up, and deficit reduction strategies get pushed back in time.

So though Rudd is aware of the problem of deleveraging, he hasn’t yet taken developed policies that directly tackle it. But awareness of the problem is a necessary first step in addressing it, and Rudd has taken that first step.


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