COSAS QUE NOS HAN HECHO PENSAR VI. SEMANA DEL 20-24 DE AGOSTO


Cafetería en París este verano. Foto de  Ignacio Carbó, que sabe lo que me gustan las estanterías llenas de libros.
Esta semana empezamos la recomendación de lecturas con un Working Paper del FMI. Recomendamos a los economistas y los muy interesados en la teoría económica que se tomen un rato para leerlo. Aborda los efectos de los ajustes fiscales en PIB y en deuda. Incluye un buenísimo resumen de la literatura sobre el multiplicador keynesiano y las conclusiones son muy interesantes: mejor un ajuste suave y compensado (entre aumento de impuestos y recorte de gastos) que una consolidación fiscal más rápida y más centrada en recorte de gastos.  Agradecemos a Alfonso García Mora esta recomendación.
Accordingly, frontloading consolidations during a recession seems to aggravate the costs of fiscal adjustment in terms of output loss, while it seems to greatly delay the reduction in the debt-to-GDP ratio—which, in turn, can exacerbate market sentiment in a sovereign at times of low confidence, defying fiscal austerity efforts altogether. Again this is even truer in the case of consolidations based prominently on cuts to public spending. Thus, a gradual fiscal adjustment, with a balanced composition of cuts to expenditure and tax increases boosts the chances that the consolidation will successfully (and rapidly) translate into lower debt-to-GDP ratios. Monetary policy can likely help alleviate further the pain of fiscal withdrawal if it is used proactively via reduction in the real interest rate.

En Successful Austerity in the United States, Europe and Japan por Nicoletta Batini, Giovanni Callegari and Giovanni Melina en IMF Working Paper

By adopting terms such as “good capitalism” to combat the “bad capitalism” of the neo-liberals, social-democrats are exposing themselves to the obvious response, common to both far Left and Centre-Right, that really “there is just capitalism” and adjectives such as “good” and “bad” are irrelevant or misplaced.

Nor has the Obama administration helped matters by shifting the blame for the failure of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations onto India. Outside the US, it is well known that Obama himself pulled the plug on Doha. The notion that “we are open and others are closed,” a cherished belief of US politicians and media – and an article of faith with the current administration – also feeds the notion that countries like India are wicked traders, much like the Japanese in the 1980’s. Much of the world expected more elevated behavior from Obama. Unfortunately, it has gotten a much lower standard than it anticipated.

For the currency union as a whole, however, the Greek tragedy itself is merely a prelude to the real battle to save the euro. If Greece actually did go bankrupt or left the currency union, the main priority for the rest of the bloc would be to use every means possible to prevent a further dissolution of the euro zone — even if these means have some quite problematic aspects.

En The Greek dilemma por Stefan Kaiser en Spiegel.If the Europeans accept that a Greek exit is not in their interest, they should recognise the efforts made and give it a real chance to adjust further and recover within the euro. Obviously they cannot remove the redenomination risk entirely but they can at least make speculation of exit a less-assured bet. Beyond a reasonable extension of the assistance programme, this means giving clear signals that Europe believes in a possible success. One possibility, which is certainly not without difficulty, would be a conditional relief on the debt to official creditors, what the jargon calls official sector involvement. Another one would be to foster public and private equity investment, through debt-equity swaps, investment by international financial institutions (such as what the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has done in eastern Europe), or a revival of the too quickly derided Eureca plan for the pre-privatisation once proposed by Roland Berger, the consulting firm. The key is that private agents can only believe in the revival of Greece if the Europeans themselves invest in it.

En Europe should choose whether it wants Greece in or out por Jean Pisani-Ferry en Bruegel.Soria y Montoro no comprenden nada de lo que está pasando en el Sector Eléctrico y no saben cómo ni por donde empezar una reforma que es imprescindible -esta sí- para aumentar la competitividad de la economía Española. Su ignorancia y su incapacidad les tiene paralizados. Es miedo escénico. Puro pánico ante el poder de las empresas eléctricas agrupadas en UNESA. Mientras tanto, continúa la sangría del Déficit Tarifario para los consumidores y para la solvencia financiera del Estado.

En Contrarreforma en el sector eléctrico en Economistas frente a la crisis. Indeed, Piketty argues that our “obsession with growth” merely “serves as an excuse for not doing anything about health, about education, or about redistribution.” And it is an obsession rooted very much in the present. “We forget that for centuries growth was essentially zero,” he writes. “One percent real growth means doubling the size of your economy every 30 or 35 years.”
En The Heirs of Inequality por Alexander Stille en Proyect Syndicate.

In the short-term, Mr Draghi’s ECB is an active participant in Ponzi austerity. Here is a typical example. In July the ECB deemed that Greek banks are insolvent and that the ECB will, therefore, not accept collateral from them. It directed them to the ELA program which has the Central Bank of Greece provide liquidity to the Greek banks (at a higher interest rate than the ECB would) in the context of the ECB system’s ELA. To facilitate this, the ECB permits the Central Bank of Greece to… treble the amount of euros that its lends the Greek banks and to accept worthless collateral from them in return; collateral that the ECB itself would not touch with a bargepole. In effect, the ECB pretends that it is cutting off the Greek banks when, in reality, it is simply increasing these insolvent banks’ costs of borrowing without limiting the quantity of money that they borrow from the ECB’s broader system. In effect, it is causing, wilfully, the Greek banks to plunge deeper into insolvency.
En What Mr Draghi should be aiming at: Or how to move from Ponzi Austerity to Rational Crisis Management by a stepwise implementation of the Modest Proposal por Yanis Varoufakis.

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