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In any case, you continue to not address the issue of why the periphery should accept depression conditions rather than the core accepting some inflation.

I'm not arguing for any of those solutions, as I see both as unacceptable. I want to see widespread sovereign defaults, bank recapitalizations and the emergency funds of the ESFS spent on infrastructure spending in the periphery as a way of offsetting austerity.

Investing German surpluses outside the Eurozone does nothing to address the intra-Eurozone imbalances, by the way. And buying existing shares just inflates asset prices, it doesn't improve the capital base of the periphery (or of the EU as a whole) and so doesn't really constitute "surplus recycling".

The important point here is not improving capital bases as such, but of financing CA deficits without debt to buy enough time to restore competitivness.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 08:48:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And where is competitiveness to come from if not via improvements of the capital base? Bangladeshi wage levels?
by generic on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 09:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better productivity is not exclusively about higher capital content in the production. There are always smarter and more efficient ways to do things, and companies constantly look for them. It's a never-ending quest.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 09:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better productivity is not exclusively about higher capital content in the production.

But overwhelmingly it is.

There are always smarter and more efficient ways to do things,

But finding them requires an industrial base from which to learn.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 09:55:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The entire set-up of the Soviet economy proves the opposite. No matter how many tractors, coal mines or capital-intensive megaprojects you had, the inherent inefficiency of the planned economy wrecked productivity entirely.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 10:10:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You need balance.

The whole unfettered free-market thing doesn't seem to work too well either.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 10:12:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Productivity defined how?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 10:14:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The entire set-up of the Soviet economy proves the opposite. No matter how many tractors, coal mines or capital-intensive megaprojects you had, the inherent inefficiency of the planned economy wrecked productivity entirely.

That's not actually true. The Soviet economy performed more or less as a Solow model of capital accumulation would predict. When you calibrate your model to the whole world, the Soviet Union overperforms during the interbellum (usually ascribed to the Soviet Union being part of an international trade system that was shielded from the Depression) and slightly underperforms during the postwar period (usually ascribed to Russia being part of a smallish international trade system - larger international trade systems tend to perform better, which is why you have international trade systems in the first place).

But Russia was a third-world country in 1918. And Germany, well, wasn't.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 10:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Soviet interbellum period was one that fitted especially well to planned economy, as the efforts were more or less entirely focused on mining coal and iron, to make steel to make tanks. It wasn't very complex at all, and so planning worked. As did planning in all countries during wartime. However, the postwar era showed that it was a useless system for producing things people actually wanted: consumer goods.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 10:50:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, the underperformance in the postwar period, relative to a naive Solow model, is very modest. Certainly less than two sigma. The gap between the Soviet Union and Western Europe is largely if not totally explained by their relative starting positions. And any residual is largely or wholly explained by the the Soviet Union being in the smaller trade bloc, and the trade bloc that started out poorer.

The Soviet political system just isn't visible in the gross GDP and growth data.

Of course, having a police state and fighting unprofitable colonial wars in Central Asia tends to divert industrial output from consumer goods into military hardware and man-hours from industry into the army and political police. A point the Americans may want to keep in mind.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 10:59:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That just doesn't make any sense when you look at the stagnation of Soviet GDP after say the 60's. Nor does it mesh with the massive anecdotal evidence you have from the Soviet union. The waiting in lines for everything, the lack of consumer products, the low quality of what products there were, the squalor and lack of housing with many families living in the same apartments, the poor Polish visiting basketball players who (after having roundly beaten their Swedish opponents, and not caring much) spent all their time stealing toilet paper from the arena bathrooms to bring home... :p

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 11:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how much different is that from, say, Egypt today?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 11:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering many people in Russia consider that those were the good times - better times than today, anyway - it's not clear that the anecdotal evidence supports your point.

Besides, the ability to make and distribute consumer goods isn't in itself a particularly useful measure of the health or value of an economy.

We don't actually have a useful model of what a healthy economy does look like. Mid-century social democracy probably comes closest, but the - apparently - inevitable slide into economic dictatorship by the non-proletariat has to be considered a bit of a flaw.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 11:20:42 AM EST
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Of course I'm coloured by the Scandinavian perspective, but from that perspective, things have never been better.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 11:28:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't the Swedish economy in CA plus due to trade with Germany?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 15th, 2011 at 02:55:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say Sweden has a CA deficit with Germany.

Exports (2010)--SEK 728.2 billion (U.S. $102.9 billion). Imports (2010)--SEK 687.6 billion (U.S. $97.2 billion).

Major trading partners, exports (2010)--Germany 10.1%, Norway 9.9%, U.K. 7.6%, U.S. 7.3%, Denmark 6.5%, Finland 6.2%, France 5.1%, Netherlands 4.7%, Belgium 3.9%, China 3.1%.

Major trading partners, imports (2010)--Germany 18.3%, Norway 8.7%, Denmark 8.5%, Netherlands 6.4%, U.K. 5.7%, Finland 5.2%, Russia 4.9%*, France 4.8%, Belgium 3.9%, China 3.9%.

* This is mainly oil, especially heavy/sour gunk which we process into motor-grade diesel a the refinery in Lysekil.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Dec 15th, 2011 at 04:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been thinking a bit about lines.

Far as I can see lines are a sign of:
1) limitation in access (you don't line for something everyone has in abundance)
and 2) power allocated at the point people are lining to (in the reverse, you have people going door-to-door)
and 3) distribution by stubbornness

Distribution by market forces just changes the last point to distribution by market power. When it comes to capital and resources, distribution by market power can be argued on basis of efficiency. When it comes to consumer goods, unless you assume homo economicus, I see no reason that it is more efficient to distribute from market power then from stubbornness.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 03:57:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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