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Jake, I think we basically disagree on the virtues of inflation and devaluation.

Yes, I gathered as much.

What I'm trying to figure out is why.

But structural debt, which is recurrent as is the case in the EZone periphery, cannot be dealt with in that way.

Why not?

Investors (savers or whoever) will invariably factor in a country's propensity to erase debts by inflation/devaluation and make you pay through the nose.

The central bank sets the interest rate of government securities. "Investors" have nothing to do with it, except when the central bank has grievously abdicated its responsibilities for macroeconomic planning.

High inflation invariably has a negative impact on society.

Can you cite a historical example.

And to think that you can control inflation at 8 to 10% is absurd. High inflation invariably tends to spiral out of control

Historical examples, please.

High inflation also encourages high-risk investments, i.e. speculation,

You have speculation when interest rates are high and inflation low. You have speculation when interest rates are low and inflation high. You have speculation when interest rates are low and inflation low. And you have speculation when inflation is high and interest rates high.

Preventing unwanted speculation requires heavy-handed and intrusive regulation of the financial sector. Attempting to prevent it by manipulating macroeconomic variables is like hunting bears by setting the forest on fire.

and discourages stable long term low interest investments need by the manufacturing industries.

The central bank sets the reference rates for borrowing in own currency.

Anyways, leaving aside the thin air of economic theory, the reality of the economic situation is that pumping more money into the periphery would reproduce the causes that led to the crisis in the first place and produce another consumer bubble without building domestic manufacturing industry.

Not if you simultaneously float the currencies involved, no: Under balanced trade (which is what managed floating does for you), consumption drives investment.

If you wish to maintain the fixed exchange rate regime, then of course no action which exclusively targets the deficit countries can resolve the structural cause of the crisis, because the structural cause of the crisis is that surplus countries are running unsustainable current accounts surpluses.

However, a policy of forcing the surplus countries to underwrite the current account deficits of deficit countries would stabilize the system, end the humanitarian catastrophe, and encourage the surplus countries to stop pursuing harmful surplus-generating policies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 05:37:35 PM EST
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