Thursday, October 09, 2008

A question

What would have happened if the UK had not followed suit with monetary inflation over the past 5 or 6 years?

Would prudence have been rewarded, or would a Protestant adherence to the right course of action have been punished by falling exports and unemployment? In a global trading system, when one major player makes a mess of their money, must others do the same or be sorry?

Can the world be run on the principles of the efficient-market purists, or is there an advantage to the first to break ranks? Are monetarists doomed to merely understand what is going on, incapable of preventing it?


I'm Not POTUS said...

Let me put it to you this way.
Communism is based on the false premise that people can share.

Capitalism is based on the false premise that people are honest.

Sackerson said...

Hi, INP: we're b*ggered, then?

sobers said...

Interesting proposition. What would have happened if post 2002 we had not reduced rates to counter the Dotcom crash, and in fact increased them, and tightened up on credit lending requirements?

The economy would have slowed, inflation could have gone negative as the China Effect was still in full swing. Company profits, especially the financial sector, would have suffered relative to their overseas peers. The city of London would not have produced such large tax revenues, meaning the labour govt would have had to either raise taxes on the general population, or rein in their spending plans. House prices would not have reached the stratospheric levels of 2007.

One minor problem - if the economy had underperformed relative to its peers, we would be in no better position fiscally than now, assuming New Labour spent to whatever was the level of taxation possible. We would only be in a good position if we had resisted the calls to spend growing tax revenues as the economy grew, and paid down debt instead.

Otherwise I can't see much downside. Our financial sector would be in good health, well placed to take advantage of the downfalls of its competitors. Deposits would be flowing to the UK as a safe haven. In fact the only negative I see is that Gordon Brown would probably be re-elected in 2010.......a price worth paying?

Old Prof said...

I think that Britain would have lost even more. When the money supply was inflated by the financial industry, they then had the cash to buy actual producers, plus were making profits far larger than them.

Sackerson said...

Sobers, Prof: between you you explain why I'm confused!

Old Prof said...

I am not an economics expert, just a scientist. However, if you are the one printing the money, and keep 10-25% of it for yourself each year, eventually, you can 'buy' everything.

Sackerson said...

... Provided people accept your money, and don't get vengeful (e.g. start demanding large payments in the form of your productive assets, in exchange for providing you with energy and food).