2013年03月01日

中央銀行の大実験 無制限の現金は問題を解決するのか、引き起こすのか


※編集後記にお知らせがあります。

The Great Central-Banking Experiment: Will Unlimited Cash Solve
Problems or Cause Them?
( TIME )

The Bank of Japan folded as easily as a hot slice of New York pizza.
After a few weeks of pounding by newly installed Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe, the BOJ’s (officially independent) managers capitulated
on Jan. 22 to his demands that the central bank hike its inflation
target to 2% (from 1%) and undertake the necessary monetary easing to
meet that target. That means the BOJ will keep printing cash until
Japanese deflation is reversed. “One can say that it marks a
‘regime change’ in managing macroeconomic policy,” a victorious
Abe declared.

A regime change it is, and it isn’t just taking place in Japan. With
the BOJ’s surrender, all three of the world’s major central banks
have committed themselves to open-ended, cash-pumping programs to
stimulate economies and protect financial stability. The Federal
Reserve has pledged to keep easing until the U.S. job market
improves. And in September, the European Central Bank promised to
purchase unlimited amounts of certain government bonds for any
troubled country that signs up to a reform program -- a move ECB
President Mario Draghi took to help quell the euro zone’s debt
crisis. These moves, of course, are on top of the already generous
policies the three banks have implemented since the 2008 Lehman
Brothers collapse.

Whether these experiments in supereasy money are wise or not, well,
that’s another matter. The classical economist in me immediately
hears sirens go off. Money is like any other commodity -- the more of
it there is, the less it is worth. At some point, the deluge of cash
could create a tsunami of inflation. Prices of assets could get
distorted, blowing up more bubbles that can pop and crash economies.

But then again, perhaps my thinking is stuck in an outdated ideology.
Paul Krugman seems to think so. According to a recent column in the
New York Times, I’m one of the Very Serious People, as he calls us,
trapped in a misguided certitude that has held back smart
policymaking in a new economic world. Krugman specifically was
writing about Japan, an economy he knows well, and he was cheering on
Abe’s heavy-spending approach to the country’s problems. The reason
why Japan has been an economic mess for 20 years, Krugman asserts, is
that the government and the BOJ have never gone far enough in pumping
the economy back to health. Abe’s aggressive policies, Krugman
asserts, will finally turn Japan around -- and, in the process,
rewrite the rules of economic policymaking:

Mr. Abe is breaking with a bad orthodoxy. And if he succeeds,
something remarkable may be about to happen: Japan, which pioneered
the economics of stagnation, may also end up showing the rest of us
the way out.


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