Can monetary policy turn Argentina into Japan?


Monetary policy is as much about politics as it is economics. It affects the ways in which wealth is created, allocated, and retained and it determines the balance of power between providers of capital and users of capital. In January one of my readers kindly passed on to me a link to an interesting reportpublished two years ago by Bain and Company called “A World awash in Money: Capital trends through 2020”. According to the authors:

Our analysis leads us to conclude that for the balance of the decade, markets will generally continue to grapple with an environment of capital superabundance. Even with moderating financial growth in developed markets, the fundamental forces that inflated the global balance sheet since the 1980s—financial innovation, high-speed computing and reliance on leverage—are still in place.

There certainly has been a great deal of liquidity in the two years since the report was published, and I agree with the authors that this is likely to continue over the next several years, and maybe well into the next decade. I disagree with their assessment of the source of this liquidity — what Charles Kindleberger would have probably called the “displacement” (see Note below). I think policies that implicitly or explicitly constrained growth in median household income relative to GDP are more to blame than the changes in the financial system they cite because these plosives tended to force up the savings rate. The financial system changes are much more likely to be consequences rather than causes of abundant liquidity, although there is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that the two come together, and that they are mutually reinforcing…

Can monetary policy turn Argentina into Japan?

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