Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Central Insight of Macroeconomics: DeLong

Nice article from DeLong today:

"The central insight of macroeconomics is a fact that was known to John Stuart Mill in the first third of the nineteenth century: there can be a large gap between supply and demand for pretty much all currently produced goods and services and types of labor if there is an equally large excess demand for financial assets. And this fundamental fact is a source of big trouble...

The broad pattern is clear: the more that governments have worried about enabling future moral hazard by excessive bailouts and sought to stem the rise in public debt, the worse their countries’ economies have performed. The more that they have focused on policies to put people back to work in the short run, the better their economies have done.

This pattern would not have surprised nineteenth-century economists like Mill or Walter Bagehot, who understood the financial-sector origins of industrial depression. But it does seem to surprise not only a great many observers today, but also a large number of policymakers."

Worth reading the whole thing.


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