perjantai 17. kesäkuuta 2011

Vapaaehtoisia tappioita

Päivän surrealistisin otsikko (FT, paywall):
Germany retreats over deal for Gre - Losses for bondholders will be voluntary

Muuten aiheesta, Micheal Pettisiä kannattaa aina lukea:

...In the debate about the root causes of global imbalances, moralizers love to praise high-savings countries (let us call them all “Germany”) for their hard work and thrift, and deride high-consuming countries (which we will call “Spain”) as lazy and altogether too eager to spend more than they earn. The world cannot possibly rebalance, they argue, until the latter become more like the former.

There is almost nothing of value in this argument. Culture and individual preferences may cause some of us to save more of our income and others to save less, but when entire countries have persistent abnormally high or low savings rates, individual preferences are never the reason. Abnormal savings rates over long periods of time are largely consequences of trade and industrial policies at home and abroad.

In fact, domestic policies by the German government can explain both high German savings and low Spanish savings. For example, assume that Germany has an undervalued currency, low wages for its level of productivity, high consumption and income taxes, and expensive infrastructure funded by these taxes. In that case it is very likely that German GDP growth will exceed the growth in household income, since households are effectively (and usually without their knowledge) forced to subsidize growth. In periods of high unemployment—like that which occurred in Germany after reunification—these policies might make sense for Europe overall, but they cannot remain in place for long without creating economic distortions.

In Finland we call this palkkamaltti.

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