スティグリッツがヴァニティ・フェアに書いた大恐慌および大不況に関する記事(H/T Mostly EconomicsEconomist’s View)が波紋を呼んでいる。


...the inability of the monetary expansion to counteract this current recession should forever lay to rest the idea that monetary policy was the prime culprit in the 1930s. The problem today, as it was then, is something else.


The underlying cause was a structural change in the real economy: the widespread decline in agricultural prices and incomes, caused by what is ordinarily a “good thing”—greater productivity.


Government spending unintentionally solved the economy’s underlying problem: it completed a necessary structural transformation, moving America, and especially the South, decisively from agriculture to manufacturing. Americans tend to be allergic to terms like “industrial policy,” but that’s what war spending was—a policy that permanently changed the nature of the economy. Massive job creation in the urban sector—in manufacturing—succeeded in moving people out of farming.


Mainstream macro-economists argue that the true bogeyman in a downturn is not falling wages but rigid wages—if only wages were more flexible (that is, lower), downturns would correct themselves! But this wasn’t true during the Depression, and it isn’t true now. On the contrary, lower wages and incomes would simply reduce demand, weakening the economy further.


Two conclusions can be drawn from this brief history. The first is that the economy will not bounce back on its own, at least not in a time frame that matters to ordinary people.


Monetary policy is not going to help us out of this mess. Ben Bernanke has, belatedly, admitted as much. The Fed played an important role in creating the current conditions—by encouraging the bubble that led to unsustainable consumption—but there is now little it can do to mitigate the consequences. I can understand that its members may feel some degree of guilt. But anyone who believes that monetary policy is going to resuscitate the economy will be sorely disappointed. That idea is a distraction, and a dangerous one.

What we need to do instead is embark on a massive investment program—as we did, virtually by accident, 80 years ago—that will increase our productivity for years to come, and will also increase employment now. This public investment, and the resultant restoration in G.D.P., increases the returns to private investment. Public investments could be directed at improving the quality of life and real productivity—unlike the private-sector investments in financial innovations, which turned out to be more akin to financial weapons of mass destruction.


The private sector by itself won’t, and can’t, undertake structural transformation of the magnitude needed—even if the Fed were to keep interest rates at zero for years to come. The only way it will happen is through a government stimulus designed not to preserve the old economy but to focus instead on creating a new one. We have to transition out of manufacturing and into services that people want—into productive activities that increase living standards, not those that increase risk and inequality.


The second conclusion is this: If we expect to maintain any semblance of “normality,” we must fix the financial system. As noted, the implosion of the financial sector may not have been the underlying cause of our current crisis—but it has made it worse, and it’s an obstacle to long-term recovery. Small and medium-size companies, especially new ones, are disproportionately the source of job creation in any economy, and they have been especially hard-hit. What’s needed is to get banks out of the dangerous business of speculating and back into the boring business of lending. But we have not fixed the financial system. Rather, we have poured money into the banks, without restrictions, without conditions, and without a vision of the kind of banking system we want and need. We have, in a phrase, confused ends with means. A banking system is supposed to serve society, not the other way around.








主流派マクロ経済学者は、経済が悪化している時に真に問題となるのは、下落していく賃金ではなく、硬直的な賃金だ、と論じる。賃金がもっと伸縮的ならば(即ちもっと低下すれば)、経済の悪化は自然に食い止められる、というわけだ! しかし大恐慌の時期にそのことは真実ではなかったし、現在においても真実では無い。むしろ逆に、賃金や収入の低下は単に需要を減らし、経済をさらに弱めてしまう。










現在におけるFRBの政策の有効性を否定したということで、当然ながら市場マネタリストは反発している(Nick Roweスコットサムナー邦訳])。また、市場マネタリストでは無いが、ライアン・アベントも批判的である







Is it possible that fiscal policy is really just industrial policy? Could it be that World War 2 ended the Depression not because it represented a sufficiently large Keynesian stimulus, but because it deliberately created new industries and new technologies that formed the basis of a new sustainable pattern of specialization and trade?

という記述が、今回のスティグリッツ第二次世界大戦の解釈と大きく共通していることには驚かされる(ただしそのエントリの「Arnold Kling and Tyler Cowen are generally on board with my characterization, but are skeptical of government's ability to conduct effective industrial policy.」という追記によると、PSSTの生みの親のクリング自身やコーエンは産業政策との関連付けには懐疑的とのことだが、それはPSST理論そのものというよりは彼らのリバタリアン的な立場に由来する懐疑論であろう)。

*1cf. ここ

ぴっちゃんぴっちゃん 2012/01/23 13:33 私はRoweの考えはハナから的外れで話にならないと思っていますが、かといってスティグリッツがニュー・ケインジアンであるとして、ニュー・ケインジアンに特徴的な前提を考慮すると、
What we need to do instead is embark on a massive investment program—as we did, virtually by accident, 80 years ago—that will increase our productivity for years to come