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Central Bank Summers Summers I
Central Bank/Inflation targeting/interest rates/secular stagnation/Summers/Stansbury: Conventional policy discussions are rooted in the (by now old) New Keynesian tradition of viewing macroeconomic problems as a reflection of frictions that slow convergence to a classical market-clearing equilibrium. The idea is that the combination of low inflation, a declining neutral real interest rate, and an effective lower bound on nominal interest rates may preclude the restoration of full employment. According to this view, anything that can be done to reduce real interest rates is constructive, and with sufficient interest-rate flexibility, secular stagnation can be overcome. With the immediate problem being excessive real rates, looking first to central banks and monetary policies for a solution is natural. The near-universal tendency among central bankers has been to interpret the coincidence of very low real interest rates and nonaccelerating inflation as evidence that the neutral real interest rate has declined and to use conventional monetary policy frameworks with an altered neutral real rate. The share of interest-sensitive durable-goods sectors in GDP has decreased. The importance of target saving effects has grown as interest rates have fallen, while the negative effect of reductions in interest rates on disposable income has increased as government debts have risen. Declining interest rates in the current environment undermine financial intermediaries’ capital position and hence their lending capacity.
To take the most ominous case first, with interest-rate reductions having both positive and negative effects on demand, it may be that there is no real interest rate consistent with full resource utilization. Even if interest-rate cuts at all points proximately increase demand, there are substantial grounds for concern if this effect is weak.
From a macro perspective, low interest rates promote leverage and asset bubbles by reducing borrowing costs and discount factors, and encouraging investors to reach for yield. Almost every account of the 2008 financial crisis assigns at least some role to the consequences of the very low interest rates that prevailed in the early 2000s. From a micro perspective, low rates undermine financial intermediaries’ health by reducing their profitability, impede the efficient allocation of capital by enabling even the weakest firms to meet debt-service obligations, and may also inhibit competition by favoring incumbent firms.
These considerations suggest that reducing interest rates may not be merely insufficient, but actually counterproductive, as a response to secular stagnation. (…) the role of particular frictions and rigidities in underpinning economic fluctuations should be de-emphasized relative to a more fundamental lack of aggregate demand. If reducing rates will be insufficient or counterproductive, central bankers’ ingenuity in loosening monetary policy in an environment of secular stagnation is exactly what is not needed. What is needed are admissions of impotence, in order to spur efforts by governments to promote demand through fiscal policies and other means. ((s) For interest policy see also >Neo-Fisher Effect/Uribe.)


Summers, Lawrence H. & Anna Stansbury: Whither Central Banking?, in: Project Syndicate (23/08/19), URL: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/central-bankers-in-jackson-hole-should-admit-impotence-by-lawrence-h-summers-and-anna-stansbury-2-2019-08




Counter arguments against Summers and Stansbury:

Taylor III
Inflation targeting/interest rates/central banking/wages/economics/TaylorVsSummers/TaylorVsStansbury/Lance Taylor: Regarding inflation, both central banks and [Summers and Stansbury] ignore the facts that inflation is a cumulative process driven by conflicting claims to income and wealth and that for the past five decades profits have captured almost all the claims. Consider the real “product wage,” the nominal or money wage divided by a producer price index (PPI) to correct for cost inflation confronting business. Suppose that there is an initial inflation equilibrium (…). The [Summers and Stansbury] proposal to use fiscal policy to stimulate aggregate demand would shift the inflation locus upward (…) with more rapid inflation and a somewhat lower wage share in macro equilibrium (…) along the stable share schedule. In light of the vanishing NAIRU [Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment] over the past two decades, it is not clear how strong this upward shift could be. >Inflation targeting/Taylor.


Taylor, Lance: Central Bankers, Inflation, and the Next Recession, in: Institute for New Economic Thinking (03/09/19), URL: http://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/central-bankers-inflation-and-the-next-recession

Summers I
Lawrence H. Summers
Anna Stansbury
Whither Central Banking?, in: Project Syndicate (23/08/19), URL: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/central-bankers-in-jackson-hole-should-admit-impotence-by-lawrence-h-summers-and-anna-stansbury-2-2019-08 23.08. 2019

Inflation Targeting Summers Summers I
Inflation targeting//interest rates/secular stagnation/Central Bank/Summers/Stansbury: Conventional policy discussions are rooted in the (by now old) New Keynesian tradition of viewing macroeconomic problems as a reflection of frictions that slow convergence to a classical market-clearing equilibrium. The idea is that the combination of low inflation, a declining neutral real interest rate, and an effective lower bound on nominal interest rates may preclude the restoration of full employment. According to this view, anything that can be done to reduce real interest rates is constructive, and with sufficient interest-rate flexibility, secular stagnation can be overcome. With the immediate problem being excessive real rates, looking first to central banks and monetary policies for a solution is natural. The near-universal tendency among central bankers has been to interpret the coincidence of very low real interest rates and nonaccelerating inflation as evidence that the neutral real interest rate has declined and to use conventional monetary policy frameworks with an altered neutral real rate. The share of interest-sensitive durable-goods sectors in GDP has decreased. The importance of target saving effects has grown as interest rates have fallen, while the negative effect of reductions in interest rates on disposable income has increased as government debts have risen. Declining interest rates in the current environment undermine financial intermediaries’ capital position and hence their lending capacity.
To take the most ominous case first, with interest-rate reductions having both positive and negative effects on demand, it may be that there is no real interest rate consistent with full resource utilization. Even if interest-rate cuts at all points proximately increase demand, there are substantial grounds for concern if this effect is weak.
From a macro perspective, low interest rates promote leverage and asset bubbles by reducing borrowing costs and discount factors, and encouraging investors to reach for yield. Almost every account of the 2008 financial crisis assigns at least some role to the consequences of the very low interest rates that prevailed in the early 2000s. From a micro perspective, low rates undermine financial intermediaries’ health by reducing their profitability, impede the efficient allocation of capital by enabling even the weakest firms to meet debt-service obligations, and may also inhibit competition by favoring incumbent firms.
These considerations suggest that reducing interest rates may not be merely insufficient, but actually counterproductive, as a response to secular stagnation. (…) the role of particular frictions and rigidities in underpinning economic fluctuations should be de-emphasized relative to a more fundamental lack of aggregate demand. If reducing rates will be insufficient or counterproductive, central bankers’ ingenuity in loosening monetary policy in an environment of secular stagnation is exactly what is not needed. What is needed are admissions of impotence, in order to spur efforts by governments to promote demand through fiscal policies and other means.


Summers, Lawrence H. & Anna Stansbury: Whither Central Banking?, in: Project Syndicate (23/08/19), URL: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/central-bankers-in-jackson-hole-should-admit-impotence-by-lawrence-h-summers-and-anna-stansbury-2-2019-08




Counter arguments against Summers and Stansbury:

Taylor III
Inflation targeting/interest rates/central banking/wages/economics/TaylorVsSummers/TaylorVsStansbury/Lance Taylor: Regarding inflation, both central banks and [Summers and Stansbury] ignore the facts that inflation is a cumulative process driven by conflicting claims to income and wealth and that for the past five decades profits have captured almost all the claims. Consider the real “product wage,” the nominal or money wage divided by a producer price index (PPI) to correct for cost inflation confronting business. Suppose that there is an initial inflation equilibrium (…). The [Summers and Stansbury] proposal to use fiscal policy to stimulate aggregate demand would shift the inflation locus upward (…) with more rapid inflation and a somewhat lower wage share in macro equilibrium (…) along the stable share schedule. In light of the vanishing NAIRU [Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment] over the past two decades, it is not clear how strong this upward shift could be. >Inflation targeting/Taylor.


Taylor, Lance: Central Bankers, Inflation, and the Next Recession, in: Institute for New Economic Thinking (03/09/19), URL: http://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/central-bankers-inflation-and-the-next-recession

Summers I
Lawrence H. Summers
Anna Stansbury
Whither Central Banking?, in: Project Syndicate (23/08/19), URL: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/central-bankers-in-jackson-hole-should-admit-impotence-by-lawrence-h-summers-and-anna-stansbury-2-2019-08 23.08. 2019

Interest Rates Summers Summers I
Interest rates/Inflation targeting/secular stagnation/central bank/Summers/Stansbury: Conventional policy discussions are rooted in the (by now old) New Keynesian tradition of viewing macroeconomic problems as a reflection of frictions that slow convergence to a classical market-clearing equilibrium. The idea is that the combination of low inflation, a declining neutral real interest rate, and an effective lower bound on nominal interest rates may preclude the restoration of full employment. According to this view, anything that can be done to reduce real interest rates is constructive, and with sufficient interest-rate flexibility, secular stagnation can be overcome. With the immediate problem being excessive real rates, looking first to central banks and monetary policies for a solution is natural. The near-universal tendency among central bankers has been to interpret the coincidence of very low real interest rates and nonaccelerating inflation as evidence that the neutral real interest rate has declined and to use conventional monetary policy frameworks with an altered neutral real rate. The share of interest-sensitive durable-goods sectors in GDP has decreased. The importance of target saving effects has grown as interest rates have fallen, while the negative effect of reductions in interest rates on disposable income has increased as government debts have risen. Declining interest rates in the current environment undermine financial intermediaries’ capital position and hence their lending capacity.
To take the most ominous case first, with interest-rate reductions having both positive and negative effects on demand, it may be that there is no real interest rate consistent with full resource utilization. Even if interest-rate cuts at all points proximately increase demand, there are substantial grounds for concern if this effect is weak.
From a macro perspective, low interest rates promote leverage and asset bubbles by reducing borrowing costs and discount factors, and encouraging investors to reach for yield. Almost every account of the 2008 financial crisis assigns at least some role to the consequences of the very low interest rates that prevailed in the early 2000s. From a micro perspective, low rates undermine financial intermediaries’ health by reducing their profitability, impede the efficient allocation of capital by enabling even the weakest firms to meet debt-service obligations, and may also inhibit competition by favoring incumbent firms.
These considerations suggest that reducing interest rates may not be merely insufficient, but actually counterproductive, as a response to secular stagnation. (…) the role of particular frictions and rigidities in underpinning economic fluctuations should be de-emphasized relative to a more fundamental lack of aggregate demand. If reducing rates will be insufficient or counterproductive, central bankers’ ingenuity in loosening monetary policy in an environment of secular stagnation is exactly what is not needed. What is needed are admissions of impotence, in order to spur efforts by governments to promote demand through fiscal policies and other means. ((s) For interest policy see also >Neo-Fisher Effect/Uribe.)


Summers, Lawrence H. & Anna Stansbury: Whither Central Banking?, in: Project Syndicate (23/08/19), URL: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/central-bankers-in-jackson-hole-should-admit-impotence-by-lawrence-h-summers-and-anna-stansbury-2-2019-08




Counter arguments against Summers and Stansbury:

Taylor III
Inflation targeting/interest rates/central banking/wages/economics/TaylorVsSummers/TaylorVsStansbury/Lance Taylor: Regarding inflation, both central banks and [Summers and Stansbury] ignore the facts that inflation is a cumulative process driven by conflicting claims to income and wealth and that for the past five decades profits have captured almost all the claims. Consider the real “product wage,” the nominal or money wage divided by a producer price index (PPI) to correct for cost inflation confronting business. Suppose that there is an initial inflation equilibrium (…). The [Summers and Stansbury] proposal to use fiscal policy to stimulate aggregate demand would shift the inflation locus upward (…) with more rapid inflation and a somewhat lower wage share in macro equilibrium (…) along the stable share schedule. In light of the vanishing NAIRU [Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment] over the past two decades, it is not clear how strong this upward shift could be. >Inflation targeting/Taylor.


Taylor, Lance: Central Bankers, Inflation, and the Next Recession, in: Institute for New Economic Thinking (03/09/19), URL: http://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/central-bankers-inflation-and-the-next-recession

Summers I
Lawrence H. Summers
Anna Stansbury
Whither Central Banking?, in: Project Syndicate (23/08/19), URL: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/central-bankers-in-jackson-hole-should-admit-impotence-by-lawrence-h-summers-and-anna-stansbury-2-2019-08 23.08. 2019

Interest Rates Taylor Taylor III
Inflation targeting/interest rates/central banking/Wages/Economics/TaylorVsSummers/TaylorVsStansbury/Lance Taylor: Regarding inflation, both central banks and [Summers and Stansbury] ignore the facts that inflation is a cumulative process driven by conflicting claims to income and wealth and that for the past five decades profits have captured almost all the claims. >Inflation targeting/Summers. Consider the real “product wage,” the nominal or money wage divided by a producer price index (PPI) to correct for cost inflation confronting business. A little algebra (…) shows that the labor or wage share of output, which equals real “unit labor cost,” is equal to the real wage divided by productivity or the output/labor ratio. The profit share equals one minus the wage share. (…) the profit share and growth rates of real wages and productivity have varied over time (…). The growth rate of nominal unit labor cost is the difference between rates of wage and productivity growth. As with the other labor market indicators, cost growth slowed after 2000.
To unravel the dynamics, we need a theory of inflation. Around the turn of the 20th century the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell pointed out that inflation is a “cumulative process” involving feedback between price and wage inflation rates. Even after their long decline [it] shows that labor payments still make up 55% of production costs and have to enter inflation accounting.
The “real balance effect” (or the “inflation tax” in a dynamic version) says that a jump in the price level will reduce the real value of assets with prices fixed in nominal terms – money is the usual example. Wealth is eroded and households are supposed to save more as a consequence. Along with a wage lag, the real balance effect is the key adjustment mechanism in Milton Friedman’s (1968) “inflation” model which still underlies contemporary monetary policy. “Forced saving” happens when a price jump against a constant money wage reduces real payments to wage-earners. If their capacity to borrow is limited, they have to cut consumption, sliding the demand curve downward. If an expansionary package does drive up the price level, middle class and low income households who rely on wages would be the ones to suffer.
Conflict arises because price increases are controlled by business while the money wage is subject to bargaining between business and labor. Both sides seek to manipulate the labor share as a key distributional indicator. In an overall inflationary environment, business can respond immediately to increases in the wage share or output by pushing up the rate of price increase in Phillips curve fashion along the “Inflation” schedule (…). Money wages on the other hand are not immediately indexed to price inflation so that they will follow with a lag. Labor will push for faster wage inflation when the wage share is low.
Suppose that there is an initial inflation equilibrium (…). The [Summers and Stansbury] proposal to use fiscal policy to stimulate aggregate demand would shift the inflation locus upward (…) with more rapid inflation and a somewhat lower wage share in macro equilibrium (…) along the stable share schedule. In light of the vanishing NAIRU [Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment] over the past two decades, it is not clear how strong this upward shift could be.
The way that expansionary policy could pay off in terms of inequality and (possibly) faster inflation would be though an upward movement in the stable share schedule if the labor market tightens, leading to greater bargaining power for labor.
The new Keynesian inventors are now the ruling elders of macroeconomics, unlikely to change their minds. (…) [Summers and Stansbury] might remember with Max Planck that science advances one funeral at a time. They are certainly correct in saying that “the role of particular frictions and rigidities in underpinning economic fluctuations should be de-emphasized relative to a more fundamental lack of aggregate demand.”
(…) many of the correct observations that [Summers and Stansbury] make about the likely ineffectiveness of interest rate changes were raised almost 90 years ago by Keynes’s colleague Piero Sraffa (1932a (1), 1932b (2)) in a controversy with Friedrich von Hayek. Sraffa’s main emphasis was on the inapplicability of a “natural rate” of interest, a point amplified by Keynes in the General Theory.
The natural rate, nevertheless, remains a topic of great interest to left-leaning new Keynesians. How they reconcile that idea with the fiscalist Keynesian perspective adoped by [Summers and Stansbury] remains to be seen. >Central banking/Summers.


1. Sraffa, Piero (1932a) “Dr. Hayek on Money and Capital,” Economic Journal, 42: 42-53.
2. Sraffa, Piero (1932b) “Money and Capital: A Rejoinder,” Economic Journal, 42: 249-25.



Taylor, Lance: Central Bankers, Inflation, and the Next Recession, in: Institute for New Economic Thinking (03/09/19), URL: http://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/central-bankers-inflation-and-the-next-recession

EconTayl I
John Brian Taylor
Discretion Versus Policy Rules in Practice 1993

Taylor III
Lance Taylor
Central Bankers, Inflation, and the Next Recession, in: Institute for New Economic Thinking (03/09/19), URL: http://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/central-bankers-inflation-and-the-next-recession 9/3/2019

TaylorB II
Barry Taylor
"States of Affairs"
In
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell Oxford 1976

TaylorCh I
Charles Taylor
The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity Cambridge 2016