SOURCE: Telegraph (UK)
comments powered by Disqus
Jeremy Warner: Not Even the Great Economists of History Can Get Us Out of this Fix
Jeremy Warner is assistant editor of The Daily Telegraph.
Every big financial crisis has its own defining characteristics, but both in origin and consequence, such implosions tend to be remarkably similar. In virtually every case, you first see a long period of excess in financial risk-taking, where credit spirals out of control. This ultimately proves unsustainable, and in the resulting bust the process of credit expansion goes violently into reverse, causing often catastrophic economic damage, from which it will typically take many years to recover. There is no quick bounce back from recessions caused by financial crises.
In one important respect, however, the present maelstrom is unique. Never before have we seen a financial crisis result in such all-encompassing and explosive growth in public indebtedness. This is not a problem exclusive to Britain, nor is the UK even the worst example of it. To a greater or lesser extent, all advanced economies that were directly involved in the financial crisis have suffered the same phenomenon, with public debt climbing to previously unthinkable levels. This might be understandable in the event of a no-holds-barred military conflict, where nations are fighting for their very existence, but for public indebtedness to be approaching such extremes in peacetime is quite without precedent.
Admittedly, there have been a number of occasions over the past two centuries where individual countries have had much higher national debts, relative to GDP, but these have nearly all coincided with major wars, where the simple act of demobilisation alone has been self-correcting, causing public spending to fall and economic growth to come roaring back. That’s not going to happen this time around. To the contrary, low growth, combined with the mounting public spending obligations associated with ageing populations, threatens to make the problem steadily worse...
comments powered by Disqus
- Holocaust Victims Mocked in Ohio State Band Parody Songbook
- Memphis attempt to drop name of Nathan Bedford Forrest runs into state law
- Overlooked: The 25th anniversary of Captive Nations Week
- In confession to historian, George McGovern revealed he had a secret child
- Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism
- U.K. Released Hundreds of Nazis After the Holocaust, Says Leading Historian
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- Historians Against the War gathering signatures for new resolution to AHA on alleged violations of academic freedom in Israel
- Academic Seeks Death Certificate for Outlaw Billy the Kid
- Murderer of historian of Czech Jewry goes on trial