This is the title of an article by Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, NYU, I just read at Project Syndicate.
A must for IB Economics candidates as it presents the problems and policy options available to Governments and Central Banks at these difficult times.
'With a global recession a near certainty, deflation – rather than inflation – will become the main concern for policymakers. The fall in aggregate demand while potential aggregate supply has been rising because of overinvestment by China and other emerging markets will sharply reduce inflation. Slack labor markets with rising unemployment rates will cap wage and labor costs. Further falls in commodity prices – already down 30% from their summer peak – will add to these deflationary pressures.
Policymakers will have to worry about a strange beast called “stag-deflation” (a combination of economic stagnation/recession and deflation); about liquidity traps (when official interest rates become so close to zero that traditional monetary policy loses effectiveness); and about debt deflation (the rise in the real value of nominal debts, increasing the risk of bankruptcy for distressed households, firms, financial institutions, and governments).
With traditional monetary policy becoming less effective, non-traditional policy tools aimed at generating greater liquidity and credit (via quantitative easing and direct central bank purchases of private illiquid assets) will become necessary. And, while traditional fiscal policy (government spending and tax cuts) will be pursued aggressively, non- traditional fiscal policy (expenditures to bail out financial institutions, lenders, and borrowers) will also become increasingly important.
In the process, the role of states and governments in economic activity will be vastly expanded. Traditionally, central banks have been the lenders of last resort, but now they are becoming the lenders of first and only resort. As banks curtail lending to each other, to other financial institutions, and to the corporate sector, central banks are becoming the only lenders around.
Likewise, with household consumption and business investment collapsing, governments will soon become the spenders of first and only resort, stimulating demand and rescuing banks, firms, and households. The long-term consequences of the resulting surge in fiscal deficits are serious. If the deficits are monetized by central banks, inflation will follow the short-term deflationary pressures; if they are financed by debt, the long-term solvency of some governments may be at stake unless medium-term fiscal discipline is restored.'
The full article is here.