Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Wereldeconomie bedreigd door een 'perfecte storm'

NEW YORK – Donkere, laaghangende financieel-economische wolken lijken vanuit iedere richting aan te komen rollen: de eurozone, de Verenigde Staten, China en elders. De wereldeconomie zou in 2013 wel eens een heel lastige omgeving kunnen zijn om een schuilplaats te vinden.

Om te beginnen wordt de crisis in de eurozone steeds heviger, nu de euro te sterk blijft, de recessie in veel lidstaten wordt verzwaard door de bezuinigingen, en een kredietcrisis in de periferielanden en hoge olieprijzen de vooruitzichten op herstel ondermijnen. Het bankstelsel van de eurozone is een eilandenrijk aan het worden, omdat de grensoverschrijdende en interbancaire kredietlijnen worden doorgesneden en de kapitaalvlucht kan omslaan in een regelrechte run op de banken van de periferielanden, nu Griekenland – naar alle waarschijnlijkheid – over een paar maanden op wanordelijke wijze afscheid zal nemen van de euro.

Bovendien wordt de druk van de begrotingstekorten en de staatsschulden groter, doordat de rente op de staatsobligaties van Spanje en Italië een onhoudbare recordhoogte heeft bereikt. De eurozone heeft misschien niet alleen een internationale steunoperatie voor de banken nodig (zoals onlangs in Spanje), maar ook een volledige reddingsoperatie voor één of meer staten, als de internationale beschermingsconstructies niet langer in staat zijn zowel Spanje als Italië op de been te houden. Als gevolg daarvan blijft een chaotisch uiteenvallen van de eurozone mogelijk.

Verder naar het westen toe nemen de economische prestaties van de Verenigde Staten af. In het eerste kwartaal van dit jaar bedroeg de groei een magere 1,9% – ruim beneden het potentieel. En de banenaanwas in april en mei liet te wensen over, zodat de groei in de VS aan het eind van het jaar wel eens verdwenen zou kunnen zijn. Erger nog, het risico van een W-vormige recessie ('double dip') volgend jaar is toegenomen: zelfs als het omvangrijke Amerikaanse begrotingstekort geen al te negatieve factor zal blijken te zijn, zal de waarschijnlijke verhoging van een aantal belastingen en de reductie van een aantal sociale voorzieningen de groei van het besteedbare inkomen en de consumptie afremmen.

Bovendien ligt het voor de hand dat de politieke patstelling over de bezuinigingen zal blijven bestaan, wie in november ook de presidentsverkiezingen wint: Barack Obama of Mitt Romney. Nieuwe gevechten over het schuldenplafond, het risico van het sluiten van overheidsdiensten en de dreigende afwaardering van de Amerikaanse kredietwaardigheid kunnen het vertrouwen van consumenten en bedrijven verder omlaag drukken, waardoor de bestedingen zullen afnemen en er een vlucht naar veiliger oorden op gang zal komen die de val van de aandelenkoersen kan versterken.

In het oosten is het groeimodel van China onhoudbaar. Het zou in 2013 kunnen instorten, als de inzinking van de investeringen aanhoudt en de hervormingen, die bedoeld zijn om de consumptie aan te jagen, te gering zijn en te laat komen. Een nieuwe generatie Chinese leiders moet de structurele hervormingen versnellen om de nationale besparingen omlaag te brengen en het aandeel van de consumptie in het bruto binnenlands product te verhogen: maar meningsverschillen binnen het leiderschap over het tempo van de hervormingen, naast de waarschijnlijkheid van een schoksgewijs verlopende machtsoverdracht, duiden erop dat die hervormingen niet snel genoeg zullen plaatsvinden.

De economische inzinking in de Verenigde Staten, de eurozone en China trekt al een forse wissel op de groei in andere ontwikkelingslanden, als gevolg van hun relaties – op het gebied van de handel en de financiën – met de Verenigde Staten en de Europese Unie (dwz dat zich geen 'ontkoppeling' heeft voorgedaan). Tegelijkertijd vormt het gebrek aan structurele hervormingen in de ontwikkelingslanden, naast de beweging in de richting van méér staatskapitalisme, een belemmering van de groei, waardoor hun veerkracht zal afnemen.

Tenslotte kunnen de al lang sluimerende spanningen in het Midden-Oosten, tussen Israel en de Verenigde Staten enerzijds en Iran anderzijds, in 2013 een kookpunt bereiken. De huidige onderhandelingen over het nucleaire programma van Iran zullen waarschijnlijk mislukken, en zelfs nóg strengere sancties zullen Iran er wellicht niet van weerhouden te proberen een kernwapen te bouwen. Nu de Verenigde Staten en Israel niet bereid zijn Iran door afschrikking van zijn plannen af te brengen, zou een militaire confrontatie in 2013 kunnen leiden tot een enorme stijging van de olieprijs en een mondiale recessie.

Deze risico's verscherpen de economische inzinking nu al: overal dalen de aandelenkoersen, wat leidt tot negatieve welvaartseffecten op de consumptie en de kapitaaluitgaven. Voor zeer zwaar in de schulden stekende staten stijgen de leenkosten, kleine en middelgrote bedrijven lijden schade door de krappe kredietverlening, en de inkomsten van de exportlanden komen lager uit door de dalende grondstoffenprijzen. De afnemende bereidheid om risico's te nemen maakt dat toonaangevende economische agenten een houding aannemen van 'eerst zien en dan geloven,' die ervoor zorgt dat de inzinking voor een deel een 'zichzelf vervullende voorspelling' is geworden.

Vergeleken met 2008/'09, toen de beleidsmakers nog voldoende ruimte hadden om handelend op te treden, raakt de munitie van de monetaire en fiscale autoriteiten op (of, om het cynischer uit te drukken, zijn er geen konijnen meer om nog uit de hoge hoed te toveren). Het monetair beleid wordt gehinderd doordat de rente nu al bijna op nul staat en doordat er al een paar ronden van kwantitatieve versoepeling zijn geweest. Economieën en markten worden niet langer met liquiditeitsproblemen geconfronteerd, maar met krediet- en solvabiliteitscrises. Intussen hebben de onhoudbare begrotingstekorten en staatsschulden van de meeste geavanceerde economieën de omvang van mogelijke toekomstige stimuleringsmaatregelen aanzienlijk beperkt.

Het gebruik van de wisselkoersen om de netto-export te bevorderen is een spel met alleen maar verliezers, want particuliere en publieke schuldsaneringen drukken de binnenlandse vraag in landen met een tekort op de betalingsbalans, en structurele problemen hebben hetzelfde effect in landen met een overschot op de betalingsbalans. Een zwakkere munt en een betere handelsbalans in het ene land betekenen immers een sterkere munt en een minder goede handelsbalans in het andere land.

Intussen wordt het vermogen om banken en andere financiële instellingen te beschermen en steunen belemmerd door politieke bezwaren en het feit dat bijna-insolvabele staten niet in staat zijn de extra verliezen van hun bankstelsels op te vangen. Als gevolg daarvan verplaatst het risico zich nu van de staten naar de banken. En inderdaad dumpen overheden nu een groter deel van hun staatsschuld op de balansen van particuliere banken, met name in de eurozone.

Om een wanordelijke escalatie van de crisis in de eurozone te voorkomen, zouden de bezuinigingen veel geleidelijker moeten worden geïmplementeerd, zou het nieuwe begrotingspact van de Europese Unie moeten worden aangevuld door een 'groeipact' en zou er een begrotingsunie met gezamenlijk uitgegeven obligaties ('eurobonds') moeten komen. Bovendien zou er een volledige bankenunie moeten worden ingevoerd, te beginnen met een depositogarantie voor de hele eurozone, en zouden stappen naar een grotere mate van politieke integratie moeten worden overwogen, zelfs als Griekenland de eurozone verlaat.

Helaas verzet Duitsland zich tegen al deze belangrijke beleidsmaatregelen, omdat het zich blind staart op het kredietrisico waaraan zijn belastingbetalers zouden worden blootgesteld in geval van een grotere Europese integratie op het gebied van de economieën, begrotingen en banken. Als gevolg daarvan neemt de waarschijnlijkheid van een ramp in de eurozone toe.

En ook al is de wolk die boven de eurozone hangt misschien wel de dreigendste, het is zeker niet de enige die de wereldeconomie bedreigt. Maak de veiligheidsriemen alvast maar vast.

Vertaling: Menno Grootveld

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    1. CommentedLuke Ho-Hyung Lee

      It’s the job-killing machines in the market. Without first replacing these job-killing machines, no matter how powerful and aggressive economic policies or stimulus plans are adopted, they will not be effective. Rather, they bring the likelihood of causing greater ill effects. Please see: “Job-Killing Machines in the Modern Information Age...” http://savingtheworldeconomy.blogspot.com/2012/07/job-killing-machines-in-modern.html?spref=tw

    2. Commenteddonna jorgo

      hello PROF
      i have much intristing about your analysis in global crisis eco-polit
      i read and my mind go to EUZ more specifice to Merkel she have one long objective to make federal europ ...my question is after communist system go down many country USSR ..REP.FEDER YUGOSLLAVE.CHECOSLAVACIA ALL THIS ARE SAPERATE...SO WHY? (i know ) ..
      to have federalisme in EUROPe for the time we are is unaccepteble ..GER have to do one thing CHANGE the politice ..if not will be first go out because she can not (kalipty)all the moneytary problem for EUZ ..and with printe .... without investiment she will go so deep in inflation .. .and will need other way ..after to fix this problem 1929...
      thank you

    3. CommentedRoman Bleifer

      It's too late to talk about the threat of a new wave of crisis in the future date. It has already started, but did not have time to gain traction. But probably in the fall to pick up this power. This scenario was very predictable and was predicted as the most likely in the last year.( http://crisismir.com/analiticheskie-materialy/ekonomika/54-chto-god-gryadushhij-nam-gotovit-prognoz-na-2012-god-i-ne-tolko.html )
      The author listed the problems of the world economy. And though this list is long known to all, even though it can still add, it is enough for that to make conclusions from it. The crisis is not only a global (which is quite natural in the context of globalization), but it also has a systemic nature. It covers all areas of the world economy. Determination of the global financial crisis as a crisis, it is deeply misleading. To deal with the crisis have been used all the known methods of financing. This gave only a reprieve, but did not solve the problems facing the economy. The problems only worsened the crisis spreading to new areas and new economy.
      It makes no sense to encourage emerging economies to structural reforms, while structural reforms will not happen in the world's leading economies. And without major structural reforms, they will cease to be leading.

    4. Commentedavraam dectis

      .

      The euro zone crisis could be over next week to the complete satisfaction of all parties involved. Nobody needs to cede soverignty or implement any fiscal unions.

      All that is needed is a new mechanism that would have the same effect as interstate aid has in the USA.

      So the question is what mechanism would provide the same effect as a bailout yet work within the eurozone constraints.

      Since these are different countries, this mechanism would have to treat all citizens equally. The only mechanism that meets that constraint is Central Bank Dividends.

      A Central Bank Dividend is a stimulus mechanism that compensates the owner of an asset, which in this case, is citizenship.

      If a 20,000 euro dividend were assigned to each euro area citizen, the bailout would be instantaneous and noninflationary.

      Citizens of countries in financial distress would not receive the money. It would be set aside to pay off bonds as they came due. This would instantaneously take the pressure off those countries, since their borrowing costs would drop and their debt service would temporarily approach zero. It would not be inflationary since the money would slowly enter the economies of depressed countries.

      Countries not in debt could give the money to their citizens if they so chose, possible over a period of time to deal with inflation concerns.

      Some will call this monetizing, and it is. But it gets the job done and is noninflationary. It will be a one time event to give the euro area time to restructure.

      Central Bank Dividends are also a much more fair method of stimulus than tax cuts. Tax cuts mostly put money into the hands of the wealthy while CBD treats all citizens on an equal basis.

      If there is a eurozone smashup, the only reason will be a lack of originality amongst the decision makers.

      .

    5. CommentedMark Pitts

      You can't have monetary union without fiscal union, and as Mr. Booth notes, you can't have fiscal union without political union. Germany recognizes this reality. The Latin countries do not.

        CommentedAndrew Purdy

        Germany should exit the EuroZone and allow the Euro to devalue and become a Drachma. To be sure, the Germans will have to bear some costs of exit, but on the benefit side, Germany's external debt would still be denominated in Euros and would be inflated away.

    6. CommentedBrenda Jones

      It would seem that we are headed for that global perfect storm, but if it can't be averted, then what next? It should be obvious to everyone that the world we live in today is interconnected and interdependent, which means that as much as we might not like it, we somehow have to get along. It's either that or a third World War, which could be an outcome of that perfect storm. Unless, we learn to get along. (So our relationships go, so the economies go.)

      Here's the catch, though: Getting along means that what is good for you is good for me, and what is bad for you is bad for me—on a global scale. This is ultimate integration, as in one big global family that cares for each other.

      Our salvation lies in harmony with the law of nature, the law of homeostasis or interconnection of all parts to serve the greater whole, as cells in a body serve to benefit the whole body. Though such good relations on all levels of society, we can build a new model of connection that brings balance, peace, and prosperity to all.


    7. CommentedAndrew Purdy

      I expect Germany to be the first to exit the Eurozone. That will free the remaining members to print Euros to infinity and beyond. The Euro will be devalued by at least 50%, and this will solve the debt problem.

    8. CommentedZsolt Hermann

      The article describes the present situation accurately although as one of the comments suggests we could add some more worrisome points to the picture.
      It is also interesting to see what the comments are saying, although most of them acknowledge the crisis situation, there still seems some hope that through some "miracle", or the cyclical nature of crisis situations we will simply pull through.
      What is against this optimism is that we are not in a usual cyclical crisis situation repeating itself through our history, but we are in a situation we never faced before, thus we have no historical precedent or experience about it.
      We evolved into a closed, global world where each and every individual or nation is dependent on the other, and we are so interconnected that a seemingly small random event at one part of the globe affects the whole network immediately, we can see daily proof of it through the crisis.
      I agree that it is not all gloom and doom, and we are not necessarily entering a catastrophic scenario, but in order to solve our problems we have to leave our present system, thinking and attitude, because all our methods, experience, tricks and cheats are based on our previous, "loose" system, also we calculated our lifestyle on infinite quantitative growth without restrictions of resources, possibility of expansion all which turned out to be false and illusory.
      As Einstein suggested in order to solve the problem we have to leave the framework within which we created the problem, we have to study our new system, its conditions, and based on our examinations we have to create a totally new human system.
      Simply blaming individuals, groups of people, nations, regions, or waiting for cyclical revival or some miracle growth will not help us but will make our future attempts much more difficult.

        CommentedBrenda Jones

        Agree with a lot you said. Blaming could lead to war. Wouldn't we all much prefer some thinking out-of-the-box, to build a new system where instead of exploiting each other, we learn to live in harmony?

    9. CommentedGary Marshall

      Hello Nouriel,

      Here is a solution to the Greek problem. If anyone can find the flaw, I shall be more than happy to give him or her $50,000. I am just tired of doing this. Its not the end of the world, but a new beginning.

      ####

      The costs of borrowing for a nation to fund public expenditures, if it borrows solely from its resident citizens and in the nation's currency, is nil.

      Why? Because if, in adding a financial debt to a community, one adds an equivalent financial asset, the aggregate finances of the community will not in any way be altered. This is simple reasoning confirmed by
      simple arithmetic.

      The community is the source of the government's funds. The government taxes the community to pay for public services provided by the government.

      Cost of public services is $10 million.

      Scenario 1: The government taxes $10 million.

      Community finances: minus $10 million from community bank accounts for government expenditures.
      No community government debt, no community
      government IOU.

      Scenario 2: The government borrows $10 million from solely community lenders at a certain interest rate.

      Community finances: minus $10 million from community bank accounts for government expenditures.
      Community government debt: $10 million;
      Community government bond: $10 million.

      At x years in the future: the asset held by the community (lenders) will be $10 million + y interest. The deferred liability claimed against the community (taxpayers) will be $10 million + y interest.

      The value of all community government debts when combined with all community government IOUs or bonds is zero for the community. It is the same $0 combined worth whether the community pays its taxes immediately or never pays them at all.

      So if a community borrows from its own citizens to fund worthy public expenditures rather than taxes those citizens, it will not alter the aggregate finances of the community or the wealth of the community any
      more than taxation would have. Adding a financial debt and an equivalent financial asset to a community will cause the elimination of both when summed.

      Whatever financial benefit taxation possesses is nullified by the fact that borrowing instead of taxation places no greater financial burden on the community.

      However, the costs of Taxation are immense. By ridding the nation of Taxation and instituting borrowing to fund public expenditures, the nation will shed all those costs of Taxation for the negligible fee of borrowing in the financial markets and the administration of public
      debt.

      Regards,
      Gary Marshall

    10. CommentedPaul A. Myers

      Excellent delineation of the many stress points and lines of fracture in the global world. But I also think that the modern world has many interconnections and shock absorbers and these have not been given sufficient weight by Roubini. That means a most likely course of muddling through probably has a good chance of success.

      Overall, in Europe there is a backlog of losses that has to be distributed and probably will be. Like in the US, this will probably take longer than it should. The politics in both the US and Europe over the next decade is going to be about who eats these losses through reduced standards of living delivered through lower pensions and other public benefits. And what will be the rewards to those who want to do the work that will be the basis for future growth.

      So, I would say a time of reckoning, not a time of catastrophe.

    11. CommentedSimeon Iliev

      Sadly, no mention of peak oil, overpopulation, loss of biodiversity, global warming, pollution, Islamic fundamentalism, Russian mafia state, immense US war budgets, drug money and organized crime. Nor of the current or possible future synergies between all those problems + many others.
      The economy (or 'markets') is NOT exactly the most serious issue here.

    12. Commenteddonna jorgo

      Professor ROUBINI is right ..is not pessimisem but is real situation and we are to thank'you Roubini because is the only one economist-political looket with righte way and trying to explante with article he write. I think we have to see more seriosly ..P Roubini don't WRite for poor people who don't have to lose nothing but for busineses and al the economic financiar in world ..SO THANK YOU
      PS crisis is not out from the door but inside ...

    13. Commentedsrinivasan gopalan

      In troubled times like this Cassandras of doom and gloom abound. No doubt, Roubini's pessimism is grounded on realities and what we see supervening elsewhere. But history is replete with instances where crises had always been converted into opening new vistas for viable solutions. As poet laureate William Hazel let wisely put it on what basis when we see nothing but improvement behind us are we to expect nothing but disaster before us? Euro crisis is not the only crisis plaguing the world today as crisis is part of existence so long as people exist in the planet. What is required is a statesmanlike vision by political leaders and heightened cooperation to see that no country or continent is left to fend for itself when the chips are down. It is time that the use of technology which united us should also be leveraged to find coordinated and concerted action on the part of countries with surplus to go in for the rescue of countries with deficit. What is required is faith in the essential goodness of people and trust in every one so that a durable way could be found from the current mess that unfortunately plagues not one continent or a country but almost the whole of the world in one form or another.
      G.Srinivasan

    14. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

      I can hardly try to summarize an entire treatise, ‘This time is different’, by Reinhart & Rogof, in a few sentences, but that is what I intend to do to explain some of the thoughts described by Roubini.

      This seminal paper by the authors, have gone through a number of periods of default over the last few centuries which was preceded by extended periods of lull and the commonality is striking:
      1.Each lull had been followed by a new wave of default

      2.Serial default or external debt- that is repeated sovereign debt default- is the norm throughout every region in the world, including Asia and Europe

      3.Global economic factors, commodity prices and interest rates together with high mobility of capital have influenced debt factors

      4.Domestic debt and long term maturity & its timing has been one of the significant contributing factors in servicing of the government debt obligation at certain periods of time leading to default conditions.

      Roubini’s prescription for Germany for agreeing to a eurozone wide deposit insurance with a debt mutualization program leaves one with a sobering thought that the German banking system with a leverage in the stratosphere whose final backstop is with the German government would be enormously stressed if this is enacted. On the contrary the German banks have systematically reduced their exposure in the Spanish, Greek and Portuguese financial entities in the last couple of years. We are talking two different things, which do not look feasible.


      Procyon Mukherjee

    15. Commentedjames durante

      Topsy turvy. Let's look on the bright side: a collapse in the economy ay be just what is needed to place the focus where it belongs, on adjusting our lives to the reality of ciate change. No civilization has proven sustainable. This one has outlasted the others because of the discovery of carbon energy reserves. Those same energy resources have created for more extensive and complex social and economic relations and a global ecological crisis. The momentum from the former has tended to obscure the latter. "If we can just keep this train running down the track, with more people on it and at higher speed, we won't really have to worry about that cliff up ahead."

      It stands to reason that the train crashing is preferable to the train going over the cliff. Severe economic crisis might allow us to individually and collectively evaluate what is really important: more leisure time, more family time, more time for ceremonies, a focus on repairing and restoring damaged ecosystems might all supplant the frenzied materialism and harried work lives that so many people still experience today as "reality."

    16. CommentedMichael Booth

      Roubini and many others gloss over the political union that must precede or at least accompany the fiscal and banking union. In this essay, Rouobini does not even mention it. But that is the tradeoff Germany is really demanding and properly so.

      This concession of sovereignty has never been Germany's problem, but has always been France's. The French and others what the money, but refuse all oversight and will tolerate no sovereignty loss to Brussels, nor to any other pan-EU authority.

      Therein lies the true barrier to the resolution of the mess: not German refusal to enter financial unions of one sort or another, but French (and Spanish and Italian etc) refusal to give up sovereignty in exchange.

      Without this quid pro quo the Germans are completely correct in refusing all that Rooubini suggests.

        Commentedjimmy rousseau

        I don't know why all the commenters talking about the need for political union assume the germans want this and other countries not. There is no way germans would accept a true federal president with real powers coming maybe from spain or italy or even france. It seems to be a common assumption that a democratically elected president of a strong european federation will be from a germanic state. The problem with the EU is that no country is ready to give up sovereignty to the union, germany included.

    17. CommentedWilliam Wallace

      As a small business owner in Spain, I watched as the bad news last Spring led to poor summer revenues in 2011. This year, with even more dire news, business among locals and tourists alike is strangely up. Good news for me, but I cannot help but wonder if consumers aren't "going Nero" and partying a bit while contemplating he economic conflagration. Strange times.

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