Friday, October 31, 2014
11

شينزو آبي وأوهام السياسة النقدية

نيوهافين ــ الآن تجري عملية تسييس البنوك المركزية على قدم وساق. وعودة الحياة إلى شينزو آبي والحزب الديمقراطي الليبرالي في اليابان ــ الركيزتين اللتين يقوم عليهما النظام السياسي الذي ترك الاقتصاد الياباني غارقاً في عقدين ضائعين ــ ما هي إلا أحدث مثال على ذلك.

لقد اعتمدت الانتخابات الأخيرة في اليابان بشكل حاسم على رؤية آبي لموقف بنك اليابان فيما يتصل بالسياسة النقدية. فقد زعم آبي أن بنك اليابان المروَّض لابد أن يتعلم من نظرائه الأكثر عدوانية، مثل بنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي في الولايات المتحدة والبنك المركزي الأوروبي. فكما نجح بنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي والبنك المركزي الأوروبي ظاهرياً في تدارك الكارثة من خلال جولات من التيسير الكمي العنيف وغير التقليدي، يعتقد آبي أن الوقت قد حان الآن لكي يفعل بنك اليابان نفس الشيء.

ويبدو من المؤكد أنه سوف يتمكن من فرض رأيه. فمع انتهاء ولاية محافظ بنك اليابان الحالي ماساكي شيراكاوا في إبريل/نيسان، سوف يتمكن آبي من اختيار خليفة له ــ ونائبين أيضا ــ لتنفيذ رغبته.

ولكن هل تنجح هذه الخطة؟ على الرغم من تقبل السياسة النقدية التجريبية الآن على نطاق واسع باعتبارها إجراءً عملياً قياسياً في عصر ما بعد الأزمة اليوم، فإن كفاءتها محل شك. فبعد ما يقرب من أربعة أعوام منذ بلغ العالم القاع في أعقاب الأزمة المالية العالمية، كان تأثير التيسير الكمي غير متماثل إلى حد لافت للنظر. ففي حين كانت عمليات ضخ السيولة الضخمة فعّالة في فك تجميد أسواق الائتمان ومنع تحقق أسوأ سيناريوهات الأزمة ــ وأستشهد هنا بالدور الذي لعبته الجولة الأولى التي قدمها بنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي الأميركي من التيسير الكمي خلال الفترة 2009-2010 ــ فإن الجهود اللاحقة لم تتمكن من تحقيق أي شيء نستطيع أن نعتبره انتعاشاً دورياً طبيعيا.

وليس من الصعب أن نفهم السبب وراء هذا. ففي ظل الضرر الشديد الذي لحق بموازنات القطاعين العام والخاص، ومع اقتراب أسعار الفائدة الرسمية من الصفر، أصبحت اقتصادات ما بعد الفقاعة غارقة في "فخ السيولة" الكلاسيكي. فهي الآن أكثر تركيزاً على سداد الديون الهائلة التي تراكمت قبل الأزمة من أن تسمح لنفسها باقتراض ديون جديدة لتعزيز الطلب الكلي.

وتشكل الحالة المحزنة للمستهلك الأميركي مثالاً كلاسيكياً للكيفية التي قد يحدث بها هذا. ففي الأعوام التي سبقت الأزمة، كان نشوء فقاعتين ــ فقاعة الملكية العقارية والفقاعة الائتمانية ــ سبباً في تغذية طفرة في الاستهلاك الشخصي بلغت مستويات غير مسبوقة من الارتفاع. ومع انفجار هاتين الفقاعتين، اتجه تركيز الأسر نحو إصلاح موازناتها ــ على وجه التحديد من خلال سداد الديون وإعادة بناء المدخرات الشخصية، بدلاً من استئناف عادات الإنفاق المفرط.

والواقع أنه على الرغم من مضاعفة أصول بنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي الأميركي بعد الأزمة وعلى نحو غير مسبوق إلى ثلاثة أمثالها، لكي تبلغ 3 تريليون دولار تقريبا ــ وربما تبلغ 4 تريليون دولار على مدى العام المقبل ــ فقد انسحب المستهلكون في الولايات المتحدة كما لم يحدث من قبل قد. فعلى مدى الأرباع التسعة عشر منذ بداية عام 2008، كان معدل النمو السنوي للإنفاق الاستهلاكي المعدل وفقاً للتضخم 0,7% فقط في المتوسط ــ أو ما يقرب من ثلاث نقاط مئوية أقل من الزيادات الثابتة (3,6%) التي تم تسجيلها طيلة السنوات الإحدى عشرة التي انتهت في عام 2006.

وليس لدى البنك المركزي الأوروبي من الأسباب ما قد يجعله راضياً عن نسخته من التيسير الكمي. فعلى الرغم من مضاعفة ميزانيته العمومية، إلى أقل قليلاً من 3 تريليون يورو (4 تريليون دولار)، انزلقت أوروبا عائدة إلى الركود للمرة الثانية في غضون أربع سنوات.

وليس الأمر أن قدرة التيسير الكمي على تحريك الاقتصادات التي مزقتها الأزمة وقيدت موازناتها باتت محدودة فحسب؛ بل إن التيسير الكمي يحمل معه أيضاً خطر فقدان القدرة على التمييز بين السياسة النقدية والسياسة المالية. إن البنوك المركزية التي تشتري الديون السيادية التي تصدرها سلطات مالية تعوض عن الانضباط الذي تفرضه السوق على تكاليف الاقتراض، فتقدم بذلك الدعم فعلياً لإسراف القطاع العام.

ويبدو أن اليابان نسيت للأسف الشديد العديد من الدروس التي تعلمتها شخصيا ــ وخاصة التجربة المحبطة التي مر بها بنك اليابان مع أسعار الفائدة التي بلغت الصفر والتيسير الكمي في السنوات الأولى من القرن الحادي والعشرين. ولكنها نسيت أيضاً تجربتها المريرة في تسعينيات القرن العشرين ــ أول عقودها الضائعة ــ عندما بذلت السلطات قصارى جهدها لإطالة أمد حياة البنوك المفلسة والعديد من المؤسسات غير المالية. وتم الإبقاء على هذه الشركات الأشبه بالموتى الأحياء على أجهزة دعم الحياة على أمل زائف بأن الوقت وحده كفيل بإعادتها إلى الحياة. ولم تدرك السلطات اليابانية أهمية القطاع المصرفي وتبدأ في إعادة هيكلته وتشجيعه إلا في أواخر ذلك العقد، فحققت اليابان تقدماً ملموساً على الطريق الطويل الوعر نحو إصلاح الميزانية والتحول البنيوي.

والواقع أن السلطات الأميركية استسلمت لنفس الإغراءات التي استسلمت لها اليابان. فمن التيسير الكمي إلى العجز غير المسبوق في الموازنة الفيدرالية إلى عمليات الإنقاذ التي لم يسبق لها مثيل، بذلت السلطات الأميركية كل جهد ممكن لحجب آلام إصلاح الموازنة العامة والتكيف البنيوي. ونتيجة لهذا، خلقت أميركا جيلاً من الموتى الأحياء ــ وفي حالتنا هذه من المستهلكين.

وكما كانت الحال في اليابان، فإن الشفاء في مرحلة ما بعد الفقاعة كان محدودا ــ حتى في ظل عمليات ضخ السيولة الفيدرالية الضخمة . وفي الربع الثالث من عام 2012 بلغت ديون الأسر 112% من دخلها ــ لتهبط بذلك من أعلى مستوى سجلته في عام 2006، ولكنها لا تزال أعلى بنسبة تقرب من 40% عن مستوى 75% الذي ظل ثابتاً طيلة العقود الثلاثة الأخيرة من القرن العشرين. وعلى نحو مماثل، كان معدل الادخار الشخصي، بنسبة 3,5% فقط في الأشهر الأربعة التي انتهت في نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني 2012، أقل من نصف المتوسط 7,9% خلال الفترة 1970-1999.

ويصدق نفس القول على أوروبا. ذلك أن الإجراءات القوية التي اتخذها البنك المركزي الأوروبي لم تحقق إلا أقل القليل فيما يتصل بجلب التحول البنيوي الذي طال انتظاره في المنطقة. ولا تزال الاقتصادات الواقعة على أطراف أوروبا والتي مزقتها الأزمة تعاني من أعباء ديون لا تطاق ومشاكل خطيرة تتعلق بالإنتاجية والقدرة التنافسية. ويظل النظام المصرفي الأوروبي المجزأ يمثل واحدة من أضعف الحلقات في السلسلة الإقليمية.

ولكن أهذا هو العلاج الذي يريده آبي لليابان حقا؟ إن آخر ما يحتاج إليه الاقتصاد الياباني في هذه المرحلة هو التراجع عن الإصلاحات البنيوية. ورغم ذلك، فإن إرغام بنك اليابان على السير على الخطى الضالة التي مشاها بنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي والبنك المركزي الأوروبي هو على وجه التحديد الخطر الذي يواجهه آبي ومعه اليابان الآن.

إن عمليات ضخ السيولة الضخمة التي تقوم بها البنوك المركزية الكبرى على مستوى العالم ــ بنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي الأميركي، والبنك المركزي الأوروبي، وبنك اليابان ــ غير ناجحة في إحداث أي رد فعل إيجابي في اقتصادات بلدانها الحقيقية، وغير قادرة على تيسير عملية إصلاح الموازنات والتغيير البنيوي. وهذا يجعلنا في مواجهة كم هائل من السيولة الزائدة التي تطوق أسواق الأصول العالمية. وأياً كان محل الكارثة التالية فإنها قادمة لا محالة.

ترجمة: مايسة كامل          Translated by: Maysa Kamel

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  1. Commentedlaurie gravelines

    In the absence of aggressive fiscal policy, monetary authorities are experimenting with ever increasingly 'exotic' instruments. frankly they have pushed monetary policy to unexpected levels. They are to be complemented. But it can only be pushed so far, the ultimate dangers are well documented, yet governments refuse all but the most timid fiscal levers. Indeed some move fiscal policy pro-cyclical and amplify the recession. I find it difficult to criticize aggressive central banks, when governments have abandoned the challenge. And I do agree, a great future price may be paid.

  2. CommentedMerijn Knibbe

    It seems that there is more to Shinzo Abe than meets the eye. Deflation in Japan in the fourth quarter of 2012 was as high (low?) as -4% (GDP deflator) which must be rated as a massive failure of central bank policy: http://rwer.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/graph-of-the-day-a-deflation-shock-in-japan/

  3. Commentedpieter jongejan

    Central banks are no longer serving the general interests, but the short term interests of the financial sector, the political sector and the criminal sector. In the short run these sectors are benefitting most from almost zero interest rates. In the long run low interst rates will lead to a low profit rate (due to high real estate prices) and low investment an thus low economic growth and high unemployment. The winners in the long run are in my opinion the criminal sector and the populists.
    They benefit from increased poverty due to stagnant economic growth.

  4. CommentedJoshua Ioji Konov

    The Japanese QE may well be compared to the US policies whereas it is farther than the EU sterilized and not expanding their balance sheet, and very much conditional on austerity measures and strict EU policies.
    Both ways there is need of structural micro and macro economic changes to improve liquidity transmission-ability if these policies to be affective indeed..
    SEE
    How Globalization affects Market Economy

    If a Market Economy is considered the balance between Demand-to-Supply (in the currently used Economics it is Supply-to-Demand) for goods, services, resources and employment, the most recent changes of ongoing Globalization and rising Productivity have prompted, boosted and accelerated its role to some new levels never experienced through history. By including some huge marketplaces such as China, India, Brazil, Vietnam, and the expanding EU and by the rapid industrialization some of these countries are succeeding. High technologies in manufacturing and communications, the Internet and the open boarders trade, the open employment policies in EU, the high level education in India that give medical doctors and software specialists knowledge and skills to compete in US, and many more make the Global marketplace a common ground for competition well beyond any imagination in the past. However, these processes show the incredible vitality of the supply founded economics of Capitalism to fill any demand wherever and however such occurs elsewhere in the world. Hence, Market Economy is in its apogee, perhaps, only under the increasing sustained pace of economic development.

    Many economists associate Market Economy and Market Economics with the Supply-to-Demand trickle down economics of the Capitalism, and almost no one can even imagine major changes in the system. Regional and global lending founded on relatively high interest rate and relatively short term payoff could well help individuals and businesses live through short term economic turbulences, which approaches work very well when the term of such turbulence as long as economic activities returns to normal then the borrowers might payback and swim through. The supply founded Market Economy in theory self adjust economic turbulences and thus even improves the over all social and business environment by cutting off dead branches of over production, excessive financing, “artificial businesses”, crowded administration, and thus improves economies and marketplaces. This is the magic of the self-adjusting Market Economy of the Capitalism.

    However, many countries discovered that Market Economy, as explained by trickle-down economics, does not maintain best development and many business regulations and laws, and tax brakes and social programs are added to the powers of the Market Economy to distribute and redistribute wealth, to create jobs, and to balance demand-to-supply. Powerful socialization and governmental involvement into financial and business market operations prompted by the last Great Recession had more governments more involved into the Market Economy trying to save their economies from collapse. By pouring massive capital into financial institutions, or by taking over large corporations, or by implementing more social and employment generating programs the governments interfered with market forces and replacing such with vengeance.

    Market Economy is associated with a few indicators:
    • free flow of goods and services;
    • flow of free capital and trickle-down concentration of capital
    • return on invested capital;
    • free relocation and outsourcing of manufacturing that grew up into services and financial sectors;
    • large intercontinental corporations a main source for employment and the following fiscal reserves;
    • free employment marketplace based on demand and supply;
    Thus, the goods and services in a marketplace under the pressure of demand and supply balance prompt employment, whereas financing and capital being private or public, or both accelerate the spirals of economic growth and development.

    In the modern day Global Marketplace, the Market Economy is global too, where forces of demand-to-supply work globally and goods and services from one side and demand for such from another should prompt employment and supported by crediting, financing should accelerate growth and development.

    In a pro supply marketplace currently used instruments of economics it would be nothing wrong with this picture, however the conditions in the global marketplace of China’s and constantly rising Productivity prompted substantially different motors to maintain global balance. In case the pro supply-to-demand marketplace is in a progress to a pro demand-to-supply such, the distribution of wealth which always has been a minor problem for economic growth even in the opposite prompted by trickling-down such growth is becoming very contra-productive. Under these new economic conditions, such “stoppers” growth and development as Social and Infrastructural expenses that prompted inflations and market instability, in the past, are becoming more like a balance to rising unemployment and lack of growth of the present. In addition, the “shady” business practices of the past that prompted rapid growth are becoming more like a burden of the present, which instead of helping SME are making them not lend-able, while SME (small and medium enterprises) are the main still in place employer. Same with the financial system of speculative banks, exchanges and financial institutions, that use to help the trickle-down capital to concentrate and such boost business, in the past, now these are becoming more like additional burden to the small and medium investors and the middle class. By taking away 401s and 501s and not providing them with so much needed ROI (return on investment) that could be one of the free economic vehicles for wealth distribution and redistribution of the present.

    The industrialization of the past that built-up the most aggressive economic growth and development with prosperous middle class of the very developed economies of North Americas, Japan and Western Europe may not be successful anymore to perform. The high technologies are limiting needed manpower in manufacturing, China is becoming increasingly industrial super power able to fill any demand for industrial goods, whereas industrial production is either outsourced or moved already elsewhere. However, under the currently used economics industrial production adds the most to any country’s GDP (general domestic product); thus when some highly industrialized economies as the US are losing their abilities to maintain industrial growth the rest of the world of underdeveloped or developing countries with very few exceptions are losing any probability to startup such industrial production, indeed.

    Environmental changes caused by industrial pollution and the exhausting Earth resources are becoming more of pressing issues with which all countries must promptly deal. These are becoming more of economic issues than even the rest, because it is obvious that these issues affect any economy and the global market place directly. E.g., the high technologies for renewable energies are quite expensive, changing old polluting autos is expensive too, i.e. the Earth pollution, the deforestation going on in any poverty rotten country of Eastern Europe, Africa, South America are affecting the global environment in a progressive harmful overall.

    Thus, if the changing market environment brings new issues and developments than the modern world must deal with appropriately. The economics should change too, to accommodate all of the above new developments. An economics of Marketism being able to abstract all the best from the Capitalism should be implemented promptly, because under the arising conditions only another alternative is a massive socialization and governmental take over, and such for sure would not bring prosperity to no one. Bureaucracy, diminishing liberties, dependence on social security could not balance properly market demand-to-supply, as the history has shown, but free entrepreneurships and personal freedoms must be saved then the appointed new arriving economics issues must be dealt promptly and properly with.

    New market economics is about low interest lending and subsidizing, because under the new conditions the recessions are not self-adjusting and short in time, therefore any high interest lending is not feasible instead financial instrument (law interest loans and subsidies) should prompt employment and SME activities for which as written above should be supported by higher “security” (by enhanced business laws, regulations, financial market regulations, risk management personal liability). Hence, financial instruments should prompt growth by using monetary and fiscal initiatives on a lower interest rate and subsidies the “old” system of national and global lending must be moderated to these new conditions. The World Bank, IMF, and WTO should promote growth on a global scale by using these new instruments and by changing their role of general lenders into general controllers. The main issue under these new conditions is for these institutions to use monetary and fiscal quantities to balance the global market demand-to-supply “as it comes: as it goes” approach of Quantum Factor. The market agents and tools are more as “parameters” in attempt of preventing economic turbulence, than setup of chaotic self-adjusting instruments to prompt productivity.

    The market economy of the 21st Century is a vivid fluctuating development dealt on a practical operational basis. Market economics is statistically formulated way for using economic agents and tools as parameters balancing market demand-to-supply and dispersing negative economic buildups.

    Hence, the Globalization affects Market Economy by establishing new conditions of demand-to-supply marketplace that require changing the ways economic instruments are used from the ideological approaches of the Capitalism to practical approaches of the Marketism.
    © Joshua Konov, 2010

  5. CommentedMukesh Adenwala

    Insufficiency of Monetary Policy in changing the perceptions of economic agents, enabling them to see a rosier picture is perhaps the cause of its failure. Perhaps direct measures at repairing major parts of balance sheets of financial institutions could go a long way in mending such insufficiency. The key could be as under:
    If economies decide to offer foreclosed assets for `winning' through lottery, rather than for `buying' - draw to be held only after enough amount has been collected through sale of lottery tickets so that financial institutions would cover book value of their assets - the size of market for such assets would increase manifold. If such assets change hands for cash, the banks would be free of toxic assets several times over because derivatives created on the basis of such assets would regain their value, and the insurance companies like AIG that had insured single asset many times over, would recover their losses. This would repair the balance sheets of major financial institutions to a large extent and restore the confidence in the markets and agents.
    Yes, there would be moral implications of such measures and also question of equity would need to be closely examined before such a scheme can be implemented.

  6. CommentedDanny Cooper

    Central banking is inherently political. They conduct monetary policy. They have to sell their policy to their constituent.

  7. CommentedSean Slater

    Wasn't the Fed's injection of liquidity a reaction to the need for liquidity in the failing financial sector not to create an increase in consumption?

  8. Portrait of Michael Heller

    CommentedMichael Heller

    My memory may be short, but I don't remember having read a more important article at Project Syndicate. In a nutshell Stephen S. Roach captures the present predicament caused by monetary crankery and procrastination over structural reform.

  9. CommentedPaul Jefferson

    ECB quantitative easing? What about Europe's widely hated austerity programs? And what about the weak EU members being deprived of currency flexibility, as they are constrained by the common euro currency they have adopted? These factors make Europe an inappropriate example for comparison with Japan.

    As for the USA, QE seems to have at last jump-started the real estate market, which should make a huge difference for US banks, and the economy as a whole.

    Also, if QE has sustained the economy while US consumers de-leveraged, all the better. Anyway, American consumers need to spend less on Chinese imports.

    Sustained American QE should eventually force the Chinese to value the yuan more fairly against the US dollar, which should reduce Chinese imports, and support US domestic job growth. Hence, QE is good for the USA. So how would it be bad for Japan?

    Abe's QE will devalue the yen, and thus he will have won the biggest battle. The high yen has been the root of Japan's economic problems for years. A lower yen will make Japan's products competitive again, and will boost domestic employment. Clearly, Abe is on the right track.

  10. Portrait of Pingfan Hong

    CommentedPingfan Hong

    In fact, BOJ has never been more timid than its counterparts in Europe and the US: BOJ was the first to use quantitive easing among major central banks. Measured by the ratio of assets purchased by the central bank to GDP, BOJ is leading ECB and the Fed in the scale of the QE so far: 30%, 27%, and 20% respectively for these three central banks.

    The only thing BOJ could not match its counterparts is that both ECB and the Fed have recently made their open ended: undefined total amount and duration of the new round QE for ECB and the Fed. BOJ is expected to follow the suit soon.

    However, as the author of this article pointed out correctly, all these QEs cannot substitute for painstaking balance sheet adjustment and restructuring of the real economy, as attested by the decade-long experience of QE by BOJ.

      CommentedAndrew Purdy

      Abe is going to do something that the USA has not yet done - outright monetization of deficits. When the CB buys up government debt, the Treasury still has to pay interest. If the deficit is covered with pure seigniorage, no interest is ever paid.

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