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Surveying the Damage of Low Interest Rates

Few would disagree that it was necessary to slash interest rates in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. But after a decade of ultra-loose monetary policies across advanced economies, growth remains tepid, financial risks have proliferated, and middle-class savers have lost out.

WASHINGTON, DC – For years after the 2008 financial crisis, policymakers congratulated themselves for having averted a second Great Depression. They had responded to the global recession with the kind of Keynesian fiscal and monetary stimulus that the moment required.

But nine years have passed, and official interest rates are still hovering around zero, while growth has been mediocre. Since 2008, the European Union has grown at a dismal average annual rate of just 0.9%.

The broad Keynesian consensus that emerged immediately after the crisis has become today’s prevailing economic dogma: as long as growth remains substandard and annual inflation remains below 2%, more stimulus is deemed not just appropriate, but necessary.

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