控制通货膨胀是一场正确的战争吗?

伯克利-这些天来,美联储和其他中央银行都处于来自左右两个方向的压力之下:在左边,它们有采取措施扩大需求并降低失业率的压力;在右边,它们有缩减需求以控制通货膨胀的压力。

这样的情形易于产生问题,因为以上两个要求中肯定有一个是错误的。如果全球经济的主要问题是全球需求不足,世界各国的中央银行提高利率,就会导致萧条。如果全球经济在主要问题是通货膨胀,世界各国的央行不提高利率,就会引起物价的飙升,从而提高了通胀的预期,并导致像20世纪70年代那样顽固的工资-价格螺旋式上升,而这样的螺旋式上升只有通过以后更严重的经济萧条才能得以缓解。
        我认为,在这次,在全球经济的后工业化北大西洋核心中,上面左边所采取的方法是对的。整体通货膨胀数字是不断加剧的通货膨胀是一个问题、或者甚至是一个事实的唯一指标。美国劳动力成本指数和发达国家名义工资增长的其他指标没有显示出改变加速度。“核心通胀率”指标也没有显示加速通货膨胀的迹象。

美国正在经历一场由抵押贷款损失导致的金融灾难,这场灾难在使用通常的货币政策的情况下,会沦为一场严重的经济衰退或萧条。在正常时期,美联储的反应——通常是极端的货币刺激——会引发严重的通货膨胀。但是现在不是正常时期。事实上,美联储的货币政策并不能完全阻止美国经济的衰退,尽管衰退仍然很温和,以至于许多人怀疑它是否真的是洪水猛兽。

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