De invloed van woorden op de wereldeconomie

TOKYO – Fluctuaties in ‘s werelds economieën komen grotendeels voort uit de verhalen die we over ze horen en vertellen. Deze populaire, emotioneel relevante vertellingen inspireren ons soms om de straat op te gaan en geld uit te geven, zaken te beginnen, nieuwe fabrieken en kantoren te bouwen en om medewerkers aan te nemen; op andere momenten maken ze ons bang en zeggen ze ons stil te zitten, onze middelen op te sparen, uitgaven te beperken en risico te verminderen. Ofwel ze stimuleren ons ‘dierlijk instinct’ ofwel ze dempen het.

Terwijl ik Japan bezoek op een sprekerstour , word ik getroffen door de positieve impact van economie-gerelateerde verhalen op het denken en doen van de mensen en ook door hoe fragiel deze verandering is. Sinds premier Shinzo Abe in december 2012  aan de macht kwam en zijn programma lanceerde van monetaire en fiscale stimulansen en structurele hervormingen, is het effect op het Japanse vertrouwen diepgaand geweest. Volgens het Internationaal Monetair Fonds is het z.g. output gap (het verschil tussen het reële en potentiele bbp) gekrompen van -3,6% in 2011 tot -0,9% in 2013.

Het grootste gedeelte van de rest van de wereld ontbeert een uitgebreid, makkelijk te begrijpen verhaal voor positieve verandering dat gelijk is aan de ‘Abenomics’ van Japan. Het output gap voor ’s werelds grote geavanceerde economieën, zoals berekend door het IMF, blijft teleurstellend, op -3,2% in 2013, minder dan de helft op weg terug naar de normale situatie sinds 2009, het ergste jaar van de mondiale financiële crisis, toen het gat -5,3% was.

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