Duchové dávných hospodářských potíží

Ve skvělém románu Vánoční koleda od Charlese Dickense bezcitného obchodníka Ebenezera Vydřigroše potrápí návštěva ducha minulých Vánoc. Dnes ekonomy obdobně znepokojují nevítaní duchové, když uvažují nad návratem hospodářských potíží, o nichž se už dlouho soudilo, že jsou mrtvými pojmy.

Ekonomové na celém světě se obávají deflace - od Stephena Roache z banky Morgan Stanley, přes Paula Krugmana z Princetonské univerzity, guvernéry amerického Fedu a vysokých úředníků Evropské centrální banky, až po téměř všechny ekonomy v Japonsku. Jejich uvažování se ubírá cestou myšlení doby před padesáti lety, kdy ekonomové došli k závěru, že jediné, co lze s deflací dělat, je vyhýbat se jí jako čert kříži.

Roku 1933 Irving Fisher - jeden z význačných předchůdců Miltona Friedmana z americké monetaristické školy - prohlásil, že vlády by mohly zabránit hlubokým krizím, pokud se budou vyhýbat deflaci. Deflace - ustavičný pokles cen - byla pro firmy a spotřebitele silnou pobídkou k omezování výdajů a ke spoření peněz. Omezovala schopnost firem a bank splácet úroky a hrozilo, že vyvolá řetěz velkých bankrotů, které by zničily důvěru ve finanční systém a byly tak další pobídkou ke střádání.

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