Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bernanke's Speech

Bernanke gave a speech yesterday at LSE. Noteworthy are his remarks on Quantitative Easing in Japan and what Fed is doing, Fed's expanding monetary base and the shrinking money multiplier. Inflation is not a concern today because the money multiplier has fallen below 1. When it turns back, it might be an issue. The big question is when that turn happens. I don't think it turns as easily as some people are expecting (the second half 2009 recovery crowd) - if righting economic cycles was that simple, there wouldn't be any poverty in the world and all of us would be rich and happy. 

Also note his remarks on substituing public balance sheet for private balance sheet. What it also implies is that the portfolio of investors is changing - from more risky private securities to less risky public securities - though the change in composition is slow. This was an important consideration for Minsky - but something that doesn't get its due importance amongst economists.