Ben Bernanke Killed The World Economy

Debt of all kinds has proliferated, whether in auto loans at the consumer end (less so in home mortgage loans since 2008) or in corporate leveraged loans used by the innumerable buyout artists at the high end. Default rates on all these debts are beginning to rise; they will cause massive losses before we are much older.

In Britain, Switzerland and the EU, interest rates have sunk so low that even investments without any profit at all have been attractive, provided money can be borrowed against them. I have written in the past about the possibility of a flood of Babylonian ziggurats in the major financial centers – technically religious buildings, thus exempt from local property taxes, but serving a religion with no current believers, thus making them a pure speculative asset suitable for the ultra-Keynesian New Age.

Not content with the damage they have already done, some extreme aficionados of low interest rates are devising schemes to drive them even lower, confiscating ordinary people’s cash holdings so that there was no longer any alternative to their diabolical financial schemes. Truly Ben Bernanke’s inspiration of 2002 to drop money from helicopters, uttered at a meeting of the National Economists Club at which I was present, has been among the most economically damaging ideas in all of history.

One competitor for that prize, I suppose, is Karl Marx’s Communism, so banally celebrated by the functionaries of the of the EU at last year’s bicentenary. However, that great fallacy never affected more than about a quarter of the world’s population, and eventually exploded under its own weight. Bernanke’s folly, on the other hand, shows no sign of correcting itself. Although a few more years of U.S. success with President Trump and higher rates might do the job of correcting it worldwide, our chances of getting this necessary combination are currently less than 50-50, I would say.

Another such competitor for Worst Idea was the invention of agriculture. Yes, it enabled the planet to support more people, but at what a cost! Instead of devoting only a modest portion of their time to finding and killing woolly mammoths, humanity was now forced to devote itself night and day to back-breaking manual labor in the fields. In the short term, this was truly an unspeakably bad trade-off. In the long term, of course, it led to civilization and industrialization, but it took several thousand miserable years to do so. We can, however, be sure that Bernanke’s brainwave will lead to no such economic breakthrough, however many millennia we wait.

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(The Bear's Lair is a weekly column that is intended to appear each Monday, an appropriately gloomy day of the week. Its rationale is that the proportion of "sell" recommendations put ...

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Gary Anderson 1 year ago Contributor's comment

#Trump's productivity growth is hardly normal. France has much larger productivity growth than the US. France! Trump is stuck in low productivity just like #Obama was.