Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The race to the bottom

A simple question - have the dramatic cuts in interest rates worked? The evidence in favour is not compelling. The world is in recession.

I know; things would have been much worse if central banks hadn't acted.


  1. but much better if they had acted sooner. Don't let them off, they get over 50% of the blame IMHO.

  2. I know; things would have been much worse if central banks hadn't acted.

    "Worse"? What "things"? How!?

    The bubble was yet another failure of the Central Planner, in this case the very concept of central banks.

    Their response to the crisis is the same as the alcoholic, the addict, the compulsive gambler:

    More of whatever it was that got us (not, them unfotunately) in the shite to begin with!

    Classic lunacy, IMO!

  3. Things may have been worse if they hadn't acted, but the worst would have been behind us by now. Why put off until tomorrow what you can put off to the next generation?

  4. Things are much worse because they didn't act by putting interest rates up to moderate the housing bubble. From now on in, its seems to me they are pushing on a string.

  5. IS Sweden ahead of the curve?


    Last Para.

    The deposit rate is at the same time cut to -0.25 per cent

  6. I could only hope for the better. Recession is indeed still here and nowhere to go yet. But I found a real estate coach who could help many in this world of real estate to still make money despite of the circumstance. Thanks for sharing your great post here.

  7. But what about long term interest rates on government parchment? Is it a case of "the only way is up".


  8. Interest rates have overshot. At these levels only the most subprime of subprimers are kept alive, and most property companies have taken huge hits on interest rate swaps. If you can't survive on 2% base rates, you shouldn't be borrowing. Inflation will overshoot too now. Incidentally, 2% would still let savers eat, but they are not eating, they are buying property right before it all crashes.

    So you are wrong Alice, things would not be much worse if they had stopped at 2 or 2.5%. They would be much better fundamentally as the weakest of the weak are culled and the strong can eat in a sustainable way.

  9. Eugh Yuk "BING" go and take your seedy plugs elsewhere. We are your sworn enemy, renters, go plug your real estate business on some other website.

    Alice up your guard it is obvious this poster is a spammer preying on your readers in none other than real estate.

  10. @Bing et.al:
    Could the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army please do the world a favour, set an example e.t.c., and shoot the spammers as well as the rioting muslims!

  11. Key to this whole mess was the decision to take housing cost out of the 'internationally comparable measures of inflation, starting with Greenspan in the US. If housing costs - part of most people's cost of living, had remained in the indices, then interest rates would have risen much sooner and the bubble curtailed early on

    Back then, action on interest rates would have achieved something. Presently, the sucking power of black holes of debt means these changes can have no effect.

    Instead, we had the laughable 'fine tuning' of the global economy and (!) inflation with lost successions of quarter point downward shifts, Greenspan and Brown's careful surgical incisions, while the patient haemorrhaged into terminal global excess.

    But has anyone put housing costs back into their principal inflation indicators?

    B. in C.

  12. That's a hilarious response as that's what drove the US to ruin. Actually it makes sense short term but you can't simply make the economy go forward at a constant and unrealistic rate.

  13. Alice and fans.
    Since I converted to IE8, I am getting an error report that "Internet Explorer cannot open this site". You can get round it by opening "diagnose connection problem". I don't get the problem with other blogger.com sites. I have tried all the Microsoft solutions for this error message. It is happening on both my computers which use different versions of Windows XP. Has anyone else had the problem?

  14. Acorn,

    Firefox is better. Personally, my internet explorer won't show youtube videoclips on my site. So, I have moved across.


  15. Hi John Smith,

    But I didn't say it would have made the economy go forward at a constant and unreaistic rate; I said earlier inerest rate rises would have achieved 'something', and that the bubble would have been curtailed much sooner (not that there would have been no bubble.

    Taking housing coats out of the indicator that everybody was and is still looking at means that interest rates was and are presently being based partly on an assumption that rising housing costs are not a part of inflation, i.e. if there is some inconvenient inflation I will ignore it!

    The 'hedonistic equivalent' adjustments (If chicken is expensive people will eat fish - I suppose if everything is expensive people will just eat dirt!) similarly massage the inflation figures and delude the interest-rate setters.

    The massive use of leverage, a major component in the lead-up to the present crisis, also happened because interest rates were being set srtificially low.

    Of course, presently, leaving housing costs out of inflation measures may mean interest rates are set artificially high (as in the Euro zone, maybe), leading to deflation.

    B. in C.