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Do We Have A Zombie Economy?

Summary:
See When Dead Companies Don’t Die: The policies created to pull the world out of recession are still in place, but now they are strangling the global economy by Ruchir Sharma in The NY Times. He is author of “The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World” and is the chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.This ties in to some recent posts I did on the recovery and Joseph Schumpeter (links below). Excerpts: "Since the end of the recession, the economy has grown at about 2 percent a year in the United States and 3 percent worldwide — both nearly a point below the average for postwar recoveries. What explains the longest, weakest recovery on record? I blame the unintended consequences of huge government rescue programs, which have

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See When Dead Companies Don’t Die: The policies created to pull the world out of recession are still in place, but now they are strangling the global economy by Ruchir Sharma in The NY Times. He is author of “The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World” and is the chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

This ties in to some recent posts I did on the recovery and Joseph Schumpeter (links below). Excerpts:

"Since the end of the recession, the economy has grown at about 2 percent a year in the United States and 3 percent worldwide — both nearly a point below the average for postwar recoveries.

What explains the longest, weakest recovery on record? I blame the unintended consequences of huge government rescue programs, which have continued since the recession ended."
"Once the crisis hit, however, governments erected barriers to protect domestic companies. Central banks aggressively printed money to restore high growth. Instead, growth came back in a sluggish new form, as easy money propped up inefficient companies and gave big companies favorable access to cheap credit, encouraging them to grow even bigger."
"Central bankers had hoped that low interest rates would spur investment, increasing productivity and boosting growth. But a recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that low rates gave big companies an incentive and means to grow bigger. As their power grows, workers’ share of national income has been shrinking, fueling inequality — and anger.
Four airlines and three rental car companies account for more than 80 percent of the American travel markets."
"Start-ups represent a declining share of all companies in Britain, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the United States and many other industrialized economies. The United States is generating start-ups — and shutting down established companies — at the slowest rates since at least the 1970s."
"Zombies now account for 12 percent of the companies listed on stock exchanges in advanced economies and 16 percent in the United States, up from 2 percent in the 1980s. Companies are surviving in the “zombie state” for longer, depleting the productivity of healthy companies by competing with them for capital, materials and labor."
"The problem, however, is that government stimulus programs were conceived as a way to revive economies in recession, not to keep growth alive indefinitely. A world without recessions may sound like progress, but recessions can be like forest fires, purging the economy of dead brush so that new shoots can grow. Lately, the cycle of regeneration has been suspended, as governments douse the first flicker of a coming recession with buckets of easy money and new spending. Now experiments in permanent stimulus are sapping the process of creative destruction [see link below about Joseph Schumpeter] at the heart of any capitalist system and breeding oversize zombies faster than start-ups.
To assume that central banks can hold the next recession at bay indefinitely represents a dangerous complacency. Corporate debt levels continue to rise; government debts and deficits continue to rise. If there is a sudden break in confidence, the damage will be that much greater and governments may find themselves too broke to stem it."
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