Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz explains why the global imbalances will continue to cause problems in the global economy and why the Fed’s policy of dollar devaluation will have unintended consequences. Ultimately, he sees the Fed making matters worse:
Stiglitz’s thoughts on a possible trade war:
“I think there is this concern. The interesting thing is the United States was one of the first countries to say that of the sources of our recovery would be exports. The problem is that the unintended consequences of economic turmoil, bad economic policies, is what we’re seeing.”
“When the U.S. lowers interest rates, when the U.S. floods the world with liquidity, the effect of it is to try to lower the dollar and cause other countries currencies to appreciate.”
On whether Stiglitz would blame the U.S. for causing other countries’ currencies to appreciate:
“I don’t know if I want to blame [the U.S.] It’s the unintended consequence. But it is the consequence of our policies. What is happening now is this curious thing is that Fed policy was supposed to re-ignite the American economy, but it’s not doing that. And so the flood of liquidity is going abroad and causing problems all over the world.”
Stiglitz on his previous comments that Germany should abandon the euro and that the euro should be devalued:
“There’s a lot of currency misalignments. There are large surpluses on the part of Germany, for instance, and those have to be corrected. There are two problems going on. One of them is a problem of a flood of liquidity that’s causing bubbles, causing turmoil in many of the more successful emerging markets. And then there’s the other problem of the global imbalances. They’re related. But they are really two distinct problems.”
“The worry is that the flood of liquidity is going to cause what is sometimes being referred to an emerging market bubble. Money is going in. The orry is that it will cause a real estate bubble, in one developing country or another.”
“The problem is very easy to understand. There’s a flood of money into the financial sector. It’s asking, Where is the best place in the world to go? In a world of globalization, the answer is not in the United States. So U.S. Fed policy is causing an excess inflow into countries all over the world.”
On the Fed’s quantitative easing policy:
“I think this is going to get worse. And the countries are anticipating that. And I’ve talked to a number of countries around the world and you can hear their fear. What they see is, it’s not a question of their exporting their way into recovery. What they see is economic turmoil being brought to their country by this flood of liquidity.”
On whether the Chinese should increase the value of the yuan:
“Yes, clearly the world has gotten to a situation where the yuan is misaligned. And there needs to be an adjustment. But we should understand that that will not solve the problem of America’s trade deficit. It might help a little bit, but we will just start importing textiles and apparel from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, not from China.”
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.