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Harvard’s Reinhart and Rogoff Say, "This Time Really Is Different"

edited May 2020 in Other Investing
Interview with Harvard’s Reinhart and Rogoff.

Some excerpts:
The biggest positive productivity shock we’ve had over the last 40 years has been globalization together with technology. And I think if you take away the globalization, you probably take away some of the technology. probably need a debt moratorium that’s fairly widespread for emerging markets and developing economies. As an analogy, the IMF or Chapter 11 bankruptcy is very good at dealing with a couple of countries or a couple of firms at a time. But just as the hospitals can’t handle all the Covid-19 patients showing up in the same week, neither can our bankruptcy system and neither can the international financial institutions

I indeed hope it is the G-20 and not just the G-19. China needs to be on board with debt relief. That’s a big issue. The largest official creditor by far is China. If China is not fully on board on granting debt relief, then the initiative is going to offer little or no relief. If the savings are just going to be used to repay debts to China, well, that would be a tragedy.

Do you see an inflationary surge at some point?

KR: We don’t know where we will come out. So the probability is, for the foreseeable future, we’ll have deflation. But at the end of this, I think we’re going to have experienced an extremely negative productivity shock with deglobalization. In terms of growth and productivity, they will be lasting negative shocks, and demand may come back. And then you have the many forces that have led to very low inflation maybe going into reverse, either because of deglobalization or because workers will strengthen their rights. The market sees essentially zero chance of ever having inflation again. And I think that’s very wrong.

BM: And what scars are left on economies once the pandemic passes?

CR: Some of the scars are on supply chains. I don’t think we’ll return to their precrisis normal. We’re going to see a lot of risk aversion. We’ll be more inward-looking, self-sufficient in medical supplies, self-sufficient in food.
Harvard’s Reinhart and Rogoff Say This Time Really Is Different:
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