Category Archives: Guest Post

“God Damn the Pusher Man” – Especially when Enabled by the FDA Revolving Door

Lambert here: Here, as generally, “the revolving door” seems a barely adequate metaphor for the pervasiveness of corruption involved; after all, the doors constantly revolve in a house of ill-fame, and it’s the nature of the house itself, not the wear and tear on the hinges of its doors, that is at issue.

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Michael Pettis: Will China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Eventually Matter?

The financial media has attributed considerable importance to the fact that many of America’s close allies, including the UK, Australia, and Israel, have joined China’s new infrastructure bank against the clearly-stated desires of the US. While these moves seem to signal America’s declining influence, it does not necessarily follow that the infrastructure bank is destined to become a major international institution any time soon.

Michael Pettis deflates some of the hype surrounding this initiative, arguing that it is less significant from a geopolitical and practical perspective than virtually all commentators assume. China is simply not about to become the issuer of the reserve currency any time soon, and that limits how much financial clout it will have.

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Should We Be Spooked by Deflation? A Look at the Historical Record

Concerns about deflation – falling prices of goods and services – are rooted in the view that it is very costly. This column tests the historical link between output growth and deflation in a sample covering 140 years for up to 38 economies. The evidence suggests that this link is weak and derives largely from the Great Depression. The authors find a stronger link between output growth and asset price deflations, particularly during postwar property price deflations. There is no evidence that high debt has so far raised the cost of goods and services price deflations, in so-called debt deflations. The most damaging interaction appears to be between property price deflations and private debt.

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