Why central bankers should be humble

This article appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of “The International Economy”. White argues that there is a fundamental intertemporal inconsistency in the repeated use of monetary easing by advanced countries to stimulate aggregate demand. This arises from the fact that monetary stimulus encourages the buildup of debt which eventually strangles further spending.¬† Moreover, such stimulus in the advanced economies has undesirable side effects. It threatens financial instability, has negative effects on productivity growth and can seriously injure emerging market economies as well. Looking forward, there should be greater reliance on fiscal expansion in response to economic downturns, complemented by stronger fiscal contractions in upturns. Improvements are urgently needed in administrative and judicial procedures for debt restructuring, both private and public.