A number of inflationary forces will remain in place for a long time

An interview given by William White to Mark Dittli of “The Market” was posted on 23 February. Faced with secular forces likely to lead to a more inflationary future, central banks should raise nominal rates to allow real rates to adjust upwards. However, high levels of both private and public debt (encouraged by earlier monetary easing) imply that higher rates bring significant risks of financial  instability as well as the unsustainability of public finances. White suggests measures to help avoid these risks, but they imply pain for consumers. Political authorities might rather choose policies of “financial repression”. After World War II inflation rose, but interest rates were held down and the real burden of debtors  was reduced over a number of years at the expense of savers. In todays world, the political implications of such redistributive policies could be important.