“Build Back Better” Might Not Be Sufficient

The C D Howe Institute in Toronto published an Intelligence Memo by William White on 14 April. He suggests that at least four of the global systems needed for human survival and progress are showing signs of extreme stress. Our market based economic system, the environmental system, our democratic political systems and our public health systems are all in danger. Since the underlying problems must be dealt with urgently and simultaneously, “build back better” seems inadequate as a clarion call for action. Canada has certainly contributed to the development of these global problems but, by taking appropriate measures to address them speedily at the national level, Canada might encourage other nations to do the same.



Posted by williamw

The “debt trap” tightens

On 29 March, William White gave a wide ranging interview to Bastjan Usinech, a journalist at “Finance Manager”, the leading business magazine in Slovenia. The discussion focused on past macroeconomic policy mistakes leading to ever growing debt levels and an ever narrowing path leading to sustainable growth. Falling off that path could plausibly lead to either deflation or high inflation or even both in succession. White also expressed views on what central banks and fiscal authorities should be doing now, as we emerge from the covid pandemic. The pros and cons of more radical alternatives to conventional policies – like “narrow money” and a “debt jubilee” – were also considered.


Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

At the end of March, the Council on Economic Policies (a Zurich based think tank) posted this piece written by William White. White identifies the many challenges, actual and emerging, threatening the future of our democratic, market based systems and indeed of mankind itself. Our economic, political, environmental and health systems are all showing increased signs of stress and any one of them might “stop”. Since all of these systems are interrelated, problems that emerge in one system will threaten the other systems as well. White describes the key characteristics of more sustainable systems, and suggests policies that might be required to move from the unsustainable path we are on currently to a path that would actually leads us to where we want to go.

Posted by williamw in Publications

Data science in economics and finance for decision makers

A book with this title, edited by Per Nymand-Andersen and published by Risk Books, became available on 23 March. William White wrote an endorsement, praising the book for its comprehensive approach to the subject (20 chapters written by authors with different specialities) and its willingness to address both the opportunities and the practical challenges offered by new techniques for data collection and  analysis.



Posted by williamw in Publications

The Biden stimulus, the Federal Reserve and the everything bubble

William White participated in a panel on 24 March sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute. Moderated by Alex Pollock, the panel consisted of White, Jeffrey Frankel from Harvard University, Fabio Natalucchi of the IMF and Desmond Lachman of the AEI.  White addressed the question of the resilience of the financial system should the “everything bubble” burst. He concluded that, due to ultra easy monetary policy over many years and regulatory shortcomings,  the financial system now had “morbidities” that could increase considerably the dangers of financial instability in the face of shocks.



Posted by williamw in Presentations

The full case against ultra low and negative interest rates

On 17 March, INET published on its website a blog note (summary) and  Working Paper by William White. The Working Paper argues that, by encouraging the issue of debt, often for unproductive purposes, monetary stimulus becomes increasingly ineffective with time. Worse, it has a number of side effects that become increasingly burdensome over time. It threatens financial instability in a number of ways, leads to real resource misallocations that lower potential growth, and finally produces a policy “debt trap” that cannot be escaped without significant economic costs.



Posted by williamw in Publications

Investing during the pandemic

On 25 February 2021, Marc Friedrich posted an interview with William White. Friedrich is a popular author and one of the most widely followed  podcasters in Germany dealing with economic and financial issues. In a wide ranging discussion, White answered questions on the long standing roots of our current economic and financial difficulties and why policymakers chose not to accept earlier criticism that they had embarked upon a dangerous path. The discussion extended to cryptocurrencies and whether more radical monetary and regulatory reform (including reform of the International Monetary System) might be required to achieve sustainable increases in human well being over time?


Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

International financial regulation: Why it still falls short

Previously a Working paper posted by INET, this article has now been published as a chapter in a book called “The next money crash and a reconstruction blueprint”. Edited by Uli Kortsch, the book makes the case that economic systems in which private banks (and shadow banks) effectively create money are inherently prone to crises of increasing seriousness. It effectively argues for a modern version of the Chicago Plan that replaces bank-created-money with sovereign-created-money. White’s paper helps document many of the problems generated by the current system and why monetary and regulatory policies have not been able to overcome them. He also lists a number of reforms, in order of their ease of implementation, that could in principle reduce the need for more radical reform. White finishes by noting that monetary reform at the national level is not enough. We also need to reform the International Monetary (Non) System.

Posted by williamw in Publications

Strategic challenges arising from ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing

On 18 February, William White made  a webinar presentation to the Global Risk Institute, a Toronto based think tank, with Jason Stewart as the Moderator. The presentation was based on a forthcoming Working Paper to be published by INET. White questions the wisdom of having relied so much  on monetary policy to provide economic stimulus, particularly over successive cycles. By encouraging the accumulation of debt, often for unproductive purposes, monetary stimulus becomes increasingly ineffective over time. Moreover, it threatens financial stability in a variety of ways, leads to real resource misallocations that lower potential growth, and finally produces a “debt trap” that cannot be escaped without significant economic costs.


Posted by williamw in Presentations