Interview on Real Vision television with Jim Grant of “Grant’s Interest Rate Observer”

William White was interviewed on 16 November by Jim Grant, editor of “Grant’s Interest Rate Observer”. The conversation ranged widely over issues related to central banking and future economic prospects. Both the pandemic and the buildup of unintended side effects arising from ultra-easy monetary policy pose challenges going forward. Grant wondered why central bankers seemed to ignore these side effects when setting policy. White suggested that monetary policy in recent years had been captured by circumstances. With both fiscal policy and regulatory policy having restrictive effects on aggregate demand, expansionary monetary policy had been left as the “only game in town”. In response to the pandemic, it was welcome that fiscal expansion was now playing a larger role. White cautioned against too early fiscal tightening, as happened after the Great Financial Contraction, but also warned that the patience of markets towards highly indebted sovereigns would not last forever.

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Central banks keep shooting themselves in the foot

On November 16, The Market, a Swiss financial paper, published an interview  with William White conducted by the editor, Mark Dittli. White pointed out the existence of a vicious circle that has been repeating for decades. A financial crisis elicits a necessary central bank response that eventually leads to easier monetary conditions. This encourages even more debt accumulation (and leverage) that leads to another and even more serious  financial crisis and so on. This process is not sustainable. In the last part of the article, White refers to a set of commonly held beliefs that are simply not true.

“The idea that price stability is sufficient for economic stability? Wrong. That easy money always stimulates demand? Wrong. That the economy is self-adjusting, back to a full employment equilibrium? Wrong. That financial markets are efficient and bad things can’t happen? Wrong. That wealth will trickle down to all levels of society? Wrong. These are big beliefs. And false beliefs are dangerous”.


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Surveillance: Monetary Policy with William White (Podcast)

William White appeared on Bloomberg Television on 7 April, and then on a radio podcast with Tom Keene, Jon Ferraro and Paul Sweeney. He expressed concern about the possible ineffectiveness of still more monetary easing and the possibility of unintended and undesired consequences. He supported the greater reliance on fiscal expansion in the current pandemic crisis, noting that the market was likely to be “patient” before responding badly to sharp increases in government debt. White noted however that the market’s “patience” was not likely to be infinite and that thought should be directed to solving this problem going forward.

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Debt restructuring in the post- pandemic economy

On 14 May 2020 William White was interviewed on  radio by Mark Burgess, the Asian Chairman of OMFIF. Mr White described the state of the global economy, pre covid-19, as “an accident waiting to happen”.  The global economy now faces a period of prolonged distress because of a combination of circumstances; these preconditions, aggravations arising from the pandemic itself, then the costs of the government lock-down in response to the health threats, and finally the fiscal and monetary measures taken by governments to ease the economic costs of the lock-down. Perhaps most importantly, the preexisting  problem of very high global debt levels has now worsened significantly. The conversation then turned to possible outcomes ranging from lingering depression to very high inflation.

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The last gasps of the easy money experiment

On May 12 William White was interviewed by Brent Johnson of Santiago Capital on Real Vision. White spoke about the limitations of both monetary and fiscal policies going forward, and the need for countries to improve the capacity of the institutional framework to cope with a potentially sharp  increase in debt restructurings. In the wide ranging conversation, attention was also drawn to increasing constraints on central bank “independence” and some inherent flaws in the International Monetary (Non) System.





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Economic impact of the coronovirus crisis and the G 20 response

On 9 April 2020 William White participated in a webinar panel organized by OMFIF and chaired by their chief economist, Danae Kyriakopoulou. The other panelists were David Marsh and Mark Sobel. In his comments, White commended national governments and central banks for their speedy response to the crisis, but also noted the almost total absence of a coordinated G20 response. He was also concerned that forecasts of a speedy rebound would prove too optimistic, and that there seemed to be no internationally agreed criteria for deciding when social distancing, with its heavy economic and social costs, might be lifted.

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One must react intelligently to the crisis – not only quickly

Christof  Leisinger of the Neue Zurcher Zeitung interviewed William White, and the results were published in German on 1 April 2020 (a translation follows). Mr White welcomed the swift easing of fiscal and monetary policy to support the economy, in the face of the epidemic, but cautioned that measures should be targeted in order to increase effectiveness and reduce moral hazard. He also stressed that, pre-crisis, the global economy was already exposed to a prospective deep downturn because of the buildup of debt and various financial imbalances.  Since the policies being followed at the moment are essentially “more of the same”, thought must be given to more sustainable policies in the future. Reforms to the International Monetary (Non) System should rise further up the policy agenda.




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The prospective impact of the Covid-19 virus on the global economy

On 19 March, William White was interviewed by BNN, the Canadian business network associated with Bloomberg. He pointed out how this prospective economic downturn differs from that experienced in 2008-9, and laid out some alternative scenarios as to how events might unfold. While generally praising the prompt and significant response of central banks and governments to date, he noted that unfolding events might yet call for more action. The interview can also be found on the website of the C D Howe Institute, where Mr. White is a Senior Fellow.

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Economic and financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

William White was interviewed on March 16 (see 4 minute mark) by “7:30”, Australia’s TV News and  Current Affairs flagship. He suggested that the global economy had been an accident waiting to  happen, due to the many “imbalances” that had been allowed to build up over many years. If the prices of financial assets were to fall significantly, it was very likely that house prices would also be affected. It was unrealistic to think that marginally lower interest rates could suffice to sort out these deep seated problems.



Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

Price stability is not sufficient to ensure macroeconomic stability

In an interview in early December 2019, William White suggested that central banks had given too much importance to the pursuit of price stability in recent decades. There are no costs associated with declining prices when the underlying cause is increases in productivity. Moreover, resisting disinflationary pressures with monetary easing, cycle after cycle, leads to a buildup of  debt and other economic imbalances that do more to threaten sustainable growth than to sustain it. Accordingly, more reliance should be put on fiscal policy in the next economic downturn. Indeed, it was a mistake not to have done so earlier.





Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press