Economic Dominoes Are Starting to Drop

In a Forbes magazine article published on 1 May, John Mauldin referred to William White as “the former chief economist at the Bank for International Settlements and my favorite central banker”. In the article, Maudlin refers to the massive and dangerous growth in global debt since 2009 (pre pandemic) and the enabling role played by monetary easing.

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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.

Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

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.

Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

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.





Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

How long should lockdown measures to fight covid-19 continue?

This article was published on 22 April 2020 in “The Market” a Swiss digital business paper associated with NZZ. It argues that governments need to clarify the criteria they will use to determine when to relax the current “lockdown”, which is helping to save lives (by taking the pressure off hospitals), but also has enormous economic (lost jobs)  and social costs. “Flattening the curve” by social distancing should be complemented as soon as possible by all the government expenditures (and legislation) needed to allow the hospitals to cope. Then, social distancing, with all its costs, can be relaxed. Much improved antigen and antibody testing will also support earlier relaxation.

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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.

Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

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.




Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

The recession and the pandemic: cause or trigger?

William White wrote an Intelligence Memo for the C D Howe Institute on 26 March 2020. He notes that the pandemic has certainly caused a recession, hopefully one followed by a “V” shape recovery, but it might also trigger a deeper and more prolonged downturn. In recent decades, global monetary policy has focused too much on short term effects and too little on the longer term consequences – like the continued build up of debt. Macroeconomic policies designed to support the economy in the face of the pandemic should balance off “urgency” with longer run “effectiveness”.

Posted by williamw in Articles, Press

“Take a thought for the morrow” (Matthew 6:34)

This article was published as an OMFIF Commentary on 23 March. It expresses concern that the recession sparked by the pandemic might turn into something deeper and more long lasting.  While recognizing the associated need for policy to lean urgently against the current slowdown, to support a “V” shaped recovery, White notes that some ways of doing so are more effective than others. Policy choices should also “take a thought for the morrow” so as to avoid unintended longer term consequences.


Posted by williamw in Articles, Press

How bad could the coronavirus get for the economy?

William White was quoted in an article in the National Post (Canada) on 20 March. He expressed concern that  a global recession linked to the pandemic could expose underlying fragilities that would aggravate the downturn. He expressed the hope that policymakers had learned lessons from history as to how to mitigate the damage.


Posted by williamw in Press, References