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”.


Posted by williamw in Interviews, Press

Did Europe Just Experience its “Hamiltonian Moment”?

William White, along with a number of others, answered this question in the Summer Edition of The International Economy. He concluded that the agreement of member countries of the EU to allow a significant expansion in community issued debt was a remarkable and welcome development. However, it fell far short of being a “Hamiltonian Moment”. Not least, there was no assumption of state debts by some higher political order. Nor was their agreement on a dedicated source of funds to ensure the future servicing of centrally issued debt.

Posted by williamw in Articles, Press

Is the world still at risk of the “Japan disease”?

This question was posed by the editors of The International Economy to a symposium of over thirty analysts, including William White. White responded that the world will likely languish in “an extended low growth funk” unless the problem of ever growing public and private sector debt is adequately addressed. The “headwinds” of debt were already exerting an undesirable influence on the global economy prior to the pandemic, and the policy response (however necessary, short term)  has made this underlying problem worse. White suggests that, absent any credible alternative policies, cooperative agreements between debtors and creditors to restructure debts might be the least costly and least risky solution.



Posted by williamw in Articles, Press

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.

Posted by williamw in Articles, Press

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