Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
The State of the Financial Union - 18th Aug 19
The Nuts and Bolts: Yield Inversion Says Recession is Coming But it May take 24 months - 18th Aug 19
Markets August 19 Turn Date is Tomorrow – Are You Ready? - 18th Aug 19
JOHNSON AND JOHNSON - JNJ for Life Extension Pharma Stocks Investing - 17th Aug 19
Negative Bond Market Yields Tell A Story Of Shifting Economic Stock Market Leadership - 17th Aug 19
Is Stock Market About to Crash? Three Charts That Suggest It’s Possible - 17th Aug 19
It’s Time For Colombia To Dump The Peso - 17th Aug 19
Gold & Silver Stand Strong amid Stock Volatility & Falling Rates - 16th Aug 19
Gold Mining Stocks Q2’19 Fundamentals - 16th Aug 19
Silver, Transports, and Dow Jones Index At Targets – What Direct Next? - 16th Aug 19
When the US Bond Market Bubble Blows Up! - 16th Aug 19
Dark days are closing in on Apple - 16th Aug 19
Precious Metals Gone Wild! Reaching Initial Targets – Now What’s Next - 16th Aug 19
US Government Is Beholden To The Fed; And Vice-Versa - 15th Aug 19
GBP vs USD Forex Pair Swings Into Focus Amid Brexit Chaos - 15th Aug 19
US Negative Interest Rates Go Mainstream - With Some Glaring Omissions - 15th Aug 19
GOLD BULL RUN TREND ANALYSIS - 15th Aug 19
US Stock Market Could Fall 12% to 25% - 15th Aug 19
A Level Exam Results School Live Reaction Shock 2019! - 15th Aug 19
It's Time to Get Serious about Silver - 15th Aug 19
The EagleFX Beginners Guide – Financial Markets - 15th Aug 19
Central Banks Move To Keep The Global Markets Party Rolling – Part III - 14th Aug 19
You Have to Buy Bonds Even When Interest Rates Are Low - 14th Aug 19
Gold Near Term Risk is Increasing - 14th Aug 19
Installment Loans vs Personal Bank Loans - 14th Aug 19
ROCHE - RHHBY Life Extension Pharma Stocks Investing - 14th Aug 19
Gold Bulls Must Love the Hong Kong Protests - 14th Aug 19
Gold, Markets and Invasive Species - 14th Aug 19
Cannabis Stocks With Millennial Appeal - 14th Aug 19
August 19 (Crazy Ivan) Stock Market Event Only A Few Days Away - 13th Aug 19
This is the real move in gold and silver… it’s going to be multiyear - 13th Aug 19
Global Central Banks Kick Can Down The Road Again - 13th Aug 19
US Dollar Finally the Achillles Heel - 13th Aug 19
Financial Success Formula Failure - 13th Aug 19
How to Test Your Car Alternator with a Multimeter - 13th Aug 19
London Under Attack! Victoria Embankment Gardens Statues and Monuments - 13th Aug 19
More Stock Market Weakness Ahead - 12th Aug 19
Global Central Banks Move To Keep The Party Rolling Onward - 12th Aug 19
All Eyes On Copper - 12th Aug 19
History of Yield Curve Inversions and Gold - 12th Aug 19
Precious Metals Soar on Falling Yields, Currency Turmoil - 12th Aug 19
Why GraphQL? The Benefits Explained - 12th Aug 19
Is the Stock Market Making a V-shaped Recovery? - 11th Aug 19
Precious Metals and Stocks VIX Are About To Pull A “Crazy Ivan” - 11th Aug 19
Social Media Civil War - 11th Aug 19
Gold and the Bond Yield Continuum - 11th Aug 19
Traders: Which Markets Should You Trade? - 11th Aug 19
US Corporate Debt Is at Risk of a Flash Crash - 10th Aug 19
EURODOLLAR futures above 2016 highs: FED to cut over 100 bps quickly - 10th Aug 19
Market’s flight-to-safety: Should You Buy Stocks Now? - 10th Aug 19
The Cold, Hard Math Tells Netflix Stock Could Crash 70% - 10th Aug 19
Our Custom Index Charts Suggest Stock Markets Are In For A Wild Ride - 9th Aug 19
Bitcoin Price Triggers Ahead - 9th Aug 19
Walmart Is Coming for Amazon - 9th Aug 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

U.S. Economy Looking Very Sick Indeed

Economics / Recession 2008 - 2010 Dec 14, 2009 - 03:39 AM GMT

By: Gerard_Jackson

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleNo matter how the administration's friends and media lapdogs try to paint it the US economy is still in rotten shape. In fact, the situation is far worse than most people realise. Manufacturing surveys suggest a slow though steady recovery. I don't buy it, at least not yet. These surveys also report that the situation for unfilled orders is deteriorating, which means that orders for capital goods in the form of machinery is falling. Industrial production for October to October was down  7.1 per cent. Although it's true that industrial production from May to October is up by 2.5 per cent it is still below its 2002 level.


However, as I have pointed out so many times before, manufacturing is the real indicator, and it is down 8 per cent for the year October to October, though it picked up in July it fell again in October. Spending on equipment went positive in July and August before it too turned negative again. There is certainly no sign of a robust recovery here. A genuine recovery should be marked by an increase in the demand for business loans. The following chart shows a steep fall in loans with no upturn in sight.

Some commentators are complaining that the banks are refusing to lend to business. Others have pointed out — rightly in my opinion — that the demand by business for loans is extremely weak. This is only to be expected given the bleak prospects for profits. What 'profits' there are appear to be coming from cost-cutting, which means that revenue and sales haven't picked up. The credit situation has led to the conclusion that consumer spending is being strangled and that this is preventing a recovery. How many times must this be said: consumer spending is only about a third of total economic activity. In addition, it is business spending that needs to be revived, not consumer spending. Those who argue otherwise overlook the fact that ultimately business is the true source of all consumer spending. Their view of the importance of consumer spending could only hold in a two-stage economy. Over 70 years ago it was pointed out:

The larger number of payments is not from consumers to producers, but is made between producers and producers, and tends to cancel out in any computation of net incomer of net product value. "In fact, income produced or net product is roughly only about one-third of gross income." [Italics added]. What is cost for one producer is in part income for some other producer, but part of that income the latter has to pay out in costs to other producers in another stage of the productive process (for intermediate products, raw materials, supplies, etc.), and so on. All that is necessary in order that equilibrium be maintained is that consumers' incomes equal the cost of producing consumers' goods; the total of producers' payments necessarily exceeds that of consumers' incomes. (C. A. Phillips, T. F. McManus and R. W. Nelson, Banking and the Business Cycle, Macmillan and Company 1937, p. 71).

The grim unemployment figures are a stark reflection of the dismal state of the economy. Moreover, they also reveal that the duration of unemployment has lengthened and is now the longest since WWII, indicating that the necessary economic adjustments have yet to be made.

In a desperate attempt to reverse the recession Bernanke let loose with the money supply, more than doubling the monetary base from September 2008 to November 2009 while driving the fed's funds rate down to zero. And still production languishes and the real unemployment rate rises. It seems that someone forgot to tell Bernanke that firms are not going to borrow and hire if there are no prospects of making a profit. And they will most certainly exercise considerable caution in the present political climate where they have to face a situation in which an administration seems completely incapable of grasping even the most basic economic facts and principles.

The chart below uses the Austrian* definition of the money supply. We can see that AMS peaked last June and has since declined while at the same time the monetary base accelerated. As the banking system is the major source of money it is clear from the figures that bank deposits have not been expanding. What we have instead is a massive increase in the reserves of depository institutions which now pose an immense inflationary threat to the US economy. In the meantime, the AMS figure suggest an inadvertent 'monetary tightening' that will have a detrimental impact on economic activity. The fall in capital orders could be an unwelcome sign of this event. We shall see soon enough.

It's time the meaning of recovery was properly understood. It does not merely mean a return to full employment but a situation where an economy is on a sustained path of capital accumulation. In other words, economic growth. Obama's economic policies are in fact anti-growth. His borrowing, spending, taxing, energy and regulatory proposals are a vicious recipe for economic decline, a situation where full employment could only be maintained at an ever lower real wage rate. Attempts to offset this destructive path with a loose monetary policy will only result in accelerating inflation.

Those who blindly support this economic nonsense are no better than Charles Fourier who believed that under socialism the oceans would turn to lemonade.

*There are some differences among Austrians as to what ought to be included in a definition of the money supply. I try adhere to Walter Boyd's view who in his open letter to Prime Minister Pitt in 1801 defined money in the following terms:

By the words 'Means of Circulation', 'Circulating Medium', and 'Currency', which are used almost as synonymous terms in this letter, I understand always ready money, whether consisting of Bank Notes or specie, in contradistinction to Bills of Exchange, Navy Bills, Exchequer Bills, or any other negotiable paper, which form no part of the circulating medium, as I have always understood that term. The latter is the Circulator; the former are merely objects of circulation. (Walter Boyd, A Letter to the Right Honourable William Pitt on the Influence of the Stoppage of Issues in Specie at the Bank of England, on the Prices of Provisions, and other Commodities, 2nd edition, T. Gillet, London, 1801, p. 2).

In simple terms, money is the medium of exchange. Nevertheless, difficulties do arise. Are savings deposits money? This presents the problem of double-counting. If I take $10,000 in cash and deposit it in my savings account it cannot be seriously I argued that I have now expanded the money supply by $10,000. It therefore follows that if the bank lends out that $10,000 the money supply still remains unchanged. We now deduce that credit transactions do not alter the money supply. Whether we include savings deposits in our definition depends on whether or not it involves double-counting.

By Gerard Jackson
BrookesNews.Com

Gerard Jackson is Brookes' economics editor.

Copyright © 2009 Gerard Jackson

Gerard Jackson Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules