Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.The Trump Reset, US Empire's Coming Economic, Cyber and Military War With China (2/2) - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Now Is the Time to Buy Gold - 5th Jan 17 - John Grandits
3.CIA Planning Rogue President Donald Trump Assassination? Elites "Manchurian Candidate" Plan B - Nadeem_Walayat
4.The Trump Reset - Regime Change, Russia the Over Hyped Fake News SuperPower (Part1) - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Most Popular Financial Markets Analysis of 2016 - Stock Market Crash Postponed Again - Nadeem_Walayat
6.No UK House Prices Brexit Crash 2016 Despite London Weakness, Forecast 2017 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.President Trump Understands the NSA, CIA... LIE, America's Intelligence Agencies Crime Syndicate! -Nadeem_Walayat
8.President Donald Trump's 2017 New Year Message, BBC Fake News, Was 2016 a Dream? - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Major Stocks Bear Market Still Looms - Zeal_LLC
10.Biased 2017 Forecasts - Debt, Housing and Stock Market (1/2) - James_Quinn
Last 7 days
HBO HOMELAND Bet on HIllary Clinton Winning US Election and LOST - 23rd Jan 17
Stock Market New Highs For 2017? Yes, But When Do I Enter? - 22nd Jan 17
Active vs Passive Investing: And the Winner Is ... - 22nd Jan 17
The Epidemic of Bad Ideas - 22nd Jan 17
Gold Futures Prices Looking Bullish - 22nd Jan 17
Time for Crude Oil Price Drop below $50? - 21st Jan 17
AI and Robotics - We Are All Low-Skilled Workers Now - 21st Jan 17
The Trump RESET Starts on US Presidential Inauguration Day 2017 - What to Expect - 20th Jan 17
Will the CIA Assassinate Rogue President Donald Trump Like JFK? - 19th Jan 17
Bonds, Dollar, Stocks, Gold, Silver Major Markets at Turning Points - 19th Jan 17
Populism; the Danger? What About Debt? - 19th Jan 17
Gold Price 50-DMA Breakout - 19th Jan 17
Turkey, 'Axis of Gold' and End of US Dollar Hegemony - 19th Jan 17
The Most Important Market Chart on the Planet - 19th Jan 17
Trump Deficits Will Be Huge - 19th Jan 17
Stock Market Trading Patience Pays Off with CHK Using Momentum Reversals - 19th Jan 17
Gold - How to "Buy Low and Sell High" Like a Pro - 19th Jan 17
State of the Global Stock, Financial and Commodity Markets Report 2017 - 19th Jan 17
The Hunt for Russia's Next Enemy - 18th Jan 17
Returning Gold Bulls - 18th Jan 17
Biotech Breakthrough Could Create A $11.4 Trillion Opportunity - 18th Jan 17
Bitcoin and Gold - Outlook, Volatility and Safe Haven Diversification - 17th Jan 17
Stock Market Uptrend on Borrowed Time - 17th Jan 17
The One Stock to Retire On - 17th Jan 17
Trump anti-Communist Counter Revolution - 17th Jan 17
US Stock Market Update as the Trump Inauguration Approaches - 17th Jan 17
The American Crisis - Common Sense 2017 - 17th Jan 17
Obama Leaves, Hope Arrives, Will Stupid Stay? - 17th Jan 17
Damage Inflicted by Precious Metals Manipulation Is in the “Multi Billions” - Keith Neumeyer - 17th Jan 17
Gold Price Forecast 2017 Update - Video - 17th Jan 17
The Story of the U.S. Regime Change Plan in the Philippines - 16th Jan 17
Gold Price 2017 Trending Towards $1375 as Forecast - 16th Jan 17
'Deep State' CIA Director States We are Not NAZI's, Warns Trump Does Not Understand Russian Threat - 15th Jan 17
UK House Prices Forecast 2017 - Crash or Bull Market? - Video - 15th Jan 17
SPX Stocks Bull Market Update - 14th Jan 17
President Trump vs the Deep State that Hides in Plain Sight - 14th Jan 17
The Impact of Sir Alex Ferguson's Retirement on Man United's Share Price - 14th Jan 17

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

State of Global Markets 2017 - Report

Generating Economic Optimism, Put On a Happy Face?

Economics / US Economy Sep 27, 2010 - 11:23 AM GMT

By: Douglas_French

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleSince two years of zero interest rates, $800 billion in fiscal stimulus, and the bailout of any business remotely viewed as systemically important haven't resuscitated the dead economy, now the tonic suggested is optimism. American business owners and consumers need to quit getting their daubers down and keep the sunny side up.


George Mason professor of economics Tyler Cowen believes concern over the collective mood is not just for psychologists anymore. Optimism and pessimism are "very relevant to the difficulties that policy makers face: a deficit of optimism has much to do with why the United States economy remains stalled today," writes Professor Cowen in the New York Times.

So the Fed can huff and puff and make itself triple its precrash self, "But if it could just convince Americans that it was committed to monetary expansion and economic growth, it would help the economy pick up speed," according to the George Mason professor.

Cowen goes on to explain that while the Fed is spewing liquidity, people and businesses just aren't holding up their end of the stimulus bargain. The common folk out in the real world have increased their demand for liquidity. They are spitting in the face of Fed bureaucrats and college professors who can't figure out why folks aren't taking advantage of the cheap money, flipping their calendars back to the bubble years, and buying bigger homes, bigger cars, and bigger flat screens.

Brother Bernanke is preaching the way to economic salvation, Cowen claims, but the congregation is unsure of the Fed chair's conviction. Cowen writes, "If no one believes the Fed's commitment to price inflation, spending and employment will not go up. The plan will fail, and people will view their skepticism as vindicated."

The Fed needs to boldly go where no central bank has gone since John Law's Banque Royale, according to top economists. Once more with feeling, the Fed must promise "a credible commitment to a more expansionary monetary policy."

But Professor Cowen has this all backwards. The Fed created this mess by slashing interest rates after 9/11 and the bursting of the dot-com stock bubble. The money flowed into all types of real estate. That money and credit created not only redundant brick and mortar malinvestments, but more jobs were created to build the unneeded subdivisions, shopping centers, and office buildings.

Employment at city halls all over America ballooned to handle vital services like checking plans and issuing permits. Retailers staffed up to handle the hordes of shoppers who used their homes as ATM machines. Dare we say, most everyone was overoptimistic. Not because they took a pill or watched Dr. Phil, but because they were spending the cheap and easy credit they thought would never end.

Now the bubble has burst, and those at the Fed and in academia believe rock-bottom interest rates should make entrepreneurs and consumers optimistic again. After all, they plugged low rates into their formulas and it worked — on paper. But it doesn't. Because the crisis, the downturn, is the cleansing of the malinvestments brought on by the previous blast of monetary expansion.

"Why should hardheaded businessmen, schooled in trying to maximize their profits, suddenly fall victim to such psychological swings?" asks Murray Rothbard in Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market. "In fact, the crisis brings bankruptcies regardless of the emotional state of particular entrepreneurs."

Rothbard quotes V. Lewis Bassie, who wrote in "Recent Developments in Short-Term Forecasting," Studies in Income and Wealth:

The whole psychological theory of the business cycle appears to be hardly more than an inversion of the real causal sequence. Expectations more nearly derive from objective conditions than produce them. The businessman both expands and expects that his expansion will be profitable because the conditions he sees justifies the expansion…. It is not the wave of optimism that makes times good. Good times are almost bound to bring a wave of optimism with them. On the other hand, when the decline comes, it comes not because anyone loses confidence, but because the basic economic forces are changing.

So this whole "put on a happy face" theory is hokum. And at least one market analyst, Robert Prechter, believes that optimism still reigns, at least in the investment world. Investors aren't down in the dumps, Prechter writes in his latest The Elliott Wave Theorist report. Mutual funds are nearly 97 percent invested and investor sentiment indexes are high.

Prechter dissects an article from Bloomberg entitled "Atlanta Awash in Empty Offices Struggles to Recover From Building Binge," listing more than a dozen negative facts about that market referenced in the article. Yet the opinions the reporter found to quote in the article were positive, such as "Owners of troubled properties … said they remain optimistic," and "[A] senior vice president … said in an e-mail, 'Our outlook is positive'."

A new office tower on Peachtree Street may be 98 percent empty, distressed sales may be nearly half the market, and in-migration has fallen 82 percent in Atlanta, but those in the real-estate business are keeping their rose-colored glasses on. As are Warren Buffett and GE's Jeff Immelt, who claim things are getting better and there is no chance for a double-dip.

As long as the Fed keeps printing and academia keeps rolling out new theories, the cleansing of the multiple booms created by Fed interventions will continue for years. Those operating in the here and now of the real world have figured out that they should be deleveraging and saving. That may be interpreted by policy makers as doom and gloom, but it's just good sense.

Douglas French is president of the Mises Institute and author of Early Speculative Bubbles & Increases in the Money Supply. He received his masters degree in economics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, under Murray Rothbard with Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe serving on his thesis committee. See his tribute to Murray Rothbard. Send him mail. See Doug French's article archives. Comment on the blog.

© 2010 Copyright Douglas French - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2016 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

Catching a Falling Financial Knife