Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
Silver Springboards Higher – What’s Next? - 26th May 20
Stock Market Key Resistance Breakout Is Where the Rubber Meets the Road - 26th May 20
5 Ways To Amp Up Your CFD Trading Today - 26th May 20
The Anatomy of a Gold Stock Bull Market - 26th May 20
Stock Market Critical Price Level Could Soon Prompt A Big Move - 25th May 20
Will Powell Decouple Gold from the Stock Market? - 25th May 20
How Muslims Celebrated EID in Lockdown Britain 2020 - UK - 25th May 20
Stock Market Topping Behavior - 24th May 20
Fed Action Accelerates Boom-Bust Cycle; Not A Virus Crisis - 23rd May 20
Gold Silver Miners and Stocks (after a quick drop) Ready to Explode - 23rd May 20
3 Ways to Prepare Financially for Retirement - 23rd May 20
4 Essential Car Trade-In Tips To Get The Best Value - 23rd May 20
Budgie Heaven at Bird Land - 23rd May 20
China’s ‘Two Sessions’ herald Rebound of Economy - 22nd May 20
Signs Of Long Term Devaluation US Real Estate - 22nd May 20
Reading the Tea Leaves of Gold’s Upcoming Move - 22nd May 20
Gold, Silver, Mining Stocks Teeter On The Brink Of A Breakout - 21st May 20
Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus - 21st May 20
Do No Credit Check Loans Online Instant Approval Options Actually Exist? - 21st May 20
An Eye-Opening Perspective: Emerging Markets and Epidemics - 21st May 20
US Housing Market Covid-19 Crisis - 21st May 20
The Coronavirus Just Hit the “Fast-Forward” Button on These Three Industries - 21st May 20
AMD Zen 3 Ryzen 9 4950x Intel Destroying 24 core 48 thread Processor? - 21st May 20
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - 20th May 20
The Credit Markets Gave Their Nod to the S&P 500 Upswing - 20th May 20
Where to get proper HGH treatment in USA - 20th May 20
Silver Is Ensured A Prosperous 2020 Thanks To The Fed - 20th May 20
It’s Not Only Palladium That You Better Listen To - 20th May 20
DJIA Stock Market Technical Trend Analysis - 19th May 20
US Real Estate Showing Signs Of Covid19 Collateral Damage - 19th May 20
Gold Stocks Fundamental Indicators - 19th May 20
Why This Wave is Usually a Market Downturn's Most Wicked - 19th May 20
Gold Mining Stocks Flip from Losses to 5x Leveraged Gains! - 19th May 20
Silver Price Begins To Accelerate Higher Faster Than Gold - 19th May 20
Gold Will Soar Soon; World Now Faces 'Monetary Armageddon' - 19th May 20
Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 18th May 20
Why the Largest Cyberattack in History Will Happen Within Six Months - 18th May 20
New AMD Ryzen 4900x and 4950x Zen3 4th Gen Processors Clock Speed and Cores Specs - 18th May 20
Learn How to Play the Violin, Kids Activities and Learning During Lockdown - 18th May 20
The Great Economy Reopening Gamble - 17th May 20
Powell Sends a Message With Love for Gold - 17th May 20
An Economic Renaissance Emerges – Stock Market Look Out Below - 17th May 20
Learn more about the UK Casino Self-exclusion - 17th May 20
Will Stocks Lead the Way Lower for Gold Miners? - 15th May 20
Are Small-Cap Stocks (Russell 2k) Headed For A Double Dip? - 15th May 20
Coronavirus Will Wipe Out These Three Industries for Good - 15th May 20
Gold and Silver: As We Go from Deflation to Hyperinflation - 15th May 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Coronavirus-stocks-bear-market-2020-analysis

Keynsian Animal Spirits

Economics / Economic Theory Sep 24, 2012 - 05:03 AM GMT

By: Alasdair_Macleod

Economics

The BBC is running a three-part series on notable economists, starting with Keynes. There were a number of errors made, but I shall ignore those and address two Keynesian fallacies. The first was that Keynes correctly anticipated the economic and political consequences of the Versailles Treaty, which inflicted punitive reparations on Germany: this was true. It was bizarrely extrapolated to the current situation, concluding that Germany must reduce its prosperity and economic power to a level closer to that of the other Eurozone countries in the interests of economic balance.


The second point was that Keynes described unexpected changes in economic behaviour as "animal spirits". Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England no less, said on the programme that it was the best explanation for the banking crisis five years ago. To describe such an event in those terms is not an explanation and exposes a yawning gap in King’s knowledge.

"Animal spirits" amount to the failure of Keynesians to explain a basic phenomenon of human action. The origin of the phrase, if the programme is to be believed, comes from Keynes’s unsuccessful attempts to predict stock market prices. We have all been there: we invent a fool-proof trading system only to see it fail in practice. "Animal spirits" is a substitute for understanding that it is impossible to predict tomorrow’s prices with certainty, whether they be of financial assets or of goods.

Prices change for one of two reasons. Either there is a change in the value of the goods being exchanged for money, or there is a change in the value of the money used. The banking crisis to which King referred was about a sudden change in the value of money.

Before the crisis, banks were willing to lend, and consumers were willing to borrow to buy. The prerequisite was continually expanding credit, a process that was bound to end sometime. And when it did, the consequence of a change in the availability of money was an increase in its value to the consumer, and the result was a fall in prices. "Animal spirits" is an attempt to summarise this effect without understanding it.

Left alone, prices would have adjusted to new lower levels. Government action was focused on stopping this happening, by introducing schemes such as car scrappage, or cash-for-clunkers, to encourage demand. At the same time central banks flooded the banking system with money to stop its value rising. Prices were therefore prevented from adjusting to the bursting of the credit bubble. This Keynesian solution has another fallacy at its heart, clearly stated by the experts, including King, on the programme. They believe that production has to be subsidised in order to keep unemployment down. If people remain employed, they will spend, and that gets the economy back on track. This analysis is incorrect: as we have seen, the problem is prices, not production.

The order of events does not start with production, it starts with consumption. If prices are too high, because of a change in the value of money, then they must fall if consumers are to be tempted. The fall in prices exposes over-valued productive capacity. It is an adjustment that must occur, and no amount of subsidy and money-printing to address "animal spirits" can change that. And the sooner it happens, the sooner an economy gets back on track.

The next programme is on Hayek, which should be less contentious, except to those academics who rely on an unquestioning belief in place of reasoned analysis.

Alasdair Macleod runs FinanceAndEconomics.org, a website dedicated to sound money and demystifying finance and economics. Alasdair has a background as a stockbroker, banker and economist. He is also a contributor to GoldMoney - The best way to buy gold online.

© 2012 Copyright Alasdair Macleod - 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.


© 2005-2019 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