Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
Dow Stock Market Short-term and Long-term Trend Analysis - 28th Nov 20
How To Spot The End Of An Excess Market Trend Phase – Part II - 28th Nov 20
BLOCKCHAIN INVESTMENT PRIMER - 28th Nov 20
The Gold Stocks Correction is Maturing - 28th Nov 20
Biden and Yellen Pushed Gold Price Down to $1,800 - 28th Nov 20
Sheffield Christmas Lights 2020 - Peace Gardens vs 2019 and 2018 - 28th Nov 20
MUST WATCH Before You Waste Money on Buying A New PC Computer System - 27th Nov 20
Gold: Insurance for Prudent Investors, Precious Metals Reduce Risk & Preserve Wealth - 27th Nov 20
How To Spot The End Of An Excess Market Trend Phase - 27th Nov 20
Snow Falling Effect Christmas Lights Outdoor Projector Amazon Review - 27th Nov 20
4 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Put off Your Roof Repairs - 27th Nov 20
Further Clues Reveal Gold’s Weakness - 26th Nov 20
Fun Things to Do this Christmas - 26th Nov 20
Industries that Require Secure Messaging Apps - 26th Nov 20
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis - 25th Nov 20
Amazon Black Friday Dell 32 Inch S3220DGF VA Curved Screen Gaming Monitor Bargain Deal! - 25th Nov 20
Biden the Silver Bull - 25th Nov 20
Inflation Warning to the Fed: Be Careful What You Wish For - 25th Nov 20
Financial Stocks Sector ETF Shows Unique Island Setup – What Next? - 25th Nov 20
Herd Immunity or Herd Insolvency: Which Will Affect Gold More? - 25th Nov 20
Stock Market SEASONAL TREND and ELECTION CYCLE - 24th Nov 20
Amazon Black Friday - Karcher K7 FC Pressure Washer Assembly and 1st Use - Is it Any Good? - 24th Nov 20
I Dislike Shallow People And Shallow Market Pullbacks - 24th Nov 20
Small Traders vs. Large Traders vs. Commercials: Who Is Right Most Often? - 24th Nov 20
10 Reasons You Should Trade With a Regulated Broker In UK - 24th Nov 20
Stock Market Elliott Wave Analysis - 23rd Nov 20
Evolution of the Fed - 23rd Nov 20
Gold and Silver Now and Then - A Comparison - 23rd Nov 20
Nasdaq NQ Has Stalled Above a 1.382 Fibonacci Expansion Range Three Times - 23rd Nov 20
Learn How To Trade Forex Successfully - 23rd Nov 20
Market 2020 vs 2016 and 2012 - 22nd Nov 20
Gold & Silver - Adapting Dynamic Learning Shows Possible Upside Price Rally - 22nd Nov 20
Stock Market Short-term Correction - 22nd Nov 20
Stock Market SPY/SPX Island Setups Warn Of A Potential Reversal In This Uptrend - 21st Nov 20
Why Budgies Make Great Pets for Kids - 21st Nov 20
How To Find The Best Dry Dog Food For Your Furry Best Friend?  - 21st Nov 20
The Key to a Successful LGBT Relationship is Matching by Preferences - 21st Nov 20
Stock Market Dow Long-term Trend Analysis - 20th Nov 20
Margin: How Stock Market Investors Are "Reaching for the Stars" - 20th Nov 20
World’s Largest Free-Trade Pact Inspiration for Global Economic Recovery - 20th Nov 20
Dating Sites Break all the Stereotypes About Distance - 20th Nov 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Is There A New Global Consensus About Cheating Investors To Reboot Employment?

Stock-Markets / Stock Markets 2014 Nov 26, 2014 - 01:56 AM GMT

By: Dan_Amerman

Stock-Markets

If a new collaborative document had recently been released in which some of the world's most influential economists were urging the nations of the world to force negative returns on savers as a long-term matter of policy – might this be of importance to you?

What if many of the world's leading economists believed that the path for the economic future could be one that directly contradicts the assumptions upon which traditional stock and bond investing is based? Might that be an important development to consider as you decide how to invest your retirement assets?


Neither of the above questions are hypothetical, unfortunately, but in fact relate to the contents of an extraordinary e-book titled, "Secular Stagnation:  Facts, Causes and Cures", edited by Coen Teulings and Richard Baldwin.  In this publication, a number of prominent economists discuss a possible state of "secular stagnation" (with "secular" in economics jargon meaning the long term – typically at least 10 years and more).

As presented in this book, we are now six years into a period of economic stagnation, and there are serious concerns that we are just getting started.  Indeed there is the fear that this may be the beginning of a "new normal", in which we never do reach full employment or fully reboot economic growth again, but instead are stuck in a world of low economic growth, very low interest rates and persistent high unemployment rates.

The Urgent Need To Take Wealth From Savers And Investors

Published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), the document is remarkable in both its purpose and its contributors.  That is, the explicitly-stated purpose is not to discuss academic theory, but rather to put information into the hands of policy makers so that actions can be taken.  Contributors to the book include Lawrence Summers and Paul Krugman, as well as numerous economists from such institutions as Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, the International Monetary Fund and also the Principal Economist for the Executive Board of the European Central Bank.

While there are a diversity of views expressed on some matters, there are other areas in which the contributors are in strong consensus.

And the first area of "strong consensus" is the following, from the top of (document) page 2:

"First, a workable definition of secular stagnation is that negative real interest rates are needed to equate savings and investment with full employment."

Now what does "negative real interest rates" mean? Quite simply it means that interest rates are held down to beneath the rate of inflation. Which further means that the purchasing power of saver wealth steadily erodes each year rather than growing and compounding.

The second part of this statement is also very important.

Across Europe in particular but also in the United States, when we get away from calculations for the "headline" unemployment rate and we look to full unemployment which includes people who haven't looked for some time (as covered here), there is a major problem with structural unemployment and underemployment, particularly among the young.

And in the opinion of this prominent group of economists from around the globe – with that opinion forming the basis of the very specific policy advice that they're giving to national governments – the best way for addressing these stubborn unemployment issues is through forcing negative real rates of returns onto savers and investors, potentially for year, after year, after year.

Now again, this is secular economic stagnation that is being discussed, meaning long term.

This then creates the astonishing situation where tens of millions of people continue to save and invest in the belief that they will be getting positive wealth creation through the compounding of interest income in their savings and investments – even while some of the globe's leading economists urge the world's governments to make sure that doesn't happen, because of the quite direct linkage they draw between negative real returns and the goal of rebooting employment.

Secular Stagnation And Stock Market Values

In very short form, the theoretical underpinnings for why it has been so widely recommended that all of us invest in stocks over the long-term is quite simply that investing in stocks is how we all participate in a growing economy.

Average dividend ratios are currently below 2%. That means therefore that the primary source of the compounding of real wealth – and the fundamental motivation for investing in stocks – effectively must come from economic growth driving price appreciation.

And with stock market levels at some of their highest points in history, this necessarily means that a great deal of economic growth has to occur, if these prices are to be justified.

Yet at the very same time, what is the rationale for this book? It is the question about whether the past applies anymore at all, or whether we have instead entered into a long term period of economic stagnation where growth either does not exist or it is greatly reduced.

And what does that mean for stock market investors?

If in fact these economists are correct, it means that the floor just dropped out from underneath the primary reason for long term investment in stocks.

The Dilemma For Savers And Investors

Does this mean that we know for sure that we face an environment of secular economic stagnation that will transform the investment world and quite possibly lead to long-term negative returns on an inflation-adjusted basis for both bonds and stocks?

I would suggest that we don't know that for certain at all – because if this elite group of economists were really that good, they would've called this whole current situation in the first place. But they didn't.

Leaving specific individuals out of it, as a group these leading economists failed to anticipate the damage that would be inflicted by the creation and subsequent collapse of the US stock bubble of the late 1990s; they then failed to see that lowering interest rates in the early 2000s in an attempt to contain the damage from the stock bubble would help to create a real estate bubble; they further failed to anticipate that a real estate bubble growing and then popping would contribute to – and help trigger – the global financial crisis that came to a head in 2008, and for a number of years afterwards they did not understand that years of economic stagnation rather than normal recovery would follow.

So the overall track record isn't exactly stellar, particularly when we take into account that some of these economists were the same ones who recommended the failed policies that helped create this toxic array of new problems in the first place.

Perhaps the real bottom line is that we face a deeply uncertain future.  It could be secular stagnation and a continuation of the path of recent years.  Or it could be eventual financial crisis and potential currency and economic meltdown.  Or it could be technological advances finding an alternative path out of secular stagnation, through the creation of prosperity.

Nonetheless, there is still enormous information value in this new book, which arguably is neither currently understood nor being taken into account by the great majority of investors on a global basis.

That is, when we consider the full implications of what is being discussed in the document, it goes to the very heart of what underlies modern financial theory – and effectively cuts the foundation out from beneath what is by far the most popular school of investment thought, which is that of traditional stock and bond-based financial planning.

Many of the world's savers and investors have been receiving near-zero interest rates for going on four years now – and we have a group of world-renowned economists recommending to their governments that this be continued on an indefinite basis.

Part Two

The second half of this article continues the look at the dilemma which secular stagnation creates for investors following traditional strategies.

The "Flows & Currents of Wealth" system for financial and economic analysis identifies the wealth outflows that result from governmental efforts to fight secular stagnation. There is also discussion of how those same outflows for traditional investors become wealth inflows on a massive scale for governments, major financial institutions, and those individuals following select non-conventional strategies.

Continue Reading The Article

Daniel R. Amerman, CFA

Website: http://danielamerman.com/

E-mail:  mail@the-great-retirement-experiment.com

Daniel R. Amerman, Chartered Financial Analyst with MBA and BSBA degrees in finance, is a former investment banker who developed sophisticated new financial products for institutional investors (in the 1980s), and was the author of McGraw-Hill's lead reference book on mortgage derivatives in the mid-1990s. An outspoken critic of the conventional wisdom about long-term investing and retirement planning, Mr. Amerman has spent more than a decade creating a radically different set of individual investor solutions designed to prosper in an environment of economic turmoil, broken government promises, repressive government taxation and collapsing conventional retirement portfolios

© 2014 Copyright Dan Amerman - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: This article contains the ideas and opinions of the author.  It is a conceptual exploration of financial and general economic principles.  As with any financial discussion of the future, there cannot be any absolute certainty.  What this article does not contain is specific investment, legal, tax or any other form of professional advice.  If specific advice is needed, it should be sought from an appropriate professional.  Any liability, responsibility or warranty for the results of the application of principles contained in the article, website, readings, videos, DVDs, books and related materials, either directly or indirectly, are expressly disclaimed by the author.


© 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