The weather has been great in the Grand Tetons. Sunny, highs in the 80s, lows in the 40s with a chance of thunderstorms (always a possibility when central bankers gather). Grand Teton, Mt. Owen, and Teewinot look down in all their majesty on Jackson Lake Lodge, where the world top financial officials can try to spot moose feeding in Willow Flats below, sip a merlot on the Sunset Terrace, and contemplate the limitations of their tools to manipulate the world’s financial problems while meeting in the Explorers Room.
One thing the central bankers will be unlikely to do – mingle with the millions of people around the world who have become unemployed because of their policies. Theoretically, they will be looking ahead to a better more, prosperous world. Fat chance. "When Kansas City Fed leaders decided months ago on the topic of this year's conference — "Achieving Maximum Long-Run Growth" — they did so advisedly," wrote the Washington Post'sNeil Irwin. "The implicit message was that the focus of the world's economic policymakers was no longer about financial crisis firefighting, but about laying the groundwork for a stronger global economy over the longer run. It's not about growth in the next quarter but in the next decade, or three. In hindsight, the topic seems almost aspirational. If only the world were in position to worry about the long term, rather than the short term!"
For Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the annual conclave offers him the opportunity to give a sort of “State of the World Economy” address. In advance of his speech Friday, the markets gave a thumbs down to what he might say and the dollar fell against the euro and the yen. Friday morning, Bernanke announced essentially a wait-and see approach to monetary policy without closing the door to the quantitative easy that has flooded the world with U.S. dollars: “We will continue to consider those and other pertinent issues, including, of course, economic financial developments, at our meeting in September.”
Unhelpfully, Bernanke observed: "Fortunately, the two goals of achieving fiscal sustainability — which is the result of responsible policies set in place for the longer term — and avoiding the creation of fiscal head winds for the current recovery are not incompatible." But he batted the ball for fiscal recovery to Congress and the Executive branch for them to devise "policies that support robust economic growth in the long term."
A bit more clearly, he said of the problems of European governments and banks: "It's difficult to judge how much these developments have affected economic activity so far, but there seems little doubt that they have hurt household and business confidence and that they pose ongoing risks to growth."
So, while the East Coast battened down for a hurricane, out west it was policy as usual, the same ones that got us in this mess. Have another merlot. Thunderstorms predicted for Saturday.
Will America start prospering again — as it has not prospered for over a decade? Likely yes. But not without a fight. Now that Jim DeMint has raided Steve Moore from the Wall Street Journal that card might be Heritage Foundation vs. the White House. Could be big.
John Holdren, now Obama’s White House science advisor, 40 years ago termed America “overdeveloped.” Holdren co-authored a 1993 book, Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, with Anne and Paul Ehrlich reportedly saying that, “A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States….” (Emphasis supplied.)
As a soldier of France, no one knew better than Professor Jacques Rueff, the famous French central banker, that World War I had brought to an end the preeminence of the classical European states system and its monetary regime, the classical gold standard. World War I had decimated the flower of European youth; it had destroyed the European continent’s industrial primacy. No less ominously, the historic monetary standard of commercial civilization had collapsed into the ruins occasioned by the Great War. The international gold standard -- the gyroscope of the Industrial Revolution, the common currency of the world trading system, the guarantor of more than one-hundred years of a stable monetary system, the balance wheel of unprecedented economic growth -- all this was brushed aside by the belligerents.
Publisher's Note: Originally released in June/July of 1991, this detailed report discusses Jacques Rueff's economic theories and applies them to modern economic events.
By John D. Mueller
A Rueffian Synthesis
LBMC’s integrated approach to economic forecasting can fairly be called “the Rueffian synthesis.” It would be more modest to call it “a” Rueffian synthesis, since that would allow for other Rueffians who might conceivably quibble about our application of Rueff’s ideas. But it appears that, apart from LBMC, there are no other Rueffians in the world – even in Rueff’s native France – using Rueff’s ideas as a basis for economic prediction.
"Commercial banking grew out of the desire (inspired by the profit motive) to conserve cash (gold) and by means of credit to provide financial elasticity and growth in the commercial process of exchange. That is, all producers (sellers) who desired true money (gold), instead of the short-term secured credit bills – promissory notes of their customers (the buyers) – could, through the mediation of goldsmiths-turned-bankers and bill-merchants-turned-bankers, obtain real money by discounting their bills of exchange for gold with the emerging commercial bankers of early modern Europe. The combined institutions of stable money and secured credit enabled commercial civilization to make of the entire world the only closed economy."
Argentina is floundering. Brazil is struggling. Colombia is growing. Colombia is now the third largest economy in Latin America, according to Capital Economics. The Wall Street Journal’s Darcy Crowe and Taos Turner wrote recently: “After Argentina’s economy dwarfed Colombia’s for decades, economists say the trend reversed in January as the...
One of the themes for the Akan gold counterweights is the electric mudfish.
Image courtesy of AfricanMasks.info
Spark From The Deep by William Turkel has this to say about the fish upon which this counterweight is modeled:
The electric catfish also played an important role in the west African kingdom of Benin, which...