sexta-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2008

A visão de um microeconomista sobre a crise

Mario Rizzo sobre os bailouts:

The conventional macroeconomic diagnosis and proposed cures ignore many important factors, including the following:

The “irrationality” is not primarily in the system’s response to the initial financial impulse but in the unsustainable expansion of the housing and other capital markets in the first place. Proposals to prop up the housing market as if its contraction is some kind of unfortunate over-reaction are not credible. Too many resources went into the housing market due to the low interest-rate policy the Fed followed for too long. While housing prices have fallen recently in many markets, they need to fall further. Markets should be allowed to equilibrate.
Equilibrium in the housing market would provide greater transparency to the value of mortgage-backed securities. Lack of certainty about housing prices and the ultimate extent of foreclosures only adds to the problems surrounding the illiquidity of these securities.
Government infusion of capital with the purpose of restoring the status-quo ante ignores the fact that, for example, Fannie and Freddie were over-expanded, the domestic automobile industry is a destroyer of scarce capital, some financial firms did a poor job of allocating risk, banks extended loans under the pressure of the government to people who should not own homes and so forth. Resources were misallocated.

Recessions are not simply crises of confidence or of insufficient demand (due to increases in the demand to hold money). They also have their allocational – or microeconomic – aspects. I suggest that these systemic distortions have an important role in creating the aggregate phenomenon we are witnessing. To treat these distortions and their cure as relatively unimportant is a mistake. In my view investor and consumer confidence follows the correction of the underlying causative distortions and does not precede them. In fact, the dominant macroeconomic policy-framework does not leave room for correcting distortions at all because its basic theme is to restore, prop up, and maintain the current direction of resources.

I do not think that these hastily devised macroeconomic schemes will succeed in promoting recovery because they ignore the microeconomic fundamentals. I do fear, however, that will succeed in fundamentally transforming our economic system for the worse.

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