Sunday, November 23, 2014

Central Banks: When We Succeed, We Fail

Goosing stocks ever higher will eventually push wealth inequality to the point that it unleashes social instability.

Central banks around the world share a few simple goals:

1. Defeat deflation by sparking inflation--in the cost of goods and services, not wages.

2. Weaken the currency to boost exports and counter beggar thy neighbor devaluations by other exporting nations and trading blocs.

3. Boost the value of stocks to keep pension plans afloat and project a politically powerful message of "growth" and "prosperity."

What no central bank dares say is what happens should they manage to boost inflation, devalue their currency and continue pushing assets higher: when we succeed, we fail.

Consider the consequences of juicing inflation: every click up in inflation further reduces the purchasing power of wages, which do not keep up with inflation in a world of labor surplus.

When central banks succeed in jacking up inflation, they will fail the households and enterprises whose income is stagnating or declining:Were European Central Bank head Mario Draghi honest, here is what he would say:

Devaluing one's currency is another way of pushing down the purchasing power of households' income and savings. Were Bank of Japan head Haruhiko Kuroda honest, here is what he would say:

Goosing stocks ever higher will eventually push wealth inequality to the point that it unleashes social instability. Were Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen honest, here is what she would say:

Should central banks succeed in jacking up inflation, devaluing the purchasing power of fiat currencies and pushing stocks to the moon, they will have failed their citizenry. Should they succeed in reaching their goals, they will trigger catastrophic instability.

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go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.

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"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube) 

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