資產與債務

kRiZcPEc早前問我中國的債務問題,我回答說考慮債務同時也需要考慮資產。Paul Krugman同意這個看法並對債務對經濟的影響這個問題作出補充:

The fact is that there really aren’t a lot of episodes in which advanced countries had high debt, and many of those episodes — like Japan or Italy in recent decades — are clearly associated with growth slowdowns that were happening for other reasons.Why, exactly, would you expect to see countries doing well have high debt in the first place?

The main exceptions are wars and their aftermath — and those can be problematic too. The original R-R paper highlighted slow growth just after World War II in the US — but that wasn’t the burden of debt, it was the end of wartime mobilization, with Rosie the Riveter going back to being a housewife.

Look, here’s a picture of British debt and growth since 1950. I show the debt level on the left axis, the 10-year forward per capita growth rate — Britain’s rate of per capita growth in the 10 years after each date — on the right axis. If high debt were a huge problem for growth, you should have expected British performance in the first part of this figure to be terrible, since the country came out of WWII with debt twice as high as the R-R red line. You don’t:

040913krugman1-blog480任何想討論經濟的人都需要知道這個事實:債務與經濟並無必然的影響。經濟增長才是考慮的重點。只要經濟增長速度高於債務增加的速度,債務不足為懼。

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