The debt-inflation cycle and the global financial crisis
Writing over 230 years ago, Adam Smith noted the 'juggling trick' whereby governments hide the extent of their public debt through 'pretend payments.' As the fiscal crises around the world illustrate, this juggling trick has run its course. This paper explores the relevance of Smith’s juggling trick in the context of dominant fiscal and monetary policies. It is argued that government spending intended to maintain stability, avoid deflation, and stimulate the economy leads to significant increases in the public debt. This public debt is sustainable for a period of time and can be serviced through 'pretend payments' such as subsequent borrowing or the printing of money. However, at some point borrowing is no longer a feasible option as the state's creditworthiness erodes. The only recourse is the monetarization of the debt which is also unsustainable due to the threat of hyperinflation.
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- Peter J Boettke & Daniel J. Smith & Nicholas A. Snow, 2011.
"Been There Done That: The Political Economy of Déjà Vu,"
in: The Global Financial Crisis, chapter 1
Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Boettke, Peter & Smith, Daniel & Snow, Nicholas, 2011. "Been there done that: the political economy of Déjà Vu," MPRA Paper 32094, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Boettke, Peter, 2012. "A behavioral approach to the political and economic inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 753-756.
- Boettke, Peter, 2011. "A behavioral approach to the political and economic inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations," MPRA Paper 32376, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Jerry H Tempelman, 2009. "Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan;National Association for Business Economics, vol. 44(3), pages 182-183, July.
- Adam Smith & Richard Wagner & Bruce Yandle, 2011. "A theory of entangled political economy, with application to TARP and NRA," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 45-66, July.
- John B. Taylor, 2009. "Getting Off Track - How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis," Books, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, number 3. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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