Thursday, January 15, 2009

Something for Nothing

I came across this article yesterday. Saville doesn't really say anything which I haven't read in multiple places, but he says it very well and quite succinctly.

Trying to get Something for Nothing

by Steve Saville 10-21-2008

The current predicament was not caused by insufficient government regulation and the risk of future disruptions will not be mitigated by increased government regulation. The mortgage market was already heavily regulated prior to the crisis, but had it been even more regulated and had the regulations severely crimped, rather than boosted, the abilities and desires of financial corporations to expand the supply of mortgage-related instruments, then the focal point of the boom would have shifted; however, bubbles would still have formed somewhere and these bubbles would subsequently have burst, leaving financial wreckage and major economic dislocations in their wake (the bust is always and everywhere a consequence of the preceding boom)...

Now that the investment boom has gone bust and the necessary adjustment process has begun, we are being told incessantly that the solution to the problems caused by massive increases in the supplies of money and credit is additional massive increases in the supplies of money and credit. And given that the private banking industry is no longer capable of driving the monetary expansion, we are being told that the central bank and the government must become even more involved...

Whether the advocates of increased government spending and the various other re-inflation policies realise it or not, at the root of their proposed 'solutions' to the crisis is the idea that it is possible to get something for nothing. It is axiomatic that an increase in production must precede a sustained increase in consumption; that saving is the basis of long-term economic growth; that no individual can become rich by spending more than he earns; and that no country can become wealthy, or recover from a recession, by consuming more than it produces. And yet, most commentators have deluded themselves into believing that you can get around the problem of inadequate real savings by simply increasing the supply of the medium of exchange, and that you can bypass the need for increased consumption to be funded by increased production by simply getting the government to spend like a drunken sailor.

Sweet summary, isn't it? Truly, the whole article is worth a read.

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