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Mauldin Economics' Patrick Watson sees a new world emerging post-COVID-19 with changes for globalisation and labour market dynamics, and potential ahead for a Great Reset, or debt jubilee

Mauldin Economics' Patrick Watson sees a new world emerging post-COVID-19 with changes for globalisation and labour market dynamics, and potential ahead for a Great Reset, or debt jubilee

The world we knew as normal three months ago won't be coming back ever, a Great Reset or debt jubilee could be brewing, and aspects of globalisation are reversing as the COVID-19 pandemic grips the world.

So says Patrick Watson, senor economic analyst at Mauldin Economics.

Watson, who is based in Austin, Texas, says many countries are learning that being dependent on other countries for critical medicine, medical equipment, even something as simple as swabs to take nasal samples, isn't ideal.

"All these goods that for a long time seamlessly flowed around, were there when we needed them [but] aren't there now. Governments are going to want to make sure that doesn't happen again. So we will see pressure for a lot of those sort of things to be produced locally, or at least stockpiled locally, and that's going to raise costs," says Watson.

"You're going to see the price of some goods rise because they're not going to be manufactured in the place where they can be made most efficiently. That's going to be a partial reversal of globalisation. And globalisation is already reversing in my view due to technology. Robots don't care where you put them. They will work equally hard, and they cost about the same, whether they're in Christchurch, or Shanghai or Chicago. So the lower labour cost that allowed developed countries to save money by outsourcing manufacturing to Asia, that's going away anyhow. So it won't be a straight line, I think it will happen in fits and starts, but globalisation is on the downswing for sure."

In terms of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Watson says this will be a severe recession, and a much slower economy until there's a vaccine or effective treatment for the virus.

"And I don't know how long that will be, it could be a year or two. Once the most immediate threat passes, within the next month or two, we'll probably be able to leave our homes a little bit more freely but it's still going to be different. We're going to be wearing masks everywhere we go. We're not going to have mass gatherings of concerts and sporting events. Restaurants are going to have to space out their tables more widely."

"All these things add up to a cost. Unemployment's going to run very high. So that's going to last for a while and we may yet get more waves of this pandemic. It's coming back in Singapore for instance, they thought they'd beat it down and it seems to be coming back, same in Japan. So we don't know medically how this is going to play out. But economically I think the best case says we're going to have a deep recession here for a while," Watson says.

"After that a lot depends on how attitudes have changed and how businesses have reorganised, The world we saw as normal three months ago is not going to come back ever. We are going to go through a transition period here and then we're going to have something different. It's not yet clear what that will be, but I certainly think it will be unlike what we have seen before."

In terms of the response to the economic downturn from US authorities, Watson describes it as a strange blend of things.

"There's 50 states each of which is independent in some ways but only the Federal Government can run deficits and it controls the currency. So it is really the ultimate backstop. You have the strange situation where state and local governments are bearing many of the expenses - the hospitals and a lot of the social payments. But at the same time their tax revenues are falling because people aren't spending money and generating sales tax so they're in a pickle."

"And there's a big bind in Washington of whether the Federal Government will help them. Meanwhile you have the central bank, the Federal Reserve, now working in partnership with the Treasury ...using an amount of taxpayer money as a backstop that they can leverage to buy all sorts of corporate bonds and other assets, private assets. And that is proving helpful to the markets. [But] I'm pretty sure it's not going to be helpful to the economy in the long run because they're simply encouraging businesses, some of which probably should fail, to keep them alive and they'll become zombie companies not being efficient in the way that the economy needs to grow. So this is going to be a big problem," says Watson..

"And all this money that they're spending is adding to our debt which is already quite huge. So where that's going to be paid no one knows. It's all quite unprecedented and hard to say where this ends."

Is a Great Reset looming?

The Federal Reserve's balance sheet has now passed US$6 trillion, and the US national debt, which measures how much the US Government owes its creditors, has topped US$24 trillion. Mauldin Economics' John Mauldin has written extensively over recent years about the idea of a Great Reset, which would see global debt rationalised through some form of non-payment.

Watson says the current recession may accelerate a Great Reset.

"I think it was coming anyway but this is probably going to accelerate it. Prior to all this John was saying that he thinks the 2020s are going to be the run-up to a Great Reset and in 10 years or so worldwide debt would grow to a point where it's simply un-payable. And if it's un-payable then it won't be paid," says Watson.

"So how do you organise that? What he calls the Great Reset  would be a kind of global coordinated debt jubilee as was done in the Old Testament times, that periodically all debts are just forgiven and we wipe the slate clean and just start over. And that would be really ugly in some ways because there would be winners and losers, but it would be possibly the best of a bad set of options."

Such a scenario would require some form of international co-ordination and Watson acknowledges there's currently a stark lack of this in combatting COVID-19, describing this as a terrible complication.

"We don't have co-ordination between nations to the degree we should and have in previous crises. That may yet come because it's necessary if there's to be any sort of good outcome to this. So hopefully the people who are preventing that will come to their senses or be replaced with someone who sees it differently," says Watson.

Privatising profits, socialising losses

Watson recently wrote an article entitled coronavirus socialism and says he's disappointed at the way US authorities are bailing out major private companies.

"I think we have to make distinctions here. There are large numbers of very small businesses that operate on the edge already - restaurants, shops, small professional businesses, and I think it's the government's role to take care of them as best ít can. They are the ones who deserve help." 

"Then you have large profitable companies that had plenty of money to buyback their shares and pay dividends and pay bonuses to executives who supposedly should foresee risk and prepare for bad things to happen, build cash cushions and be able to withstand unforeseen emergencies like this. But they did not do that. So now they are being saved and the argument is this is not their fault either. It's not their fault the virus came along. It is their fault that they don't have any cushion, and they are running so close to the edge that now they're at great risk of default," Watson says.

"We have a system for this. In the United States a company, just like an individual, can plead bankruptcy, we have a court system for that... I think that's a much better way to handle these large companies like the airlines who have found themselves in these positions. But that's not what we're doing and the precedent that sets is that you can take crazy risks and the taxpayers are going to be there to save you from it."

"Okay, well where does that end? Well, if you're not the one taking the risk why should you be the one to bear the reward? That has all sorts of implications for markets because a corporate bondholder gets a higher interest rate than a government bondholder because they are taking credit risk because the company could conceivably go out of business. But if they're not taking credit risk, why should they continue being paid a premium interest rate? And that's kind of the situation we're headed to, the same thing with stockholders. Why should stocks perform the way they have historically if the risk that supposedly justifies that reward isn't there anymore? So where all that ends I don't know but it's a real problem," says Watson.

"We had similar things happen in 2008 and thereafter and it was hoped we had learnt some lessons but I fear we didn't."

Watson has also written about how COVID-19 could increase wages.

"Employers gained the upper hand in wage negotiations because after the last recession people were happy to have any kind of job and they were afraid of losing their job. So they didn't push very hard. And we saw for many years the unemployment rate was very low but wages were not rising very much, which didn't make sense and was never going to last forever. And I think we may be reaching the point where that curve's going to bend," says Watson.

"The San Francisco Fed looked at historic pandemics going back to the Black Death in the 14th century. And they were able to see that the result of these has very often been higher wages, years and even decades later which makes sense if you think about it because in a war you have both people killed and you also have physical infrastructure destroyed - roads, buildings, those sorts of things, and those have to be rebuild and that's at great expense."

"In a pandemic the labour supply shrinks as people die. So when it's over the surviving workers are able to command higher wages. Situations like this historically have been positive for labour and negative for capital, which is the opposite of what we've seen the last 30, 40, 50 years in the United States and much of the developed world. So that could be a really important change."


*This is the fourth interview in a series looking at reactions to and potential policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic and evolving economic downturn. 

The first interview, with staunch critic of the economic mainstream Steve Keen, is here. The second interview, with director at economic advisory firm Landfall Strategy Group David Skilling, is here. The third interview, with Motu and Victoria University's Arthur Grimes, is here.

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88 Comments

25
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No more business with China please!

James Rickards & Pippa Malmgren

https://youtu.be/xu4gd_r1tsY
Triggernometry

Is the gloom overdone?
The smart money who can foresee trends long before the plodders might be saying yes. I would love to know what Buffett is doing now. One of his isms is to sell when everyone is buying and buy when theres basically blood on the street.
The NZ50 for example dropped from 12,000 to 8500 but is now (atm) back up to 10,800.
In % terms the drop is almost the same as the rise. It's all happening at lightning speed, is the smart money saying that this is the proverbial storm in a tea cup or are they falling into the trap Jesse Livermore fell in the 1930s.

Which political system representing a particular military-industrial-surveillance-banking-complex would you prefer to trade with?

11
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Switzerland.

Boring!

The best European example hands down. They get bonus points for not being an EU member

17
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Agree should not allow China to dominate NZ.

Their strategy of entering countries in the name of business and development is been exposed. Like Money Lenders they pump in money and when unable to repay like in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Ethopia...... or when the economy like NZ start to depend on them - They dictate and even penetrate political system with money and muscle power - intially backdoor and when time comes out in open.

It is up to NZ to decide the path that they want to travel or are happy with Rock Star Economy as defined by National leader and it's supporters.

Masters of pump and dump.

They learnt it from the IMF and the World Bank.

Yes Agree!Please read this by University of Canterbury Professor of China,on Covid-19https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings-wit...
.Who is responsible?and now who must pay for all this? and who will gain the most?

Charles Finney yesterday said almost that - China is the key to our recovery, but the Chinese Communist Party will use our dependence on their country for their own (possibly nefarious) purposes.

I hope we can NOT give them list MP seats for donations. That would be a great start.

They got this all screwed up:

No, more business with China, please!

And who do you want to do business with? NZ was 90% reliant on the UK for primary exports back in the 60s and when that when that fell apart then and later with the formation of the EU, NZ actually decided to branch out, just happens to be China at this point. One country is always going to dominate. You cant export to China on one hand and then castigate them for being evil on the other. You would then be as hypocritical as trump and the USA who have huge exports to many 'evil' countries.
Money talks, bull___t walks.

until NZ can find an alternative

We'll find something unethical about them too. Only we are pure clean with sh*t that doesn't smell

China is run by an evil authoritarian regime........ just a tad bit more than unethical don't you think?

I don't know what evil means. Is that a Jesus thing?

Back in NZ a sense of foreboding emanated from the gathering media crowd as the Fonterra Gulfstream, bought by the Cloggy before it all went pear shaped, taxied in and skidded to a halt in the gathering gloom of a wet Auckland Terminal.

The doors opened and down the steps came the noted epidemiologist, Sinophile and everyone's favorite uncle, Rewi W.

A hush came on the crowd as he paused, looking gallant in his hipster travel pants, Yuan spilling out of several bulging pockets. The rain, gently falling upon his floodlit visage with his hair swept back in a Gompertz curl, gave him an angelic glow. A young child sleeping rough, post Key, at the airport periphery gasped "Was it the messiah?"

Raising an arm clenching a wrinkled A4 splattered with Uyghur blood he shouted " A Market for Our Time"

A hollow cheer rang out of the highly leveraged Waikato, the polluted plains of Canterbury and the cruel boglands of Southland. The rest of NZ fell silent. They had seen this before in the 1930s and it hadn't ended well then.

Yes Agree! and you must read this by University of Canterbury Professor on China,about Covid-19:
https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings-wit...

19
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This crises is likely to be labelled the 'big reset' or '2020 reset' something like that in years to come.
The virus that burst a 20 year debt bubble that should have been addressed during the 2008 GFC, but instead financial controllers of the system used most its ammo pumping up unsustainable private asset bubbles, keep musical chairs going; out of touch with the real economy, what was RBNZ, Feds, banks etc. thinking?

Chambers defines jubilee as a time, season or circumstances of great joy and festivity. That don’t seem to fit too good with what is likely looming. First of all the creators will have to come down off the mountain of debt of their making. There will be bloodletting, carcasses and cadavers aplenty. Hardly a convivial setting one would think.

I would celebrate with great joy and celebration if my debts were wiped... I win for the little guy for a change?

I would hope that any debt "jubilee" would be handled as -> Jubilee Aggregate Amount divided by 4.8 million = Amount per person.

If if you have no debt, then it's helicopter money.

True and the fairest way to do it should it happen. Kind of Chicago plan-esque (the only viable plan I can remember seeing to unwind debt like this).

These guys from Maudins like the sound of their own voices a little too much...

Have you ever read one of their novel length reports? they send you to sleep with a a boat load of irrelevant information where the key message can be conveyed in 1/3 the length

10
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Covid is unlikely to do enough damage to create labour scarcity. Employing labour may become more expensive due to distancing and related factors though. Automation is the thing to watch. If society tries to limit human to human contact, why would companies not automate the human's role? After all human interaction is the human's competitive advantage over a machine. Care needs to be taken as draconian policy will be rife with unintended consequences.

10
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COVID-19 is very unlikely to kill more than 1% of the world's population, and that is likely to be concentrated in undeveloped countries, so the impact on labour that he's talking about in that last paragraph is not really going to happen to any appreciable degree.

By contrast, the black death killed about 1/3rd of Europe.

Lanthanide are you sure that more death undeveloped countries.

I do not think UK, Countries in Europe and USA are undeveloped countries.

Wait and Watch as real impact will be after the lock-down.

Pretty sure India, Pakistan and other population dense but low GDP countries without much in the way of social safety nets, public infrastructure or advanced health care are going to have both higher infection rates and higher fatality rates than the UK, countries in Europe and USA. But I could be wrong.

Thank god healthcare is more advanced than the 1300s.

A German study just released today shows a 0.37% mortality rate for those infected with Covid-19. So much for the 30-60 million deaths globally, etc. Our govts and disgraced medical “experts” and their fraudulent models have a lot to answer for.

And our resident trolls are probably overdue a cleanout.

My bet is Ludwig will be a climate denier too.

Goes with the territory. Sorry, ideology.

PDK when it comes to anything at all that you don't agree with you can be very grouchy and spiteful.
You seem to be myopic and blinkered about hypotheses that don't fit in your line of thinking.
Just because Ludwig gives an example of an opposing theory, you compare him to a climate denier and call him a troll.
Nasty in my opinion, and a language normally used by folks who think they are going to lose the argument.
You're behaving far more like a troll than Ludwig IMHO.
I don't want to waste anymore time on guys like you.

PDK - you are simply disgusting.

Ludwig however is wrong .

If you're going to make a statement like that, then at the very least please provide a link to the study?!

Hi Ludwig -- Yes, and quite sadly much of that 0.37% figure is people who because of age or infirmity would not be in the workforce. It seems this pandemic is becoming increasingly politicised, and the there is a suspicion that many want to use it as a lever for societal change. That's OK, but we need honesty and the chance to vote on it as a nation. Some of the projected figures our Lockdown Four was based on are laughable. Let's hope the dire economic forecasts are as flawed. It is interesting to note that the flu kills around 500 people in New Zealand annually and hospitals struggle to cope in a bad year. So knowing this, why do we keep on letting them struggle? If I remember correctly, flu is the biggest killer behind cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Lived in proximity to New York for long enough to know that no ordinary flu has ever overwhelmed the population and hospital care facilities etc in such short order as this. From the history books not even in the days of volumes of immigrants, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, diphtheria when hell’s kitchen was full on.

0.37% of the global population is -20 million people. That's still a huge number of graves.

And what you are saying is it more virulent, but less fatal. In the short term that's worse, but it will burn itself out sooner if left to run rampant.. which it won't be, we don't want refridgerated trucks parked outside overflowing morgues like NYC

If you look at the deaths so far it's around 150,000 globally. Compared with up to 600,000 annual deaths from the flu, a rational person (and there are precious few of them out there) must ask "what the hell are we doing?" The numbers from countries with no lockdowns also do not support the argument for 30-60m deaths globally from this virus. However, the more things change, the more they stay the same and as Julius Caesar said: "Man will believe what he wants to believe regardless of the facts." And here we are today, no more intelligent than what we were 2,000+ years ago. A fascinating study in human nature...

What would/will the deaths look like if the virus were allowed to run its course like the flu?
2.2 million people have been confirmed to have been infected with Covid 19. How many people are infected with the flu annually? Roughly 38 million in the US alone.

Imagine if the police just let that madman carry on in Christchurch because more people have died from suicide each year, so why lock down the city?

There is no shortage of rational people, just a shortage of people that are willing to accept tens of thousands of unnecessary avoidable early deaths. Thats not a bad thing.

Are you suggesting taking deaths after prevention measures and using that to argue that no prevention measures were justified?

That sounds absurd, not rational.

To put it into perspective, approx 17 million people have died so far worldwide this year according to some random worldometer website I found on Google. We're in April.

So if the whole world eventually caught it (7.8 billion), and this particular study has the correct morbidity, then 28 million would die. Not far off 30-60 million, or do you have different maths?

So where is the contradiction ??

If .37% IFR rate from the ( credible , but fairly small scale .. ) German study does check out it still gives an estimate of around 27M fatalities should the whole of the world population ( 7.5B) get infected with Covid19 that is left to run unchecked. Not far from 30M-60M estimate range if one considers that .37% IFR is a preliminary , yet to be confirmed number.
IFR is also likely to be higher in poorer and less healthy populations. Germany is running a surplus of ICU capacity - a luxury we would not be seeing in most places if the epidemic gets out of control , pushing the IFR higher.

The more prescient point was covid19 is going to accentuate technological impact on competitive advantage of labour and reverse globalisation trends.

Taxes will have to be redesigned and not to forget CGT though promised that will not introduce as long as am PM but now situation has changed so can go back on their election promise of CGT - the very reason that they are in power now.

Surely CGT is s dead duck. It's not going to collect much in a falling market and further out it's totally inconsistent year on year.

And far too slow undoubtedly, for this government’s agenda at least, to start gathering it in meaningful quantities.

The US national debt = the US private sector net savings. It should never be paid off - it's a bad idea to destroy private sector wealth. What does need to be paid off, from a macroprudential perspective, is private sector debt. The only way to inject net financial assets into the private sector is for the public deficit to increase - and it should! Have the government deficit-spend into public infrastructure and services, like healthcare, transport, utilities, and education. Use targeted legislation to open up fiscal space when needed, but otherwise keep increasing the deficit until full employment is reached & the private sector savings rate grows high enough to start paying off private sector debt.

Sounds like a neoliberal chant to me - give me all the profit but you-all pony up the ante.

We can do without government, we can do without government, oops, help, we need government to bail us out.

Not sure how you got that from my comment. By private sector I mean non-government sector, which includes households. Households as a sector can only net-save if another sector runs a deficit. The only sector that can deficit-spend with new money is the government sector.

12
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Maybe now is the time to seriously talk about depopulating this poor planet of ours. (Obviously not through doing away with people already here). The developed countries will continue the natural decline (not inc. migrants) caused by the stress of debt and overpriced houses but we need to also bring the developing world to the party. Education is key but financial punishment through taxation may be also required. No more tax benefits for having a large family, now they should pay extra tax for the burden each new person puts on the planets "FINITE" resources.

If the “great reset“ doesn’t happen from COVID will these guys finally shut up about it?
And if it does happen, will they claim they knew all along (when really a pandemic could cause economic chaos at any time)

Something can only cause chaos to a system, if the system lacks resilience.

And the imbecilic drive for 'productivity' resulted in just that.

Oil is the poster child of the forces driving massive deflation: overcapacity/oversupply and a collapse in demand. That is not limited to the crude oil market; rather, they are the dominant realities in the global economy.
Yes, there are shortages in a few high-demand areas such as PPE (personal protective equipment), but across the entire spectrum of global supply and demand, there is nothing but a vast sea of overcapacity/oversupply and a systemic decline in demand as far as the eye can see. Incomes will crater as revenues and profits crash, small businesses close their doors, never to re-open, local governments tighten spending, and whatever competition still exists will relentlessly push the price of labour, goods and services lower. Should China restart its export factories, then almost everything being manufactured will immediately be in oversupply, as the global export sector was plagued with mass overcapacity long before the Covid-19 pandemic crushed demand. The price of a great many assets will crash, out of proportion to the decline in demand.
To quote Jackson Browne: "Don't think it won't happen just because it hasn't happened yet".

(CH Smith)

The interpretation of the laws of supply and demand are wide and varied. What is not disputed though is that international trade has been thoroughly upended since the emergence of China from behind the bamboo curtain and its then rapid global growth. That has occurred in less than forty years and the simultaneous lurch into globalisation by the, let’s say, western powers that be, has created a playing field that is not out of level, it has more of the characteristics of some crazy ice flow. To quote David Lange now might be a good time for a cup of tea. Two things going for us humans. Cheap finance. Cheap energy. But somewhere along the way the catastrophic debt mountain is going to have to be hosed down and there are going to be write offs, write downs absorbed by all of those on that great plain in the sky of financiers and wizards.

Tks PDK. Sobering to say the least.Beyond my limited scope admittedly. If there is a recipe for recovery from the forthcoming recession, what then are the ingredients and how are they proportioned.

This probably answers you :)

https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2020/04/15/is-this-sustainable/

I think we have to go local, go resilient, and go now.

Everyone must read this or watch the article.NZ professor of Chinese on Covid-19.
https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings-wit... NO MORE BUSINESS WITH CHINA NZ

It will be quite a challenge to onshore our core businesses again. The idea will be to actually invest in high productivity methods and technology. Should be interesting to see the stereotypical tightfisted and shortsighted kiwi business leaders try and implore their equally inept compatriots to invest in technology and not cheap immigrant labor or low paid temp workers. I don't think NZ Inc is upto the job....

I've been thinking about that lately, and wondering whether the pursuance of 'high productivity methods and technology', was actually what got us caught with our pants down. Not enough buffering in the system, so to avoid being overwhelmed they had to slow the flow. We'd chosen a no-margin health model, and it's bit us in the ass. Will we learn?

So I suggest we build in buffering - local fixability, lower-tech, locally-buildable, local food systems (minus external inputs), regenerative and recycled everything possible.

Counter-examples of actual businesses who've done exactly what you claim to be unlikely: robot milking sheds, largely-automated packhouses, Scott Technology.....it's a long list which is in the here and now.....

I've been following this series and am yet to hear from an economist with a practical plan.

You can't just debt jubilee every sovereign, every multinational corporate, every small business owner, every bond/market speculator and every household. As the author above states: "...that would be really ugly in some ways because there would be winners and losers, but it would be possibly the best of a bad set of options".

I don't buy that. There must be better options given the world is so insanely and sinfully unequal and the 'losers' have been the 'losers' for far too long. I have no idea how these convoluted financial markets work, but I propose we start with the origin of the globalization rot - multinational corporations.

I propose a Great Unwind. All stock exchanges the world over are suspended.

All Cayman Islands and other tax haven entities and their accounts are nullified (made illegal). Every entity, trust etc. registered within these jurisdictions must re-work their accounting for the past five years.

Multinational corporations would be required to provide accounts for a single head office in the country-of-origin and a set of subsidiary companies in each state and/or country where they conduct trade.

Back taxes would be calculated based on the last 5 years of trading, and either paid or entered as a debt owing to the state or sovereign in which the head office and/or subsidiaries are situated.

These audited accounts are released to the stock exchanges and publicized five days in advance of re-opening the exchanges. Markets, I assume would re-set in accordance with 'old school' accounting fundamentals. Some entities will disappear (go bust) others will survive.

All other entities registered in these jurisdictions would be nullified as well, and an int'l task force would be set up to trace the ultimate owners/beneficiaries - handing over the information and accounting transactions to the authorities in the sovereign nation where the ultimate owners have citizenship.

During the period of the Great Unwind, sovereigns would continue to borrow to support main street employers and households. I assume their balance sheets would improve once the retrospective 5 years worth of corporate and individual taxes are calculated and paid, or entered as a debt.

Absolutely no idea whether that would make any material difference, or whether it is even feasible, but it would serve to re-structure one of the worst ills of globalization - i.e., the int'l money-go-round aimed at avoiding/minimizing individual and corporate taxes, and end the provision of havens in which ill gotten money is laundered.

We can then enter a period of the Great Leveling... less unequal because everyone pays their fair share, and the real crooks of the global world would be in jail.

Got me thinking of my history at school viz The Great South Sea Bubble of the 18th century. It would be good if all of the great pyramid scheme of finance and debt imploded rather than exploded but the hierarchy of that will have their castles prepared and the serfs will have to do the suffering. Recall post 2008 the disgraceful chief honcho at the Royal Bank of Scotland already had a position lined up before he was fired for example

Yes, I recall too!

You can't do that, Kate.

The problem is systemic. Firstly, there is the 'extract, consume and excrete' flow. Think of it as a one-way conveyor belt, with 'the economy' rolling atop it. The economy gets bigger and bigger like a snowball, but you can see the problem - a finite stock of extractables and a too-dispersed collection of ejected wastes.

What the remote money system did, was fit the groing snowball, and we ended with more bets being made on the snowball's continued increase, than there were extractables to feed the conveyor-belt.

Equality, at this stage, would be a reduction for everyone, consumption-wise. Global equality, right now, would have you hoeing turnips and walking home. And that has to get worse, per time. Borrowing misses the point. The problem is that the forward bets aren't able to be assuaged. The best move therefore is to alleviate debt. Even then, I doubt they'll hold the system together.

Yes, that's the Great Leveling. The question is whether we can get there without global annihilation getting us first.

Good to see someone thinking outside the box Kate.
Unfortunately i see it nigh on impossible for the powers that be to embark upon system improvement unless there is something in it that will improve their own position.
So they will kick the can with printed up money. Its sad.

Yes, sad. But the world over no emperor (i.e., the powers that be) has any clothes.

Nice thoughts, Kate, but the core assumption - that all sovereign jurisdictions worldwide carry out much the same measures, at much the same time - is simply unable to be achieved. The first to do so would be in thrall to those who moved late or never: the arbitrage possibilities in so doing are Yuge. Exactly as with an FTT. Behavioural economics and the crooked timber of human nature will see to That. As a thought experiment, suppose all the world except Russia, China, India and Hungary manage to perform a coordinated reset. Cui bono?

Thanks, waymad. I agree the core assumption is nigh on impossible. I suppose it would have to be achieved via UN Security Council agreement (i.e., the financial crisis being a threat to world peace and security), followed by a UN General Assembly resolution with the legal detail, including penalties for non-compliance. One of the easy bits is suspending all the stock exchanges, given those mechanisms are already used. All the organs of int'l governance (WTO, IMF, BIS, World Bank etc.) would have to bring the private sector banking system and the rating agencies into line.

I really don't have any understanding of global finance, but I tire of those that do using TINA as an excuse for debt forgiveness.

Whenever a person or company takes on debt they knowingly take on leverage and the associated risk if the asset backing the debt depreciates in value. Take a car loan out and the car depreciates below the market "trade in" value of the vehicle then it's tough luck and welcome to car ownership.

The same goes for property if you take on a mortgage and the property market falls and you are now upside down with your mortgage owing more than the property is worth. Again tough luck but not to worry because you weren't planning to sell as that's your"home" where you live in right and you weren't playing the leverage up multiple property investing game were you.

I think the necessary reduction in the amount debt should go a bit like this:
Debt can't be repaid -> lender seizes collateral -> lender liquidates collateral to recover amounts owed -> debt is extinguished (and lender loses money if full loan can't be recovered) -> borrower remembers not to sail so close to the wind next time -> we all live happily ever after (within our means)

You forgot:

-> Borrower has a big black mark against their name/credit score.

That way they won't need to remember not to sail so close to the wind next time.

Great interview. Thanks guys :)

Stock piling of essential supplies? Many organisation have found out the hard way that most of these supplies do not have an infinite shelf life, so stock piling will not work. the alternative is local manufacturing capability. Agile companies who can and should develop the capability to manufacture multiple products efficiently. Much better for every one. I've been arguing this for years.

How come no one's mentioned the option of wealth-taxing the NZ Fortune 500. Is this our unmentionable taboo, perhaps because we can all imagine ourselves as someday having this magnitude of wealth, and, in that 0.000000001 chance becoming reality, we wouldn't like to be taxed on our wealth.
Britain did this after WW1 to get back on its feet and reduced the large estates of the landed gentry by 90% and in doing so precluded a revolution by returning soldiers discharged into unemployment.

And ditto WW2 aftermath. Attlee’s lot for example went after the coal up north & other locations and in so doing ruined irreversibly many of the great estates of the very same landed gentry.

As usual ..... Main Street will pay for this.The current lockdown measures are only “sustainable” for as long as national currencies maintain their value. National currencies, in turn, are only sustainable for as long as the myth of a bigger and wealthier future can be sustained. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we will likely say goodbye to many things that we used to take for granted until such time as investors notice and either markets and asset prices collapse for good or stagflation arrives to remove the paper wealth that western economies currently run on.

Not only has China dodged blame for the pandemic, it is taking credit for dealing with it

They say when you have grown tired of Paris you have grown tired of life, to those of you who have grown tired of China you have grown tired or having a job, having affordable goods for your children to wear and having an economy that functions at all, please nz put your racism aside and grow up, without china we have a peasant economy with sky high unemployment, you don't have to suck their dicks but you spend their money so a bit of commonsense will save you from biting the hand that feeds you, cheers

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