Inflation the historical solution to excess debt
Financial Times, September 30th, 2017.
Alan Beattie, in ‘Central banks have a duty to come clean about inflation’ (September 23rd), omits to mention the massive debt, both public and private, which overhangs the developed economies.
With one exception – the British recovery from the debt of the Napoleonic wars thanks to the growth stimulated by the Industrial Revolution – every single instance of excess debt over the last 200 years has been resolved by inflation.There are three solutions to excess debt: cancellation by default or forgiveness, growth or, much the least problematic, inflation. For central banks to be raising interest rates in the face of low inflation and weak growth seems badly mistaken. What is urgently needed is a sustained period of negative interest rates, a counterpart, in fact, to the Great Moderation of the 25 years after 1982.