The Great Debate UK
-Laurence Copeland is professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own and do not constitute investment advice. -
The first chapter of the Eurozone crisis story has ended as expected, with the Germans (and Dutch and Austrians) left to foot the bill, repeating the pattern we have seen in the last couple of years, at the micro and macro level: savers bailing out borrowers, the solvent rescuing the insolvent, the responsible minority rescuing the feckless majority from the consequences of their irresponsibility. No wonder banks don’t want to lend and firms don’t want to invest.
Apart from the injustice, the really damaging aspect is the message it sends out loud and clear about the way modern Western democracies operate. The younger generation will be noting the lesson — even if David Willetts, the Minister for Universities, is not — that those who work and save must bear the burden of carrying those who do neither, because nowadays the welfare state operates at all levels: personal, national, global.
The choice is, as they say, a no-brainer. Shakespeare’s Polonius needs updating: “Always a borrower, never a lender be”.
from The Great Debate:
China watchers are worried that excessive lending leads to massive overcapacity. However, the risk of Beijing pressing too hard on the brake is even greater. At least for now, China should be able to growing its way out of its bad debt problems.
Banking regulator Liu Mingkang recently told a conference that China's banks should lend out 6-7 trillion yuan next year, equivalent to about one fifth of China's annual output. Some think that is too much. However, these fears are overdone. Indeed, if new lending falls below 10 trillion yuan, bad debts will soar, private investment will be crowded out and the economic recovery may be derailed.
There's lots of money sloshing around the financial system these days. The Federal Reserve has established a target range of 0-0.25 percent for its key rate, bringing it closer to unconventional action to lift the economy out of a year-long recession.
From Washington, the first package aimed at rescuing the credit crisis-hit banking sector amounted to $700 billion. Treasury can use only half of that amount and it has already pledged all but $15 billion of it. The Senate has refused to pass a $14 billion rescue package for Detroit's three major car companies last week, leaving it in the hands of the Bush administration to work out a deal.