The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Get ready for the “Great Immoderation”

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The recession will soon be dead, laid to rest alongside the idea of the "Great Moderation", a set of hopeful assumptions that underpins expectations about economic growth and asset valuations.

This, when investors, bankers and executives ultimately realise it will cause them to pull in their horns, take less risks and be less willing to pay high prices for assets.

Economists, observing that since the 1980s recessions have been mild and short and expansions long and robust, developed the theory that better economic management, namely cutting rates in the aftermath of bubbles, globalisation and, get this, improvements in financial markets, had led to a sort of best-of-all-possible-worlds "Great Moderation", in which economic volatility fell and with it the risk premia required for holding financial assets.

This little theory has, needless to say, come somewhat unstuck during the current downturn which has been great but far from moderate.