Wednesday 8 April 2009

Structural Current Account Deficits

"This is the point at which the eyes of countless readers will glaze over. It is easier for most to believe that the explanation for the crisis is solely the deregulation and misregulation of the financial systems of the US, UK and a few other countries. Yet, given the scale of the world’s macroeconomic imbalances, it is far from obvious that higher regulatory standards alone would have saved the world.
This is not just a matter of historical interest. It is also relevant to the sustainability of the recovery. Fiscal deficits are now generally far bigger in countries with structural current account deficits than in those with current account surpluses. This is because the latter can import a substantial part of the stimulus introduced by the former. [...]. It is quite likely, therefore, that the next crisis will be triggered by what markets see as excessive fiscal debt in countries with large structural current account deficits, notably the US. If so, that could prove a critical moment for the international economic system."

Financial Times: What the G2 must discuss now the G20 is over, April 7, 2009

Is the structural current account deficit something that measures how far removed from the actual possible standard of living the actual standard of living of the population of a country is, for example to what extent it is based on unsustainable development? I haven't really heard that term before and can't find anything to explain it. I hope it's a fancy way of saying that it's not just about deregulation but also about how you can't really spend money that you haven't earned before or will earn sooner or later, at least not for a very long time (the "we are all to blame"-argument).

Wikipedia: Current Acount
Wikipedia: List of countries by current account balance (apparantly, exporting a lot and the right things helps. Being the United States doesn't.)

No comments: