Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Last week, Alan Greenspan testified, in effect, that low interest rates, due to his Fed policy, were largely responsible for both keeping current consumer spending as high as it is, and the recent minor run-up in stock prices -- but that it wasn't inducing job creation, so none of that was really sustainable long term. But he also said that if, for whatever reason, businesses finally did start creating jobs, well then, real prosperity would be just around the corner. So, the speech was generally covered as being optimistic.

Well, it seems he's picking up a little criticism for this, from people with better credentials than mine who are just as worried about bubbles in the housing and bond markets bursting in an economy whose fundamentals are already weak. Particularly since the low level of interest rates has left him with very little room to maneuver -- in fact, long-term rates are currently spiking due to activity involving derivatives; if that sort of movement lasts long enough to affect mortgage rates for a few months before the economy really picks up... well, things could get bad.

But fear not. Executives of IBM are talking about creating new jobs! In China. And yet, there is not universal joy:

The I.B.M. executives [in leaked a conference call] warned that when workers from China come to the United States to learn to do technology jobs now being done here, some American employees might grow enraged about being forced to train the foreign workers who might ultimately take away their jobs.

Oh, wait, Mr. Greenspan. You wanted total employment to rise?

More: ... on the run-up in interest rates from Morgan Stanley, and on the larger context, including other asset bubbles, in the comments on that article on Brad DeLong's blog...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home