Tuesday, March 10, 2009
OK... I've been reading a book that was written some time ago, by Christopher Wood, called the "Bubble Economy"... Sounds like he was writing about the U.S. eh? I'm afraid not! He was writing about Japan in the 90's... And you know me, I've been writing about how we are following Japan's footsteps to their disastrous decade of the 90's, so I just had to pick up this book and read it, to see what other comparisons could be picked up... And half way into the book, I found it... OK... Now that I've already told you that this is Japan in the 90's, you are aware that it's not the U.S. now... But... I'm sure you'll see what I'm talking about here... So, here's Christopher Wood... "Debt Deflation" was a term used by American Irving Fisher, a Yale economist, in an article written in 1933 at the nadir of the Great Depression. The Debt Deflation Theory of Great Depressions, was revolutionary. It identified two stages on the road to depression. First, too-high levels of aggregate debt depress economic activity because of all the money spent servicing that debt. (paying interest) Fisher termed this debt deflation. This is what Japan has suffered in their property markets as asset values have collapsed and debts have gone bad. Fisher argued that debt deflation only leads to general depression when there is a fall in the general price level. Just as a bad cold leads to pneumonia, so over-indebtedness leads to deflation." Now... Doesn't that sound exactly like what happened here in the U.S.? I'm turning Japanese, I really think so... OK... Enough of that... How about mixing in some Warren Buffett to my story about how that on the other side of this deflationary asset price scenario that's going on right now, is soaring inflation? Well... Warren, welcome to my wagon! Let's listen in to Mr. Buffett... Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. posted its worst results ever in 2008, said the economy "has fallen off a cliff and that efforts to stimulate the economy may lead to inflation higher than the 1970's."