Thursday, May 27, 2010

EPIC Recession

"EPIC RECESSION: Prelude to Global Depression" is the name of the new book by Dr.Jack Rasmus. I had the opportunity to listen to his talk about the book yesterday. I have not had a chance to read the book yet, but here are some of my observations from the seminar presentation. Dr. Rasmus's conclusion is that similar to the recession in 1907 and the Great Depression, the current recession as well was driven by increases in the money sector without commensurate increases in the real sector. He has a good historical section where he discussed the shift in economic research from the causes of the Great Depression to the solutions to it. He highlighted that Keynes's earlier research was on the causes of the Great Depression. He also mentioned that Irving Fisher discussed at length the speculatory causes of the recession and subsequent depression. However, I was disappointed that there was no mention of F.A.Hayek, who had published Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle in 1933. My understanding is that F.A.Hayek, and others who have expanded on the Austrian Business Cycle Theory have an existing explanation for these credit expansion lead recessions. In addition, I believe there was some kind of debate between Hayek and Keynes around that time. Hopefully, some of that stuff is in the book and did not make it to the presentation. His explanation was very reminiscent of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, even though he did not use the title to identify it as such. I do not agree with his solutions of increased fiscal expenditure to move out of the current crisis. Especially, some of his recommendation on nationalising consumer credit markets and re-unionising private sector work force would only lead to long-term economic crisis in my opinion. His solutions aside, I think the credit expansion explanation of economic crises would be an interesting addition to existing literature. I am looking forward to reading the book. 

No comments: