- "THE CENTRAL PROBLEM HAS BEEN SOLVED"
- WARNING IGNORED: LATIN AMERICAS CRISES
- JAPANS TRAP
- ASIA'S CRASH
- POLICY PERVERSITY
- MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
- GREENSPAN'S BUBBLES
- BANKING IN THE SHADOWS
- THE SUM OF ALL FEARS
- THE RETURN OF DEPRESSION ECONOMICS
"THE CENTRAL PROBLEM HAS BEEN SOLVED"
In 2003 Robert Lucas, a professor at the University of Chicago and winner of the 1995 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, gave the presidential address at the annual meetings of the American Economic Association. After explaining that macroeconomics began as a response to the Great Depression, he declared that it was time for the field to move on: the "central problem of depression-prevention," he declared, "has been solved, for all practical purposes."
Lucas didn't claim that the business cycle, the irregular alternation of recessions and expansions that has been with us for at least a century and a half, was over. But he did claim that the cycle had been tamed, to the point that the benefits of any further taming were trivial: smoothing out the wiggles in the economy's growth, he argued, would produce only trivial gains in public welfare. So it was time to switch focus to things like long-term economic growth.
Lucas wasn't alone in claiming that depression-prevention was a solved problem, A year later Ben Bernanke, a former Princeton professor who had gone to serve on the board of the Federal Reserve---and would soon be appointed as the Fed's chairman---gave a remarkably upbeat speech titled "The Great Moderation," in which he argued, much as Lucas had, that modern macroeconomic policy had solved the problem of the business cycle---or,
more precisely, reduced the problem to the point that it was more of a nuisance than a front-rank issue.
Looking back from only a few years later, with much of the world in the throes of a financial and economic crisis all too reminiscent of the 1930s, these optimistic pronouncements sound almost incredibly smug. What was especially strange about this optimism was the fact that during the 1990s, economic problems reminiscent of the Great Depression had, in fact, popped up in a number of countries---including Japan, the world's second-largest economy.
But in the early years of this decade, depression-type problems had not yet hit the United States, while inflation---the scourge of the 1970s---seemed, finally, to be well under control. And the relatively soothing economic news was embedded in a political context that encouraged optimism: the world seemed more favorable to market economies than it had for almost ninety years.
原題をそのまま訳せば「恐慌経済の再来と二〇〇八年の危機」であり、しかも「二〇〇八年の危機」は小さめに表記されているため、タイトルとして相当インパクトのあるものなのに、この邦題（「世界大不況からの脱出 - なぜ恐慌型経済は広がったのか 」）は原題と比較して軽過ぎはしないだろうか？