karl-henrik pettersson


Filosofiska tankar om företagande och ekonomi

Vilket samhälle vill vi ha? Hur mycket marknad? Hur mycket politik? Varför dessa ekonomiska orättvisor?

Är tiden mogen för ett nytt makroekonomiskt paradigm? (3)

Den senaste krisen, den som vi just håller på att ta oss ur, har gjort att ekonomer och andra har börjat ifrågasätta den marknadsorienterade politik som dominerat västekonomierna under de senaste 30 åren. Sedan 1900-talets början har västvärlden upplevt tre dominerande makroekonomiska idébyggen – klassisk ekonomi fram till 1930-talet, därefter Keynesianism fram till 1970-talet och från omkring 1980 till idag det Roger Farmer kallar ” the rational expectations revolution”, i praktiken en makroekonomisk modell där utrymmet för politiska ingrepp på marknaderna, eller för offentlig produktion, blivit allt mindre.  Den modellen kan möjligen behöva omprövas när erfarenheterna från debaclet 2008-09 samlas ihop.

Jag skall i tre korta inlägg kommentera den här utvecklingen med utgångspunkt från Roger Farmers nyutkomna bok ”How the Economy Works” (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Hur ser då Farmers förslag till nytänkande ut? Som sagt är det en slags symbios mellan klassikernas syn på hur ekonomin fungerar och Keynes. Farmer menar att klassisk ekonomi leder fel av två skäl. För det första eftersom den självkorrigering som modellen förutsätter, till exempel att arbetslösheten efter en chock fjädrar tillbaka till en naturlig nivå, inte är korrekt att döma av hur det ser ut i verkligheten. För det andra, och det är centralt för Farmer, eftersom klassikerna struntar i förtroendefaktorn, den allmänna framtidstrons roll som en oberoende faktor som driver ekonomin både uppåt och nedåt. Vad gäller Keynes menar Farmer att han hade rätt vad gäller att marknaderna på egen hand inte klarar av att återställa full sysselsättning och ett rimligt resursutnyttjande, men fel vad gäller att det är förändringar i inkomstnivån som är mest avgörande för konsumtionens, och därmed sysselsättningens, utveckling. Snarare är det förändringar i förmögenheten (”wealth”) som bestämmer vad om skall hända med konsumtions- och sysselsättningsnivå. Det senare gör det logiskt att ge aktiemarknaden en central roll i modellen menar Farmer. För förmögenheten ökar när aktiemarknaden går upp, och aktiemarknaden går upp när förtroendet i ekonomin ökar, eller mera precist när ekonomins aktörer tror på framtiden. Så här uttrycker Farmer det: ”In the classical theory of asset markets, fundamentals determine employment, employment determines profits, and profits determine the stock price. In the real world, confidence determines wealth, wealth determines demand, and demand determines employment. The only thing that keeps the economy on track is the collective confidence of, hundreds of millions of investors that the economy is sound. But as experience has shown, investors are sometimes like buffalo grazing close to a cliff. Once a stampede starts in the, wrong direction, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that can be very hard to stop.” (S 121)

Klassiska ekonomer hävdar att det är fundamenta – preferenser, resurser, teknologi, organisation, företagsledning etc. – som driver marknaden. Keynes betonar på samma sätt förtroendefaktorns betydelse. Farmers uppfattning som jag förstår den är att man kan förlika dessa båda synsätt genom att betrakta förtroendet som en fundamental drivkraft. ”By adding confidence as a separate fundamental, we can retain a theory in which everything is determined by fundamentals, including the value of stock prices. Confidence is an independent fundamental driving force of the business cycle.” (S 112- 113)

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