Lorenzo´s Socratic dialogue on NGDP Targeting

Lorenzo from Oz suggested the following “Socratic dialogue “on NGDP targeting in a comment to my previous post – I think it is so good it need to be repeated:

Q: What has caused more damage; entrenched inflation (the 1970s) or massive deflation (1929-32)?
A: Deflation. But that is not what we face.
Q: What has caused more damage; entrenched inflation (the 1970s) or unexpected disinflation during a leveraging crunch (2008-?).
A: But inflation is evil.
Q: Why is inflation bad?
A: Because it distorts private decisions.
Q: Does it do that making basic parameters for judgement unreliable?
A: Yes.
Q: So it is about creating a clear and reliable framing for private decisions?
A: Yes.
Q: So, a central bank should provide a reliable framework for private decisions?
A: Yes.
Q: So it is about framing expectations in a credible way?
A: Yes.
Q: So, what is more important to people, expectations about income or expectations about prices?
A: [Some obfustication]
Q: So, should not a central bank seek to credibly generate expectations about income?
A. [Some more obfustication]
Q: In a highly leveraged age with many wages set by contracts operating across time and a range of “sticky” prices, which is more important to people, expectations about money income or “real” income?
A. [Even more obfustication]
Q: So, would not a clear target about aggregate income (aka NGDP aka Py) create a framework to anchor expectations in what people actually care about?
A: [Meltdown]

PS off to Vilnius, Lithuania today – nice city and nice people. I am among other things having a presentation about 1931 vs 2011 – and more important about whether 2012 will bring the same horrors as 1932 (My answer is – I fear so, but it is not too late to avoid).

%d bloggers like this: