Debt Doesn’t Fuel Growth Anymore.
By John Maudlin and cross-posted from Forbes
Is debt good or bad? The answer is “Yes.”
Debt is future spending pulled forward in time. It lets you buy something now for which you otherwise don’t have cash yet.
Whether it’s wise or not depends on what you buy. Debt to educate yourself so you can get a better job may be a good idea. Borrowing money to finance your vacation? Probably not.
The problem is that many people, businesses, and governments borrow because they can. It’s been possible in the last decade only because central banks made it so cheap.
It was rational in that respect. But it is growing less so as the central banks start to tighten.
Earlier this year, I wrote a series of articles (synopsis and links here) predicting a debt “train wreck” and eventual liquidation. I dubbed it “The Great Reset.” I estimated we have another year or two before the crisis becomes evident.
Now I’m having second thoughts. Recent events tell me the reckoning could be closer than I thought just a few months ago.
Debt Doesn’t Fuel Growth Anymore
Central banks enable debt because they think it will generate economic growth. Sometimes it does. The problem is they create debt with little regard for how it will be used.
That’s how we get artificial booms and subsequent busts. We are told not to worry about absolute debt levels so long as the economy is growing in line with them.
That makes sense. A country with a larger GDP can carry more debt. But that is increasingly not what is happening…