The National Association of Business Economics is an organization of “working” economists, as opposed to “theoretical or academic” economists, and I have been a member for years. This week, we held our annual policy conference in Washington, and it was fascinating as always.
If asked what was most interesting to me, it is that the developed nations actually got their act together at the beginning of this global recession and implemented a synchronized set of responses together. That alone semi-renews what little faith that traditional institutions work effectively any longer. But, now comes the hard part: How to implement a non-synchronized set of exit strategies?
Because different nations suffered different degrees of damage, each needs a different exit strategy from all the government stimulus. Indeed, major commodity exporters, such as Australia, have already begun withdrawing stimulus. When nations running large surpluses, like China, begin exhibiting inflation, their exit strategies will have to be implemented more quickly. Failure to coordinate our exit strategies could push us back towards a “double-dip” or at best, delay the recovery. The U.S. and England were arguably damaged the most, primarily because finance is a larger share of GDP than anywhere else in the world. They will also be the last to implement their exit strategies, which is convenient because it will require “tough love”, which our politicians are loathe to do and maybe incapable of doing.