Ben Bernanke popularized the term “global saving glut” in March 2005 when speaking to the Virginia Association of Economists in Richmond, Va. In his statement, he argued that several forces had created a high volume of global savings and that this “saving glut” helped explain the many years of historically low yields. And that was long before the Fed and its fellow central banks, through their coordinated actions, engineered the virtual extinction of interest rates!
In early April, one of the “wise
guy girl” talking heads released a video on the rise of robots where she claims that within a decade, we could be looking at dramatically different non-farm payroll data. In fact, she even quotes a Forrester study that suggests net-net, for every one job created, fifteen jobs will be lost.
Zero interest rates have made a great many people a great deal richer. But paradoxically they have strangled wealth creation. The reason for this is that enterprise is overwhelmingly a phenomenon found among smaller companies. Among big companies it is a rare quality.
Since the global financial crisis erupted nearly 10 years ago, central banks have drenched the financial system with more than $10 trillion. One of the many consequences of this gigantic money deluge has been the dampening of cyclicality for both the financial markets and the economy.
Long-time EVA readers know that I am an unabashed admirer of my friend and partner, Charles Gave. Recently, I had a chance to chat with him in Whistler at the annual Gavekal retreat and, even though he is knocking on the door of the three-quarter century mark, he has not lost his wit nor his willingness to challenge prevailing orthodoxies.