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Gestern titelte die FAZ auf Seite 10 ihrer Wirtschaftsseiten: “Die sanfte Enteignung der Sparer. Wie Amerika einst seinen Schuldenstand abbaute/Gold war privaten Anlegern bis 1974 verboten”. Es folgt ein sehr interessanter Artikel über “finanzielle Repression”. Diesen Begriff griffen die beiden Wirtschaftswissenschaftlerinnen Reinhart und Sbrancia [1,2] vor gar nicht all zu langer Zeit auf und beschrieben damit den Weg, den mehrere Nationalökonomien aus massiven Verschuldungslagen genommen haben, in denen sie sich nach 1945 gefunden hatten und die mit den heutigen rein quantitativ durchaus vergleichbar seien.

Einen Wikipedia-Eintrag zum aus Regulationsperspektive durchaus verlockenden Konzept der “finanziellen Repression” gibt es bisher nur in englischer Sprache:

Financial repression is a term used to describe several measures which governments employ to channel funds to themselves which in a deregulated market would go elsewhere. Financial repression can be particularly effective at liquidating debt.

The term financial repression was first introduced in 1973 by Stanford economists Edward S. Shaw [3] and Ronald I. McKinnon [4]. The term was used to describe emerging market financial systems in the 1960s-80s. However, the same techniques were also used extensively in developed economies, particularly after World War II and up through the 1980s, when such direct government intervention in markets fell out of favour.

In a 2011 NBER working paper [1], Carmen Reinhart and Belen Sbrancia speculate on a possible return by governments to this form of debt reduction in order to deal with their high levels of debt following the 2008 economic crisis. Reinhart and Sbrancia characterise financial repression as consisting of the following key elements:

  1. Explicit or indirect capping or control over interest rates, such as on government debt and deposit rates (e.g., Regulation Q).
  2. Government ownership or control of domestic banks and financial institutions while placing barriers to entry before other institutions seeking to enter the market.
  3. Creation or maintenance of a captive domestic market for government debt achieved by requiring domestic banks to hold government debt via reserve requirements, or by prohibiting or disincentivising alternative options that institutions might otherwise prefer.
  4. Government restrictions on the transfer of assets abroad through the imposition of capital controls.

These measures allow governments to issue debt at lower interest rates than would otherwise be possible. A low nominal interest rate can help governments reduce debt servicing costs, while a high incidence of negative real interest rates liquidates or erodes the real value of government debt. Thus, financial repression is most successful in liquidating debts when accompanied by a steady dose of inflation, and it can be considered a form of taxation.

Vielleicht könnte das Institut oder die Stiftung wenigstens die Eindeutschung des Wikipedia-Artikels sponsern, um mal zu sehen, was draus wird.

(Bild via screenpunk)

Literatur:
[1] The Liquidation of Government Debt, Reinhart, Carmen M. & Sbrancia, M. Belen
[2] Financial Repression Redux (Reinhart, Kirkegaard, Sbrancia June 2011) IMF Finance and Development, June 2011, p. 22-26
[3] Shaw, Edward S. Financial Deepening in Economic Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973
[4] McKinnon, Ronald I. Money and Capital in Economic Development. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institute, 1973

 

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