America’s recovery breeds complacency about macroeconomic risks

FIVE years after the darkest days of the financial crisis, Lawrence Summers took the dais at an IMF forum to offer a few thoughts on America’s recovery. It was lousy. Growth showed no signs of making up ground lost during a deep recession. The unemployment rate had only just fallen back below 7%. It was common to attribute this lousiness to the after-effects of a monumentally nasty downturn. But Mr Summers suggested that his listeners consider another possibility: that America was stuck in a pattern of slumps punctuated by bubbles, and had been since well before the banking system seized up in August 2007. It is fashionable now, a decade after Lehman Brothers collapsed, to say that the “secular stagnation” hypothesis Mr Summers put forward is no longer relevant. America’s economy grew at an annual pace of 4.2% in the most recent quarter, and unemployment is at 3.9%. But there is little reason to think the world has escaped from the macroeconomic pattern that made the crisis possible.

Mr Summers...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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