Austerity v Stimulus

The Northern Ireland Economic Conference, Belfast

I.

How much do people mind the deficit? Do they lie awake at night worrying about it? Do they have nightmares about it?

I tended to dismiss such thoughts as fanciful. Households and businesses, I thought, naturally worried about their own budgets, but not about the government’s budget.

I therefore tended to assume that the government had enough freedom over its own budget to do what it thought best for the country, without coming under undue popular pressure to ‘balance its books’.

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Europe’s Debt Crisis and Implications for Policy

Keynote Speech at FT Conference in Amsterdam 

In its latest briefing note the IMF warned that world growth would slow in the second half of 2010 and the first half of 2011. Meanwhile the cost of Greek government debt has shot up again, despite the ECB rescue-package, and the IMF will soon inject another 2.5bn euros into the Greek economy. Finally, European trade unions are planning a winter of protest against cuts. These are just the latest glimpses of what is happening in the world economy.

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