September 13, 2017

Low interest rates stimulate laziness in project execution and in revision of investment decisions

Sir, Izabella Kaminska is not going to be much loved today as she bravely points out to many the very uncomfortable possibility that they might have fallen head over heels “for fanciful narratives or investor cults”. Well done! That is going to generate a lot of soul-searching. “Cultish long-termism can hobble investors” September 13.

I would though like to remind Kaminska that much of “investors’ forgiving attitudes” could be explained by current extraordinary low interest rates. Just like these introduce much laziness in the execution of projects these can also provoke fewer revisions of investment strategies. Also, do not the sheer existence of negative interest rates help fuel the “grandeur of the futuristic visions being touted”?

PS. I would not refer to Andrew Haldane as a great champion for long-termism. As a regulator he has supported the extraordinary short-termism imbedded in the risk weighted capital requirements for banks. These keep banks from financing the “riskier” future our grandchildren need to be financed, having them basically just refinancing the “safer” present.