April 03, 2009

The sincerity of the authorities matter more than their commitment to stability.

Sir Martin Wolf in “Credibility is key to policy success” April 3, writes that “a central bank’s unconventional monetary operations are reversible” but says little on the issue that the distributional effects for the citizens of such operations are most probably not reversible at all.

At this moment for many private persons and entities any “quantitative easing” dilutes effectively the current value of their cash, with no guarantee of reversal, making it thereby a very non-transparent tax, and so countermeasures will be taken by the market, for sure.

Keeping up any government’s credibility while it plays hidden games under the table is not an easy trick, for any magician. This is not so much about the “sincerity of the authorities’ commitment to stability” as it is about authorities’ general sincerity.

The worst part though might be that “quantitative easing” makes it also difficult for the government to be sincere with itself as it really does know what the market would look like in the absence of such easing, just like a company cannot be really sure of the price of their shares during a stock-repurchase plan.