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From stagflation to depression


The relative success of anti-inflationary policies and the excessive attention to short-term tend to conceal the trend evolutions of developed economies. Political consensus in favour of restoring the so-called « major (financial ?) equilibria » suppresses any discussion of the causes of the continuing worsening of unemployment in Europe — a truly fondamental problem In our interpretation — a Keynesian one since only this theory addresses the issue of unvoluntary unemployment — the economic developments of the past fifteen years have been cumulative and self- feeding. Following various shocks — whose double nature of demand and supply shocks has not always been perceived — , global and structural disequilibria concur and are mutually reinforcing in a process of downward quantitative adjustments which produces first stagflation, then depression. Private and public agents' non-cooperative behavior aggravate these tendancies. When experiencing sustained demand on their markets, coalitions of suppliers feed inflation by over-indexing prices. Following the second oil shock, the generalized inversion of policy priorities, leading to desinflation by means of decreasing demand, gives international economic relations a non-cooperative character of competition through depression. Only the restatement of the natural pre-eminence of employment and growth objectives would permit the international coordination of expansionist macroeconomic policies, capable of reversing these perverse processes.

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