At the Institute for New Economic Thinking conference in Berlin, economist Joe Stiglitz delivered a presentation titled Is Mercantilism Doomed to Fail? China, Germany, and Japan and the Exhaustion of Debtor Countries.
The basic idea is: A few powerhouses like China, Germany, and Japan, plus some commodity based economies, have thrived in a system where they do all the exporting, and a few countries like the US run massive trade deficits.
But that system is coming to an end, as countries realize that their trade deficits are unsustainable, and seek to become trade surplus countries at the same time. Of course, not everyone can run surpluses, so this becomes a game of hot potato, with everyone pushing the deficit to someone else, via currency devaluation and other aggressive trade moves.
In this presentation, Stiglitz explains why the system is heading towards collapse.
Tony Robbins, Ron Paul And Ben Bernanke All Agree: The National Debt Crisis Could Destroy America
Is there one thing that Tony Robbins, Ron Paul and Ben Bernanke can all agree on? Yes, there actually is. Recently they have all come forward with warnings that the national debt crisis could destroy America if something is not done. Unfortunately, our politicians continue to spend us into oblivion as if there will never be any consequences. When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. national debt was 10.6 trillion dollars. Today, it is 15.6 trillion dollars and it is rising at the rate of about 150 million dollars an hour. During the Obama administration so far, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from 1776 to 1995. The United States now has a debt to GDP ratio of over 100 percent, and another credit rating agency downgraded U.S. debt earlier this month. Any talk of a positive economic future is utter nonsense as long as we are bleeding red ink as a nation far faster than we ever have before. It is absolutely immoral to wreck the financial future of our children and our grandchildren and to leave them with a bill for the greatest mountain of debt in the history of the world, but that is exactly what we are doing. Unless our current debt-based financial system is thrown out, there are only two ways that this game is going to play out. One would involve absolutely bitter austerity and deflation unlike anything ever seen before, and the other would involve nightmarish hyperinflation. Either path would be hellish beyond what most Americans could possibly imagine.
Unfortunately, we are running out of time as a nation.