Nouriel Roubini: “We are in a trap of high inflation, and this is a source of disasters”

Economist and professor at the Stern School of Business (New York University, New York) Nouriel Roubini (Istanbul, 1959), who predicted in 2006 the terrible effects of the Great Recession, defends: . This week he was in Madrid to present his new book, The Great Threats. The 10 global trends that threaten our future and how to survive them.” A volume breaking down dozens of threats that could endanger our future: from the “mother of all debt crises” to Cold War 2.0 between the United States and China, through “great stagflation”. “Each threat affects others and vice versa. I call them ‘megathreats’ to define that all these crises are the same,” Roubini explains during the interview with ABC: – In “Megathreats” he describes ten important dangers to humanity such as the debt crisis, a new cold war, and above . All, “stagflation with great stagnation.” Can we handle all of this? I talk about each of them in a chapter and explain potential solutions to these potential threats. However, the problem they all have in common is that many solutions involve costs and sacrifices in the short term for a country or for the world in the medium and long term. This is why many of these measures are not politically implemented in a democracy, even in non-democratic countries. For example, this happened two decades ago in Germany with Gerhard Schröder (German Chancellor from 1998 to 2005). This is why I don’t want to create the illusion that doing this or that will solve this problem. This is complicated in a world of rich and poor, of global geopolitical rivalries. Every threat affects others and vice versa. I call them Mega Threats, which is a very popular term now, to define that all of these crises are the same. – You are talking about a new cold war between the United States and China, so will the separation between the economies of the two powers continue? There is a cold war but not only between the United States and China, but involving four or five revisionist powers such as Russia, Iran, North Korea and, increasingly, Pakistan, who are effectively allies of each other. All of them challenge the monetary, financial, political and security order that the United States and Europe established after World War II. They have a very different vision of how the world should be. So we are already in cold wars that are only going to get colder and colder, some of which may escalate into open conflict. This cold war has already led to some decoupling in some trade and other types of restrictions. In your book, you tell how they called you “Dr. Doom” when you warned about the Great Recession in 2008. Did we learn anything from all that? I’m a realist, not Doctor Doom. I agree that the title “Doctor Doom” is more appealing, but what I’m trying to do is think about what goes well and what could go wrong. I see more dangers in the world in a decade or two. There are political solutions, but they are all costly and not easy to implement. We’ve been through a global financial crisis, covid… I don’t think we’ve fully learned the lessons from all of that: Public/private GDP ratios have been growing because of the decoupling of loose and credit-friendly monetary policies. He went further despite the fact that there is already a data overload that we need to carry out structural reforms to increase productivity growth in our countries and to meet the challenges coming from economics, technology, geopolitics… – Spain has a huge public debt. Do you think the government is adopting the right policies? – The generation of debt and deficits has happened in Spain over the past decades, sometimes with centre-left governments, but I don’t think it’s anything special. The deficit trend cuts across the political spectrum in democracies. There are elections and before them they will do financial incentives in the hope of gaining popularity, the oath is doing. Left governments too. And when populists come to power, their economic policies are reckless, and even more so financially reckless. However, the main concern of the Spaniards is food prices. The government says it will fall this year. How do you see that? – High inflation is the product of a combination of factors that not only affect Spain but also the advanced economies, which have what many people call bad policies. Then we have the Russian invasion of Ukraine, before the covid shock… We are in a trap of high inflation and that is ultimately a source of disaster. However, there are no simple solutions at this point. Debt and deficit building has been going on for decades. The policies have been too loose for too long causing inflation and negative supply shocks that you can’t change in the short term. Huge reforms must be made to increase productive supply in the next 10 or 20 years. But all this takes time. – In any case, you bet that there will be “great stagflation”. They’re big words… – Geopolitical depression and the US-China decoupling, among other factors. All this reduces potential growth, increases production costs and forget about fiscal and monetary policies. All of this causes stagflation, so the “great moderation” has given way to “great stagflation” and that instability is upon us.

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