Het IMF maakt een foutje

Uit de Sydney Morning Herald:

The IMF […] solemnly advised the nations of Europe coming out of the financial crisis to raise taxes and wind back government spending. Its commandments had weight. Yes, it had failed to foresee the crisis in the first place, but it was the lender of last resort. […]

And it had modelled what would happen if they did what it said. For every dollar they cut their budgets, their economic growth would suffer just 50¢. Its forecasts said so.

On Friday, in its first working paper (pdf) of the year, it revealed the full horror of what did happen. Personally authored by the fund’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, the paper said that for every dollar those nations cut their budgets their economies crumpled something more like $1.50. […]

The fund forecast that if the eurozone took its advice it would grow 1.8 per cent throughout 2011. It grew 0.7 per cent. Italy would climb 1.3 per cent; it slid 0.5 per cent. Spain would surge 1.8 per cent; it grew not at all. […]

The shocking thing about the incorrect IMF forecasts confirmed by its chief economist is that there were few unexpected events. The global environment was broadly as forecast. The nations of Europe did what was forecast. The consequence was nothing like what was forecast. The fund misunderstood the mechanics.

As Blanchard put it, his forecasters “significantly underestimated the increase in unemployment and the decline in private consumption and investment associated with fiscal consolidation”.

Met andere woorden: ‘bezuinigen om het vertrouwen te herstellen’ was, zoals we eigenlijk al wel wisten, een recept voor alleen maar meer ellende.

Dankjewel IMF!

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