"But there is no way you could make that argument [of a huge bubble] for the eurozone as a whole – and this really is the level that you should be looking at because countries are no longer relevant macroeconomic units if they lack their own monetary and fiscal policies. The eurozone did not have a pre-crisis bubble because of Germany, which had the opposite of a bubble, with real house prices contracting since the early 1990s until the end of the last decade.
Average eurozone GDP during the period 1999-2007 was 2.3 per cent – similar to what it was the decade before. Once you look at the eurozone instead of individual countries, the fog lifts. Pre-crisis trends were fairly stable. On my calculations there is now a 12 per cent gap in real GDP between where we are today and where we would have been on the pre-crisis trend. This is staggering.
There is no way that you can attribute this gap to a bubble – since at the eurozone level there was none.
In the long run, economies tend to return to the trendline, barring some horrible economic policy mistakes. Japan has not. Even if you take its boom years as unsustainable, and flatten the trendlines a little, you still do not even come close. The experience of Japan since 1990 has been that policy mistakes can get you permanently off track. This is what has been happening in Europe.
If the eurozone had fixed the banking system in 2008, as the US did, and if it had not front-loaded fiscal adjustment, there would still have been a deep recession. But by now it would be on its way to a return to its pre-crisis trend."
Ich würde nicht so weit gehen, dass die aktuelle Produktion im Euroraum bei besserer Politik 12% höher sein könnte, weil schon heftige Anpassungen der Kapitalstruktur notwendig waren.
Aber dass der Euroraum als Ganzes gesehen vor der Krise weit entfernt davon war, Anzeichen von Blasen und gesamtwirtschaftlicher Überhitzung zu zeigen, und es folglich nicht zwingend ist, dass sich die Produktion auf einem viel niedrigeren Wachstumspfad einpendelt, das sehe ich genau so.
Und auch der These, dass die verfehlte Sanierung des Bankensektors im Euroraum ein Hauptfaktor zur Erklärung des ausbleibenden Aufschwungs ist, scheint mir schlüssig.