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  • In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic rocked economies worldwide.

  • Millions of people lost their jobs,

  • and many businesses struggled to survive or shut down completely.

  • Governments responded with some of the largest economic relief packages

  • in history

  • the United States alone spent $2.2 trillion on a first round of relief.

  • So where did all this money come from?

  • Most countries have a central bank that manages the money supply

  • and is independent from the government to prevent political interference.

  • The government can implement many types of economic policy,

  • like decreasing people's taxes

  • and creating jobs through public infrastructure projects,

  • but it actually can't just increase the money supply.

  • The central bank determines how much money is in circulation at a time.

  • So why can't central banks authorize the printing of unlimited money

  • to help an economy in crisis?

  • They could, but that's a short-term solution

  • that doesn't necessarily boost economic growth in the long-term,

  • and can actually hurt the economy.

  • Why?

  • With more money in circulation,

  • manufacturers of goods like food, clothing, and cars

  • could respond to demand simply by raising prices,

  • rather than manufacturing more of these goods

  • and creating new jobs in the process.

  • This would mean you could no longer buy as much with the same amount of money

  • a situation known as inflation.

  • A little bit of inflation, about 2% a year,

  • is considered a sign of economic health, but more can quickly derail an economy.

  • In recent decades, central banks have tried an approach

  • called quantitative easing to infuse the economy with cash

  • while maintaining a low risk of severe inflation.

  • In this approach,

  • a central bank increases cash flow by purchasing another entity's bonds.

  • Anyone can buy bonds from corporations or governments.

  • When you buy a bond, you're essentially loaning money to the company

  • or governmentwith the promise that they'll pay it back later with interest.

  • This is why buying bonds is sometimes referred to as buying debt.

  • When an individual buys a bond, they're using money that's already in circulation.

  • But when the central bank buys a bond, it essentially creates cash,

  • supplying money that didn't exist before in exchange for bonds.

  • Both during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and again in 2020,

  • the United States' central bank, the Federal Reserve,

  • bought bonds from the US government called treasury bonds.

  • Historically, many people have purchased these bonds as a safe form of investment,

  • knowing the US government will pay them back with interest.

  • In early 2020, the Federal Reserve pledged to buy unlimited treasury bonds,

  • loaning the U.S. government an unprecedented amount of money

  • cash that the government used to fund relief efforts

  • like stimulus checks and unemployment benefits.

  • This isn't equivalent to simply printing money,

  • though it may sound similar.

  • Because of the way bonds are priced, by buying so many,

  • the Federal Reserve effectively lowered the return on them,

  • which incentivizes other investors to lend to riskier entities

  • like small and midsize companiesin order to get a decent return.

  • Encouraging lending this way should help companies of all sizes borrow money

  • to funnel into projects and hires,

  • boosting the economy over time in addition to helping the government

  • supply people with urgently needed cash in the short term.

  • The Federal Reserve's pledge to buy unlimited government debt

  • has raised some questionsand eyebrows.

  • In theory, this means the government could issue more bonds,

  • which the central bank would purchase.

  • The government could then use the money from the new bonds

  • to pay off the old bonds,

  • effectively meaning the government never pays back its debt to the central bank.

  • Citing this and other theoretical scenarios,

  • some economists have raised concerns that a central bank buying government debt

  • is a subversion of a system designed to protect the economy.

  • Others have insisted these measures are necessary,

  • and have so far helped stabilize economies.

  • Though quantitative easing has become a lot more common in recent years,

  • it's still relatively new, and potential consequences are still unfolding.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic rocked economies worldwide.

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B1 中級

なぜ政府は無制限に貨幣を刷らないのか。(Why can’t governments print an unlimited amount of money? - Jonathan Smith)

  • 71 3
    moge0072008 に公開 2021 年 07 月 17 日
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