Strategic Analysis | April 2002

Strategic Prospects and Policies for the US Economy

Notwithstanding the great achievements of the American economy, the growth of aggregate demand during the past several years has been structured in a way that would eventually prove unsustainable. During the main period of economic expansion, the fiscal stance tightened at a much greater pace than in any period during the previous 40 years, and net export demand progressively deteriorated to record deficit levels. It follows that the expansion aggregate demand had been driven by a similarly unprecedented expansion of private expenditure relative to income, financed by growing injections of net credit, which caused the indebtedness of the nonfinancial private sector to escalate to unprecedented levels. The conclusion drawn was that this process must come to an end at some stage, and that when it did, the entire stance of fiscal policy would have to move in an expansionary direction, and that for economic growth to be sustained indefinitely, net export demand would have to recover as well.

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