Jacksons Hole is a valley in the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. It has a number of ski resorts and is one the most exclusive, and expensive, tourist resorts in the United States.
Every year if hosts a symposium in which the world’s top Central Bankers, and its most highly regarded economists share insights on questions such as
- What factors will accelerate or slow/ economic growth? How can national economies be made more efficient?
- Should interest rates be increased/reduced in light of prevailing rates of inflation?
While the discussions in Jackson’s Hole do not lead to common policy positions, they do lead towards a better common understanding of the facts.
I had a chance to look at some of the papers that were put before the symposium last month
DETERMINANTS OF GROWTH
Charles Jones of Stanford said the average growth rate of the US economy since 1880 has been 2%.
The factors that determine economic growth are capital investment, population growth and skills. These factors are predictable and the levels to economic growth associated with them are also to a degree predictable. One growth factor that is unpredictable, and does not follow any economic cycle is what Charle Jones calls IDEAS. Ideas can arise through conversation, reading, responses to crises.
The development of ideas often , though not always, requires spending on R and D, and collaboration between places where R and D is carried out. Brexit cut UK universities off from subsidised collaborative R and D with EU universities…..a big mistake by British voters.
Jones drew attention to something called Moores Law which says a country must INCREASE its level of R and D just to maintain its rate of growth. I do not understand this,
THE ECONOMICS OF CARE
Nela Richardson delved into the economics of caring for those who are too old or too young to care for themselves.
The average nurse in the US earns $84000 and the average teacher earns $58000.
I am surprised at his differential.
I would have expected teachers to be paid more. I wonder what the equivalent differential is in Ireland.
Attention is only paid to care provided for pay.
Unpaid care, given out of love, or of religious or moral responsibility, is defined out of existence. So policies that might encourage unpaid care are not even considered.
WILDLY DIVEREGENT CONSRUCTION COSTS
Looking at the relative efficiencies of construction in different countries,
I saw some statistics for the cost of building a mile of tunnel. The differences are startling. They are
- Spain …………$113 million
- Italy…………..$348 million
- UK……………$ 676 million
- USA…………$1248 million
These relative costs should be explored
LIVING FOREVER WITH HIGH PUBLIC DEBT
Another presentation to the symposium was by Barry Eichengreen…. about public debt.
He was not optimistic that debt levels would be reduced because he felt voters would not allow governments to run the necessary budget surpluses.