Yale university economist Robert Schiller is featured on CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe arguing that house prices may not yet have hit bottom and the new age of austerity was promoting recessionary lack of confidence. Schiller who is a very creative economist at Yale and contributes to the development of both Keynesian and behavioural economics as well as having developed the Case Schiller housing index has called the current circumstances “the late great depression.”
Certainly this is what Spain another key economy in Europe is suffering from, as its economy contracted 0.3 % in the first quarter of 2012. Year to year the Spanish economy has contracted 0. 4 %. Schiller usefully points out that for the first 50 years of the twentieth century house prices fell rather than rose, so a prolonged period of falling prices would not be unprecedented. This is precisely why those who advocate austerity as a cure ought to rethink their argument. It is bad medicine for an economy already immersed in falling prices.
I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.