Krugman tem uma enorme “dor de cotovelo” com relação a Friedman. É tão grande que ele se “projeta” ao falar de Friedman, como no famoso ensaio na New York Review of Books – Who was Milton Friedman – (aqui) de fevereiro de 2007 após a morte de Friedman em novembro de 2006 (grifo meu):
Did the same man play all these roles? Yes and no. All three roles were informed by Friedman’s faith in the classical verities of free-market economics. Moreover, Friedman’s effectiveness as a popularizer and propagandist rested in part on his well-deserved reputation as a profound economic theorist. But there’s an important difference between the rigor of his work as a professional economist and the looser, sometimes questionable logic of his pronouncements as a public intellectual. While Friedman’s theoretical work is universally admired by professional economists, there’s much more ambivalence about his policy pronouncements and especially his popularizing. And it must be said that there were some serious questions about his intellectual honesty when he was speaking to the mass public.
E não desiste. Em post de ontem (aqui) alega, mais uma vez, que Friedman estava errado com relação ao Japão:
But I was struck by Friedman’s 1998 remarks about Japan, in which he basically said that increasing the monetary base would do the trick.
Well, they did that: staring in 2000, the BOJ nearly doubled monetary base over a period of 3 years.
And the money just sat there. Banks did not, in fact, expand loans.
In fact, Japan’s experience is a key element of the case against monetarism. Just printing notes does not work when you’re in a liquidity trap.
Mas não é nada disso. Como mostram as figuras, entre 2001 e 2006 o QE do Japão foi muito bem sucedido. Na verdade, segundo Scott Sumner, o BoJ é o BC mais bem sucedido do mundo:
What happened in Japan is precisely what proponents of QE in the US (such as Krugman and I) predict would happen. The BOJ adopted a policy of raising rates and reducing the money supply any time inflation rose above zero. (Bernanke mentioned this aspect of the BOJ’s policy in his Jackson Hole speech.) This sort of policy will not result in inflation, because the monetary injections will be viewed as temporary. And indeed they were, the BOJ reduced the monetary base by about 20% in 2006, just as inflation was rising above zero. This prevented an outbreak of inflation. In Japan the CPI is still at 1993 levels, which is of course consistent with the BOJ’s announced target–stable prices. By this standard the BOJ has been the most successful central bank in world history. Whether a stable CPI is good for the Japanese people is an entirely different matter.