Essa palestra de 2000 no Canadá era sobre câmbio flutuante (aqui), mas o interessante é ler a seção de perguntas e respostas ao final. Questionado por David Leidler sobre o Japão, Friedman responde:
David Laidler: Many commentators are claiming that, in Japan, with short interest rates essentially at zero, monetary policy is as expansionary as it can get, but has had no stimulative effect on the economy. Do you have a view on this issue?
Milton Friedman: Yes, indeed. As far as Japan is concerned, the situation is very clear. And it’s a good example. I’m glad you brought it up, because it shows how unreliable interest rates can be as an indicator of appropriate monetary policy. The Japanese bank has supposedly had, until very recently, a zero interest rate policy. Yet that zero interest rate policy was evidence of an extremely tight monetary policy. Essentially, you had deflation. The real interest rate was positive; it was not negative. What you needed in Japan was more liquidity. During the 1970s, you had the bubble period. Monetary growth was very high. There was a so-called speculative bubble in the stock market.
In 1989, the Bank of Japan stepped on the brakes very hard and brought money supply down to negative rates for a while. The stock market broke. The economy went into a recession, and it’s been in a state of quasirecession ever since. Monetary growth has been too low. Now, the Bank of Japan’s argument is, “Oh well, we’ve got the interest rate down to zero; what more can we do?”
It’s very simple. They can buy long-term government securities, and they can keep buying them and providing high-powered money until the highpowered money starts getting the economy in an expansion. What Japan needs is a more expansive domestic monetary policy.
Pena que Friedman morreu e não está aí para “botar a boca no trombone”. Ele teria “carisma” para mudar o curso dos acontecimentos!