Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Advice # 876: Take A Longer Perspective

I look at a graph showing Indonesia per capita GDP level and annual growth from 1970 to 2007 and could not stop to marvel (if it is the right word) that the depth of our 1997 crisis actually makes the US zero growth this year look like a one lazy Sunday afternoon.

It takes a mere two years from around 15 percent GDP per capita contraction to regain positive growth, as Reinhart and Rogoff (in pdf) rightly point out; but around 7 years to get back to pre-crisis income per capita level. Even more daunting, after the crisis, the average annual growth has been substantially lower than before, despite its accelerated upward trend.

And today we have global recession. I just hope that we don't take a wrong lesson by taking short-sighted economic populist policy and dramatically departing from market-based reform that has been responsible for much of the longer-run pre crisis growth and post crisis recovery.

Getting off the track is too expensive. Although the temptation is high, especially if you want to run for President/House members/funny pundit.

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