I will first lay out a standard view of a handful of basic relationships that are thought to reflect key aspects of the underlying structure of the economy. I will then use that framework to explain the role that structural change plays in our current policy deliberations, focusing on how that role has been shaped by two historical episodes. Conventional Views of Macroeconomic Structure In conventional models of the economy, major economic quantities such as inflation, unemployment, and the growth rate of gross domestic product GDP fluctuate around values that are considered "normal," or "natural," or "desired.
The other values are not directly observed, nor can they be chosen by anyone. Instead, these values result from myriad interactions throughout the economy. These fundamental structural features of the economy are also known by more familiar names such as the "natural rate of unemployment" and "potential output growth. According to the conventional thinking, policymakers should navigate by these stars. For example, the famous Taylor rule calls for setting the federal funds rate based on where inflation and unemployment stand in relation to the stars.
The higher real interest rate will, through various channels, tend to moderate spending by businesses and households, which will reduce upward pressure on prices and wages as the economy cools off. Navigating by the stars can sound straightforward. Guiding policy by the stars in practice, however, has been quite challenging of late because our best assessments of the location of the stars have been changing significantly. Asset purchases declined to zero over , and in December , the FOMC began the gradual normalization of interest rates that continues to this day. As normalization has proceeded, FOMC participants and many other private- and public-sector analysts regularly adjusted their assessments of the stars figure 1.
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Many projections of the natural rate of unemployment fell roughly 1 full percentage point, as did assessments of the neutral interest rate. These changing assessments have big implications. For example, the 1 percentage point fall in the neutral interest rate implies that the federal funds rate was considerably closer to its longer-run normal and, hence, that policy was less accommodative than thought at the beginning of normalization. The 1 percentage point fall in the natural rate of unemployment implies at present that about 1. These shifts in the stars generally reflect analysts' attempts to square their estimates with arriving macroeconomic data.
For example, as the unemployment rate fell toward, and then below, estimates of its natural rate, many expected inflation to move up. When inflation instead moved sideways, a reasonable inference was that the natural rate was lower than previously thought. Further, over this period, GDP growth was slower than one might have expected based on the rapid decline in unemployment and the well-known relationship between output and unemployment known as Okun's law.
These assessments of the values of the stars are imprecise and subject to further revision. To return to the nautical metaphor, the FOMC has been navigating between the shoals of overheating and premature tightening with only a hazy view of what seem to be shifting navigational guides. Our approach to this challenge has been shaped by two much discussed historical episodes--the Great Inflation of the s and s and the "new economy" period of the late s.
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Shifting Stars and the Great Inflation While the crisis and its aftermath have been extraordinary in many ways, the shifting of the stars is not one of them. Figure 2 illustrates the Congressional Budget Office's CBO current estimate of movements in the natural rate of unemployment and potential GDP growth from to Of course, these CBO estimates benefit from many years of hindsight, whereas monetary policy must be based on assessments made in real time.
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The Great Inflation period vividly illustrates the difficulties this difference raises. Around , the United States entered a period of high and volatile inflation that ended with inflation in double digits in the early s. Multiple factors, including monetary policy errors, contributed to the Great Inflation. Many researchers have concluded that a key mistake was that monetary policymakers placed too much emphasis on imprecise--and, as it turns out, overly optimistic--real-time estimates of the natural rate of unemployment.
Figure 3 compares the CBO's current view of the natural rate of unemployment in that era with an estimate by Athanasios Orphanides and John Williams of the rate as policymakers perceived it in real time. The Great Inflation did, however, prompt an "expectations revolution" in macroeconomic thinking, with one overwhelmingly important lesson for monetary policymakers: Anchoring longer-term inflation expectations is a vital precondition for reaching all other monetary policy goals. When longer-term inflation expectations are anchored, unanticipated developments may push inflation up or down, but people expect that inflation will return fairly promptly to the desired value.
This is the key insight at the heart of the widespread adoption of inflation targeting by central banks in the wake of the Great Inflation. Anchored expectations give a central bank greater flexibility to stabilize both unemployment and inflation. When a central bank acts to stimulate the economy to bring down unemployment, inflation might push above the bank's inflation target.
With expectations anchored, people expect the central bank to pursue policies that bring inflation back down, and longer-term inflation expectations do not rise. Thus, policy can be a bit more accommodative than if policymakers had to offset a rise in longer-term expectations. Shifting Stars and the "New Economy" of the Late s The second half of the s confronted policymakers with a situation that was in some ways the flipside of that in the Great Inflation. In mid, the unemployment rate was below the natural rate as perceived in real time, and many FOMC participants and others were forecasting growth above the economy's potential.
Sentiment was building on the FOMC to raise the federal funds rate to head off the risk of rising inflation. Greenspan argued that the FOMC should hold off on rate increases. Over the next two years, thanks to his considerable fortitude, Greenspan prevailed, and the FOMC raised the federal funds rate only once from mid through late Once again, shifting stars help explain the performance of inflation, which many had seen as a puzzle.
Whereas during the Great Inflation period the real-time natural rate of unemployment had been well below our current-day assessment, in the new-economy period, this relation was reversed figure 3. The labor market looked to be tight and getting tighter in real time, but in retrospect, we estimate that there was slack in the labor market in and early , and the labor market only tightened appreciably through figure 4. Greenspan was also right that the potential growth rate had shifted up. With hindsight, we recognize today that higher potential growth could accommodate the very strong growth that actually materialized, let alone the moderate growth policymakers were forecasting.
Under Chairman Greenspan's leadership, the Committee converged on a risk-management strategy that can be distilled into a simple request: Let's wait one more meeting; if there are clearer signs of inflation, we will commence tightening. And meeting after meeting, inflation gradually declined. In retrospect, it may seem odd that it took great fortitude to defend "let's wait one more meeting," given that inflation was low and falling.
Conventional wisdom at the time, however, still urged policymakers to respond preemptively to inflation risk--even when that risk was gleaned mainly from hazy, real-time assessments of the stars. With the experience in the new-economy period, policymakers were beginning to appreciate that, with inflation expectations much better anchored than before, there was a smaller risk that an inflation uptick under Greenspan's "wait and see" approach would become a significant problem. That approach continues to evolve based on experience and the growing literature on monetary policy and structural uncertainty.
Experience has revealed two realities about the relation between inflation and unemployment, and these bear directly on the two questions I started with. First, the stars are sometimes far from where we perceive them to be. Second, the reverse also seems to be true: Inflation may no longer be the first or best indicator of a tight labor market and rising pressures on resource utilization.
Part of the reason inflation sends a weaker signal is undoubtedly the achievement of anchored inflation expectations and the related flattening of the Phillips curve. Thus, risk management suggests looking beyond inflation for signs of excesses. These two realities present challenges. The literature on uncertainty reviewed at the symposium--and much refined since then--provides important advice for how policy should respond, although not yet, in my view, an explicit recipe or rule that a prudent central bank should follow.
The risks from misperceiving the stars also now play a prominent role in the FOMC's deliberations. A paper by Federal Reserve Board staff is a recent example of a range of research that helps FOMC participants visualize and manage these risks. One general finding is that no single, simple approach to monetary policy is likely to be appropriate across a broad range of plausible scenarios. Finally, the literature on structural uncertainty suggests some broader insights.
This literature started with the work of William Brainard and the well-known Brainard principle, which recommends that when you are uncertain about the effects of your actions, you should move conservatively. As Brainard made clear, this is not a universal truth, and recent research highlights two particularly important cases in which doing too little comes with higher costs than doing too much.
The first case is when attempting to avoid severely adverse events such as a financial crisis or an extended period with interest rates at the effective lower bound. If expectations were to begin to drift, the reality or expectation of a weak initial response could exacerbate the problem. In addition, a decade of regulatory reforms and private-sector advances have greatly increased the strength and resilience of the financial system, with the aim of reducing the likelihood that the inevitable financial shocks will become crises.
The Current Situation Let me conclude by returning to the matter of navigating between the two risks I identified--moving too fast and needlessly shortening the expansion, versus moving too slowly and risking a destabilizing overheating. Readers of the minutes of FOMC meetings and other communications will know that our discussions focus keenly on the relative salience of these risks.
The diversity of views on the FOMC is one of the great virtues of our system. Despite differing views on these questions and others, we have a long institutional tradition of finding common ground in coalescing around a policy stance. I see the current path of gradually raising interest rates as the FOMC's approach to taking seriously both of these risks. While the unemployment rate is below the Committee's estimate of the longer-run natural rate, estimates of this rate are quite uncertain.
The same is true of estimates of the neutral interest rate. We therefore refer to many indicators when judging the degree of slack in the economy or the degree of accommodation in the current policy stance. We are also aware that, over time, inflation has become much less responsive to changes in resource utilization. While inflation has recently moved up near 2 percent, we have seen no clear sign of an acceleration above 2 percent, and there does not seem to be an elevated risk of overheating.
This is good news, and we believe that this good news results in part from the ongoing normalization process, which has moved the stance of policy gradually closer to the FOMC's rough assessment of neutral as the expansion has continued. Taken together, both terms-- creativity and sustainability-- are contemporary buzzwords, wherein we miss the opportunity to explore their real potential and impact once applied. Each phase--whether growth, decline, or recovery-- has its own dynamism and appears in many forms, shapes, and networks. As a result a growing number of creative commons or communities evolve out of these alternative lifestyles.
Can we see the search for a meaningful everyday life in the city as a chance to recover hidden abilities, potentials, and chances for the future, at best a sustainable future? The case of Tokyo offers a good example of what happens to a city which has undergone such dynamic changes in recent decades, at the same time looking for alternative approaches to its diverse and complex problems such as limited resources, shrinkage, and urban decline. The Case of Tokyo Having undergone rapid urbanization and modernization in the twentieth century, Tokyo now faces new complex challenges caused by global change and inter-regional competition including an aging and shrinking population and ongoing conflicts over the creation of new office and living space versus the maintenance of long-standing community structures exemplified by traditional forms of inner-city housing.
Responses to some of these challenges include the emergence of new social movements, cultural revivals, or the forging of new, unknown, hybrid lifestyles. Those phenomena can be best understood by studying concrete ways in which people re- interpret and re- occupy small ordinary places. Tokyo, a city which is rebuilt continuously, has an interesting mix of contradictions, a patchwork of different building types, and scales and trends scattered in a network of small- scale neighborhoods with no street names, framed by larger streets and infrastructures of different eras.
Even the tiny plots of land and small-scale urban spaces are used to build imaginative and creative structures. Especially along the narrow streets, under the railway tracks, and in small-scale urban voids, we find unique and innovative buildings. Creativity and Sustainability as an Approach to Revitalization Especially when talking about opposite processes such as decline and recovery, we should study the case of Tokyo, a city which has been in a spiral of decline for several decades but has been targeted for regeneration, renewal, and alternative ways of growth by the public Tokyo Government, other private developers and even individuals.
In the last few decades, Tokyo has been facing new, more complex urban challenges, especially after a phase of rapid growth, extensive urban sprawl and large-scale development during the s and s. These issues have either been left unsolved or emerged as a result of existing problems like kakusa shakai, the increasing economic gap between the rich and poor in rural and urban areas at the local level, or the new urban rich and a growing group of people without secure futures e.
Yet, a certain degree and form of social segregation and gentrification can be observed at the neighborhood level,46 at which the different conflicts are directly felt and visible. Yet, what happens to the areas urban or rural whose economies fail to provide the expected outcomes or do not do so in the timeframe set by the governors?. Are these creative clusters continuing to strive, stagnate, or develop in a different direction instead?
One central purpose of this chapter is to analyze to what extent creativity is: The theoretical starting point of this research is to see the function and meaning of creativity in the process of urban revitalization as a combination of these patterns and as an organic process. The chapter aims to study different processes of creativity and urban practices to show how these processes affect the term sustainability.
The results can help us to understand and develop strategies to revive the city from inside. This will be done in applying innovative methods as urban trailing with specific urban dwellers, e. More specifically, different participants were asked how they experience the neighborhood and life in the city. Some native residents talked about their different positive and negative aspects, drawing on traditional features such as: They also talked about how these features have been changing in times of rapid modernization and urban restructuring, resulting in new and sometimes unseen spatial and social realities.
Before presenting the interviews, the case of Yanaka will be introduced to set the backdrop for the specific examples and explain why this district of Tokyo is special.
The Case of Yanaka: From Ordinary Place to Creative Hot Spot Yanaka district is located in the ward Taito-ku, in eastern Tokyo, and 8, people lived in the area in Yanaka was known as teramachi temple town or 'land of temples' during Edo between th century. In the hilly area hundreds of temples as well as shrines and cemeteries could be found, especially after and the Great Meireki Fire, during which many temples were destroyed and then rebuilt in the Yanaka neighborhood. The district was back then located at the fringe of urbanizing Edo, offering enough space and higher ground for the relocation of the temples of Tokyo.
The amount of temples and mansions of feudal lords explains the relatively large plots size, umpteen traditional buildings, and spirit we still find today. Due to the persistence of urban fabric over hundreds of years, Yanaka has never faced alterations, redevelopment, or large-scale renewal. The maze of streets, side streets, and alleyways has been growing organically and many plots along them are diminutive, cramped, and, as a result of subdivision, hidden from streets with major access and often only accessible by foot.
Land ownership in areas like Yanaka are difficult to define as the parcelled plots belong to private properties on which residents share mutual rights. These aspects make it nowadays even more difficult to regulate or re-model some areas for necessary safety measurements for fire and earthquake prevention. The area is famous for its art universities, galleries, and historical buildings. The newest example is a traditional setting of three houses which was supposed be turned into a parking lot but instead opened in May under the name Ueno Sakuragi Atari.
Several other community spaces offer regular events to keep the traditions of artisan craftsmen and the connections between native and newcomers alive. There is consensus that the area should be protected. In , a community center was opened in Yanaka to enable the residents to engage more in local town planning or so-called machizukuri projects. In the s, local initiatives began to propose ways to deal with processes of urban restructuring, which also started to occur in many inner-city neighborhoods of Tokyo.
This approach is known as 'community building' machizukuri, a process in which the local community can suggest ideas to the local government and other stakeholders to find the best possible compromise. Consequently, surveys and other workshops were organized to document the historical elements. All members of the community including residents and children were invited to festivals, flea markets, and other cultural events-- like the annual art festival Geikoten-- to spread local knowledge and engage the community in different activities.
The Geikoten Event, which was established in and takes place every year during the month of October, invites all community members to participate in the event, whether by exhibiting their artistic work, visiting local stands and galleries, or getting involved in other ways. As many people take part, the whole neighborhood is on the move, visiting local workshops, studios, street stalls, installations and other open air spaces. Derelict houses, vacant plots, and other nooks and crannies are used for temporary installations, performances, and art events.
Self-produced maps are distributed to visitors to encourage insiders and outsiders to visit the public and private spaces that are open during this special two-week event. Since then the NGO started to collaborate with other neighborhood groups to preserve the historical features of the district and to spread the word to other cities. For this purpose, local community members conduct tours and surveys and use social media to invite people of all walks of life to claim their right to the street and to remember the values of the local culture. Other main stream media feature the district and its special events, attracting in return more visitors and tourists.
Yet, a recent survey conducted by the Taito Cultural and Historical Society and the graduate school of the Tokyo University of the Arts in showed that out of the traditional wooden building constructed around and documented in , only still existed in and even fewer remained in The major reason might be due to the fact that the Tokyo government is concerned about the safety of these wooden houses and asked house owners to prepare their properties to be more earthquake safe.
As a result, some owners decided to reinforce them; however, this was rarely done as it is very cost intensive. On the other hand, the group was able to reach an agreement to preserve the historical and cultural landscape of Yanaka, as the government was agreeing to apply the 'community-building charter' to the case of Yanaka. These features have made Yanaka in the last few decades an increasingly desirable neighborhood, which is nowadays appreciated by young and old people alike who have moved to the area.
Architects and real estate companies are responding to this trend by providing increasingly new housing in the form of modern high-rise buildings, which are considered to be the mainstream of contemporary urban residential developments. The following interviews mirror, on the one hand, the pressures, conflicts and challenges that the residents are facing, and, on the other, how they consider their own activities, lifestyles, and creative practices to help to sustain the community.
Changing Urban Landscape, seen from Yanaka Imai, If we compare the development of Yanaka to that of an urban common, we can find one mutual aim, which is to be open to all and move the concept beyond the conversation about urban gardening.
Thus, it started with ordinary citizens, not just activists, establishing an alternative group, resulting in an alternative urban economy with its own micro-system, market, and politics. Yet, such a system is always in danger of becoming an enclave, a process which is already going on as we can recognize new forms of gentrification by outsiders and insiders. Once the area is ruled by a limited, albeit local group, the community can become more closed and less accessible for newcomers who want to assert their right to use the commons.
In such a situation, it can be a huge challenge to keep the community open for all, and to expand the group of participants once established members get tired or do not see the need to strive for new forms of creativity and productivity. Thus, the system needs to be sustainable as otherwise its real potential cannot be used to keep the community alive and falls instead into the trap of producing an exclusive place for some, burdening the rest of the community.
Knowing of these challenges, the local town group is always trying to invite young newcomers to the discussion and aiming to implant new forms of social places as seen in the case of the newest project, Ueno Sakuragi Atari, which offers working and leisure places for all.
This can mean that cases like Yanaka should become the new normal and mainstream, especially if we succeed at coming up with an effective form of political organization which does not destroy its creative potential. If that is possible, communities and commons can reshape our understanding of active participation, creativity and sustainability. Furthermore, processing the material requires special skills, making it an expensive item.
Asked about her private life and how she makes a living nowadays, Kumai- san answered: My father-in-law strives for a multiple business and was finally successful.
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These days we do not only do tatami works but also interior works. However, it is not easy to survive in the shrinking market of this business derived from structural changes. Let's say there used to be many house builders from which we got jobs, but this happens not so often anymore [ Thus, Kumai-san was able to adapt to the changes in her business and can now make a living running a traditional craft shop and art gallery. The traditional features of the area of Yanaka seem to support her business, as different old clients as well as an increasing number of new customers visit the area on a regular basis or during seasonal events like exhibitions and local festivals.
As a result of the ongoing gentrification of the neighborhood, several newcomers have moved onto her street, and Kumai-san is interested in developing good communication between her native and new neighbors, as well as with the many visitors who come to the area on weekends. She is sometimes surprised by their spontaneous visits to the shop, which inspire her to find new topics for her exhibitions and ideas for her voluntary work in the local town planning group. Thus, she is not afraid of any possible effects on her daily life as she is welcoming people who are interested in the history of that place and keeping the area alive.
Kumai-san even mentions that in the morning before our interview people from the TV station NHK came to visit the area to film the opening of a new shop, and that the week before our interview her father-in-law repaired tatami mats in the remaining space behind their house, a feature many mainly young visitors do not know but desire to experience.
Thus, creative urban practices of native urban dwellers seem to reflect everyday urban life struggles and chances, influenced by traditional and modern features. Ordinary Places as a Source of Inspiration and Creativity Kumai-san's immediate neighbor considers the neighborhood in a different way. Asked why she is not active in the local machizukuri groups, she stated that she is too busy during the week running her own business and developing new ideas to attract enough customers and to make a living.
In response to whether she likes the traditional atmosphere of the area, she stated: Yes, the neighborhood has changed during the last years, but I am a newcomer and for me it is important that I can combine work and living. Being further asked if this was the reason why she moved to the area, she stated that she was attracted by the charm of the old houses and the mix of old and new because many galleries, ateliers and alternative shops have recently opened in the area nearby.
Her neighbor runs a rice-cracker shop; to the question if she communicates with him, she answered that she rarely sees him, as she mainly visits other facilities like the art gallery on the corner opposite the tatami shop. To compare to her view, I had a chance to talk to Tanaka-san some days later. Tanaka- san runs the shop next to her. Being asked if he keeps good communication with his new neighbors he stated: Communication, I would not call it communication. We exchange occasional greetings, but furthermore not much…I am afraid of the current changes going on. And yes, the new shops are also some kind of competitor for me, as many visitors to the area are young people who come to Yanaka to enjoy a walk and coffee…and sometimes, also buy some souvenirs at my shop [ The creative changes in the city and in this regards growing gentrification process has, on the one hand, positive effects on the spatial and social structure of the area, as new people move into the old houses to open new shops, attracting new people to the area.
Nevertheless, it also increases existing disparities between natives and newcomers who have different perspectives on the future of the traditional neighborhood. Newcomers to the area are bringing not only new ideas but also new forms of urban lifestyles, which start to dominate and become new urban trends and signs of new forms of gentrification. In the area down the hill in Yanaka, I interviewed Okano-san, who is running a flower shop in an old wooden house. The place was previously a carpentry shop, which her father rented to somebody, until Okano-san returned to the neighborhood ten years ago to take over the place.
Talking about her childhood days and how the area has changed during the last thirty years, she stated: Of course, during childhood, the locals helped each other. We would have dinner with our neighbors, and they would let us use their bath. I wonder what is left of those times. Doubtless I developed my attraction to old things from this old working- class neighborhood.
Older ladies come to do their shopping at the supermarket nearby with their wicker baskets, which they meticulously repair the minute they get damaged, even slightly. A good quality item, you can use for a long time. When I come across these sorts of people, I think they really have style Interview Although most of her customers are newcomers and to some extent living in the new apartment blocks, she regrets that the area is changing into a neighborhood with mainly high-rise buildings, as this also has negative impacts on the area including a decrease in sunlight and green space.
To the question whether she is active in some kind of local group to support the preservation of the area, she answered that she is not active, as she prefers to lead her alternative life and run free with her creativity. Talking about the importance of maintaining public, ordinary places surrounding her house, she explained what role these places are playing for her: Because of my nature, being hurried up, I just prefer to make short-cuts using the alleyways.
Alternatively, my nature may be the same as that of children which seek for a small space like a box which they like to get into […] and I prefer to walk the alley alone in the morning, when everything is empty and quiet, as this reminds me of my childhood days. Nowadays everything got so fast and noisy, that I long for that moment I just can hide and escape from her busy, daily life Interview This statement shows that she is using the leftover urban places as gaps and alleyways as her hide-out and her own place of retreat as she is not actively supporting revitalization and preservation attempts, but likes to make creative use of the alleyway.
She was not living in the area during the time changes such as emerging high-rise blocks first became visible. Being now back in her neighborhood, she has somehow accepted and internalized the changing urban landscape in following, in her own way, an urban and creative lifestyle. This reaction can be described as a combination of compensation using the urban places for her daily walk to remember , adaption running this kind of shop, she responded to the demand of the new clientele living and visiting the area, thus allowing her to live here , and resignation as she is not getting active in a local group or similar organization.
Finally, it can be argued that her hybrid lifestyle reflects different facets of the changes going on in the area, as she, on the one hand, regrets the changes of the neighborhood and, on the other hand, longs for more ordinary places to allow her to reflect on her past, present, and future. Interviewees in Yanaka Imai, Creative Practices and Sustainable Lifestyles Walking along the border of Yanaka and Nezu, I entered a shop called DouDou and found a woman in her late 30s standing behind the counter.
She opened the atelier in along with her husband, who was born in the area and returned to live here in He sews the goods while she is running the shop. Ando-san discovered this local neighborhood while studying at the Art University near Ueno Park and has since then seen many friends and colleagues start their own small businesses in this area. Her immediate neighbor also runs an atelier for different self-made accessories and bags, but in contrast to her, she is running her shop independently with her husband.
It was always a small dream to run her own shop, and to realize this, she mainly relies on the communication and network she established with her direct neighbors. Inquired about whether she is also active in the local neighborhood association or longstanding community, she states that she and her husband take part in different events throughout the year e.