Sounds boring, but wait, read on. These terms are behind much that matters. First is ZIRP or Zero Interest Rate Policy. The developed world (Europe, Japan, USA) dropped interest rate to zero save the economy from the 2008 crash. Unfortunately, the economy stagnated while bank savings rates to dropped to almost nothing. It did, however, fuel the stock market beyond fair value (see post below). Next is QE or Quantitative Easing. The central banks bought bonds from the public and flooded the system with cash. The plan was to force the banks to lend out that idle cash and start up the economy? That did not work either.
With interest rates now near zero, there is NIRP or Negative Interest Rate Policy. The central banks will force interest rates down through to zero the point where the consumer will be charged to keep their money in the bank, forcing the depositor/consumer to spend it instead and revive the economy. Right? Well, maybe not. The smart choice may be to withdraw the cash and keep it under the mattress. But this would cause bank runs as depositors cash out the accounts. So first, cash must be outlawed. No $100, no $50, no bank runs, nowhere to go. This sounds ridiculous but read the news. Negative interest rates are raging in Europe and Japan, and a “cashless society” is being proposed everywhere.
Perhaps the next step is Direct Monetary Fiscal Policy. The way things currently work is when our government needs money beyond what it collects, they issue debt in the form of Treasury bonds. So far that comes to $19 Trillion in Federal Government debt, $9 trillion of which was just borrowed by the Obama administration. Fortunately, our Federal Reserve Central Bank has soaked up trillions of that through the above-mentioned QE program. So, to oversimplify, our government owes itself trillions. Again, ridiculous. So what may be coming are that laws will be changed so the Federal Reserve can create money to pay for massive government programs directly without the U.S. Treasury issuing any new debt. Traditionally, this would be highly inflationary, but we are not in traditional times.
Being an optimist, I hope it works.