Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Bloodless War

I was talking with some fellow students of economics.  We started discussing the 0.2% drop in estimates of Q1 GDP growth, but that quickly morphed into a discussion on politics.  With a bunch of economic nerds and with a rich assortment of economic datapoints, why were we talking about politics?

As we talked through that, it became apparent that, despite the overwhelming majority of the economic datapoints being positive, we were all experiencing a heightened anxiety, due to the current trade war.  That is an enormous economic variable, and nobody has much experience modelling such a war.  The history of trade wars is more confusing than instructive.  Besides, no country has ever declared a trade war against so many other countries at the same time.

So, the minor drop in Q1 GDP growth can be interpreted either as some developing weakness in the economy or, more likely, as simple noise from the collection of data.  There!  We discussed economics.  Now, what's the latest data from the front lines in our trade war?  And, why is it being run by politicians instead of economists?