Irving Fisher and the Debt-Deflation Theory of Depression
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In Fisher's formulation of debt deflation, when the debt bubble bursts the following sequence of events occurs:
Assuming, accordingly, that, at some point of time, a state of over-indebtedness exists, this will tend to lead to liquidation, through the alarm either of debtors or creditors or both. Then we may deduce the following chain of consequences in nine links:
- Debt liquidation and distress selling.
- Contraction of the money supply as bank loans are paid off.
- A fall in the level of asset prices.
- A still greater fall in the net worth of businesses, precipitating bankruptcies.
- A fall in profits.
- A reduction in output, in trade and in employment.
- Pessimism and loss of confidence.
- A substantial increase in private sector savings.
- A fall in nominal interest rates and a rise in deflation adjusted interest rates.