Throughout the day, CNBC has compelled us to un-mute the television by playing clips of Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's recent interview with PIMCO's Mohamed El-Erian, one of the smartest cats in the business. (See this post from late May, for instance.) Various clips are available at CNBC's website. Note that the interview appears to be broken into three parts, all under the "El-Erian Speaks" label.
We were especially heartened to hear El-Erian say the following, in the context of talking about negative wealth, income, and credit effects (emphasis added in italics):
Caruso-Cabrera: Does that get us to negative growth?
El-Erian: It probably gets us to negative growth. I think the question is how fast we get there, and what does the rest of the world do. Negative is, after all, an arbitrary level. The critical thing is how quickly does growth fall. And how does the rest of the world react.
Negative is an arbitrary level. Yes indeed. This is a point we made in late January, and we'd like to hear the usual suspects adopt El-Erian's perspective on this question.
We recommend the entire El-Erian interview. His measured tones, careful language, and deep grasp of financial-market dynamics offer the perfect antidote to the breathlessness that characterizes so much commentary these days.