Thursday, 25 April 2013
The macro-economy refers to the wider economy - it's looking at an economy as a whole as opposed to individual firms or operators within an economy that micro-economics refers to. We come across macroeconomics on a daily basis: inflation and unemployment for example. The topic gets a lot of media attention and is the main cause of a lot of the criticism that politicians receive. The importance placed on macroeconomics by politicians can never be understated - they fully understand that voters want a thriving economy and therefore they strive to achieve this.
The four major economic issues are ones we will all have heard of: Economic growth, unemployment, inflation and the Balance of Payments/Exchange rate. The government aims to keep all four of these in check as part of their policy objectives. They want economic growth to be at a high, stable level. They aim to reduce unemployment because not only is it a drain on their finances in the form of unemployment benefits but it is a waste of resources. Inflation needs to be kept low and stable to make decision making easier on individuals and firms. The balance of payments wants to be in surplus, or at least balanced, so that the exchange rate isn't pushed upwards (this can fuel inflation as import prices will rise). The problem the government faces is that these policy objectives can conflict. If there's one thing you learn from this post, make it be this: The government are in a difficult position - they will struggle to achieve all four of these objectives at the same time.
At this point I am going to direct you to a previous post I've written about the circular flow of income as this will come in handy when looking at the next part. Click here to be linked to that post.
So, the macroeconomic goals of the government have a close relationship with the circular flow of income. If the withdrawals from the flow exceed the injections into the flow then we will see a case of aggregate demand falling. This subsequently will lead to a fall in economic growth, a rise in unemployment, lower inflation and a potential improvement of the balance of payments. With injections exceeding withdrawals we expect the opposite to happen. Here is a perfect example of the difficulties the government faces. A rise in aggregate demand has the potential to push the government closer to two of its goals (economic growth and a fall in unemployment) but at the same time it also pushes them further away from the other two goals (rise in inflation and a worsening balance of payments). The dilemmas of a politician.