Whether father or child, the concept of showering money over national economies to combat deflation has been an accepted principle of monetarism for decades. A helicopter, however, is not your average aeroplane, and the usual laws of aerodynamics do not necessarily apply in all cases. Similarly monetary policy at the zero interest rate bound introduces a new dynamic that may conflict or even reverse standard logic that lower interest rates across the sovereign yield curve are everywhere and always stimulative to economic growth.
This potential paradox arises not just from observation of the Japanese experience over nearly two decades, but from an analysis of our modern-day financial system and its potential inadequacies. Fractional reserve banking, where only a portion of bank deposits are backed by hard cash, as well as unreserved collateral-based lending on overnight repo have allowed for an expansion of credit beyond the bounds of a central banker’s imagination.