Well, of course. France and the rest of the developed economies are experiencing the same thing.
If the “real” interest rate is negative and has been for a long time, who cares when it finally goes negative nominally? It’s a non-event, the breathless Drudge headline notwithstanding.
I never see it discussed this way, not even by Steve Keen (be cure to catch the RT/Lauren Lyster video in that post), who I think would appreciate the point: the negative interest rate environment is a reflection of the political clout wielded by the creditor class. Central banks don’t dare raise rates because that would diminish the nominal “wealth” of the current creditor class, making the debt they already hold less valuable.
The central bank toadies for the creditor class. They have to. That’s part of the problem.
Keeping rates low has nothing to do with “encouraging borrowing”; in fact as the Japanese experience – and now ours – demonstrates, it does not in fact produce borrowing, except by the government, which is as much beholden to the creditor class as the central bank is. As if there is any real difference.
No, keeping rates negative has to do with preserving the value of outstanding debt. And it’s very much a trap, because you essentially can’t go lower for natural law reasons, but you can’t go higher for political reasons: the same people who would get hurt most if you raise rates own the government, and in particular own the central bank.
Zero bound rates under these conditions are nothing but the simple story of how central banks are politicized institutions that should be regarded as such. Meanwhile, the debt is like a great weight on top of a body that, try as it might, can no longer move.
At some point it will crush us absolutely.