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The statement of Issing (2003) should also be judged in terms of statements like ‘there is an optimal rate of inflation, greater than zero. So 36 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Alternative Perspectives on Economic Policies in the European Union ruthless pursuit of price stability harms economic growth and well-being. Research even questions whether targeting price stability reduces the tradeoff between inflation and unemployment’ (Stiglitz, 2003). See Forder (2000) for an extensive discussion and critique of the notion of credibility.

Investment share as % of GDP Marica Frangakis and Jörg Huffschmid 45 by money-holders looking for profitable investment opportunities. The historical background for these changes were, on the one hand, a farreaching liberalisation of capital movements after the termination of the Bretton Woods system, and on the other hand, a rapid development of information and (tele)communication technologies which allowed the transfer of capital to any financial centre in the world within very short time. Before this background the transformation of financial markets was driven by three main factors (see Huffschmid, 2002: 38–42): Firstly, the polarisation of income distribution towards higher profits and income of the upper classes on the one hand and lower wages and social benefits on the other hand weakened private mass consumption and therefore the incentive to channel profits and high incomes into productive investment.

13 Second, in addition to the construction of the relevant institutional arrangements discussed so far, it is necessary to construct a well-functioning real economy, which is also conducive to combining low inflation with high levels of economic activity. We take the view that a major element of that would be the construction of a level and location of productive capacity, which is capable of providing work to all who seek paid employment. This would imply that not only is the general level of productive capacity be raised, but also that much of that increase directed towards the less prosperous regions of the EMU.

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