The often interesting Visual Capitalist has published a graph of nominal interest rates from the 14th century through to today:
Select image for a larger look.
“Today’s graphic from Paul Schmelzing, visiting scholar at the Bank of England, shows how global real interest rates have experienced an average annual decline of -0.0196% (-1.96 basis points) throughout the past eight centuries.
Collecting data from across 78% of total advanced economy GDP over the time frame, Schmelzing shows that real rates* have witnessed a negative historical slope spanning back to the 1300s. Displayed across the graph is a series of personal nominal loans made to sovereign establishments, along with their nominal loan rates. Some from the 14th century, for example, had nominal rates of 35%. By contrast, key nominal loan rates had fallen to 6% by the mid 1800s.
Centennial Averages of Real Long-Term “Safe-Asset”† Rates From 1311-2018
% 1300s 1400s 1500s 1600s 1700s 1800s 1900s 2000s Nominal rate 7.3 11.2 7.8 5.4 4.1 3.5 5.0 3.5 Inflation 2.2 2.1 1.7 0.8 0.6 0.0 3.1 2.2 Real rate 5.1 9.1 6.1 4.6 3.5 3.4 2.0 1.3
*Real rates take inflation into account, and are calculated as follows: nominal rate – inflation = real rate.
†Safe assets are issued from global financial powers
Starting in 1311, data from the report shows how average real rates moved from 5.1% in the 1300s down to an average of 2% in the 1900s.
The average real rate between 2000-2018 stands at 1.3%.”
The current rash of negative interest rates that we see today is therefore in line with historical trends.
The latest edition of My Modern Met has an article on the very fine wooden sculptures of Peter Demetz.
“In addition to the stunning meticulousness of his craft, Demetz’s sculptures are also conceptually intriguing. The figures’ backs are often turned away from us as they stare at the ground. It’s here that we’ve caught them in contemplative, in-between moments, like before you begin to speak or just as you’re about to enter a room. As a result, Demetz’s works feel poignant. They aren’t necessarily sad, but their body language evokes a sense of longing, loss, or a fleeting period in time.”
I attended the monthly GWAC meeting last night, along with about 60 others. Councillor Colleen Hardwick gave an excellent presentation that took us through the history of urban planning in Vancouver, and then focused on some areas where she is determined to improve the consultation process.
In her historical review, Colleen moved forward from the Bartholomew Plan of 1927-1930, noting that the sale and subsequent development of the “Expo lands” was the tipping point for the commodification of land in our city. She noted that throughout the 1980s and 1990s, numerous local community plans and vision statements (City Plan) were developed. However, this historical knowledge was essentially lost with the wholesale replacement of senior City staff when Vision Vancouver took over Council and hired Penny Ballem as City Manager. City departments that had developed a deep understanding of the neighbourhoods of Vancouver were shuffled around, broken apart or lumped together, and fresh managers out in place.
Since then, we have had a build for growth strategy rather than a build for need plan, and Colleen demonstrated quite forcefully that we have been — and continue — building more housing units that the anticipated population increase would suggest are required.
There were quite a few questions from the floor, the majority of which wondered what the point of the efforts put into the Grandview Woodland Community Plan was if Council continues to change the Plan on a spot rezoning basis without neighbourhood-wide consultation. There was also some renewed interest in wards (rather than at-large elections), though Colleen expressed herself as not convinced of their efficacy.
Colleen as a sitting Councillor is constrained by the City’s Code of Conduct in what she can say about current senior staff; therefore, I will step into the breach. She made the point, quite correctly, that experience and historical knowledge were shown the door when Vision came to power and replaced the staff. I would argue that the current staff are continuing to execute Vision’s development template — regardless of the political changes that saw Vision eliminated from Council in 2018 — and it is about time Councillors took control of the agenda from the staff, replacing all those that remain recalcitrant.
It was a good meeting, I thought, and saw some interesting back-and-forth between speaker and audience.
It should be noted that this was NOT one of Colleen’s planned 50 Neighbourhood Talks. The official Grandview Talk will be on February 20th, details tba.