... a brigade of academic economists and prominent voices on Wall Street are asking if the unruly business cycle they learned in school, and witnessed in practice, has fundamentally morphed into a tamer beast... "Financial reporters and market strategists often argue about whether we are `early-cycle,' `mid-cycle' or `late-cycle,'" David Kelly, the chief global strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, wrote in a March 11 note to investors that closely aligned with Mr. Rieder's "satellite" thesis. "However, these perspectives are based on an outdated model of how the U.S. economy behaves."


Yet Mr. Kelly of J.P. Morgan lists various reasons that periods of U.S. economic growth may be elongated and less chaotic going forward. Federal deposit insurance, introduced after the Depression, sharply reduced bank panics and failures. Vastly improved information on inventory levels among goods-producing businesses, he said, has "tamed" the inventory cycle, preventing mismatches between supply and demand that can cause mass layoffs.


[But] Mr. Herndon noted the work of the 20th-century Polish economist Michal Kalecki, who argued that business leaders feel "undermined" by the maintenance of full employment. Using their substantial influence over policy, Kalecki argued, they can help institute restrictive economic policies that bring times of economic expansion to an end and reset them with softer, more tolerable labor power.

And Mr. Herndon said he thought old-fashioned "bubble" manias and "credit cycles" remained a danger, too.

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