In the 1960s and 1970s, mid-western American states fell victim to scores of wildfires. Constant interventions by the US Forest Service appeared to have little positive impact - if anything, the problems seemed to worsen. Over time, foresters came to appreciate that fires were a normal and healthy element of the forest ecosystem. By continually suppressing small fires, they were unwittingly creating the conditions for larger and less containable wildfires in the future. Naturally occurring fires are necessary to remove old forest cover, underbrush and debris. If they are suppressed, the inevitable conflagration to come has a far greater store of latent fuel at its disposal.
The analogy, of course, is with the financial markets under central banking maestros like Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and now "our own" Mark Carney. During the regime of 'the Greenspan put', numerous small fires in the market - including the failure of Long Term Capital Management, the dotcom bust, and a property market correction - were doused with plane loads (helicopter loads ?) of easy money. Even then, equity market investors have endured two bear markets over the past decade or so that have seen market valuations halve. Perhaps the mainstream policy response to any hint of likely economic hardship should not simply be to slash interest rates, in the same way that the best response to recalcitrant children should not simply be to smother them with sweets.
David Fuller's view The rest of this report is sobering but well worth reading and contains two memorable contributions.