``Negative interest rates are damaging for savers, who can't earn a return on their money without taking undue risks. However, over time they are even more damaging to the financial system as a whole because they reduce the capital stock outstanding, thereby de-capitalizing the economy. If risk-free interest rates are minus 1% in real terms, then after a year the capital stock is 1% smaller than it had been a year earlier (absent substantial net new savings). Of course, some investors have earned positive real returns by taking risks, but over the business cycle as a whole, those returns will disappear, as the risks turn out to have been misguided.''

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