What does "You get this endless downward ratchet" mean here? Does it mean "we always get downward progression"? This is from a fortune.com article

“In economic booms, it always picks up, but it never picks up as far as the previous peak,” Deaton said. “You get this endless downward ratchet. That’s something we really need to turn around, and it’s going to be hard.”

1 Answer 1


Yes, but there's more to it than that. A ratchet is a physical tool that prevents motion in one direction (usually down); a downward ratchet prevents motion upwards, and as the quote says, doing this (taxing the so-called rich for the latest government scheme) creates a series of upper limits, like an upside-down mountain range -- the employment rate may fall, but it never rises past the point of the previous time it was ratcheted.


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