「永動機」是一種不需由外界輸入能源就能永遠運轉的設備。

熱力學第一定律指出,在一個封閉且能量無法進入或離開的系統內 ,能量維持守恆。第一定律表明,沒有設備能憑空產生能量,因此永動機不可能存在。

有人亦提出第二類永動機,這類設備從物質抽取熱力,繼而轉化為能量。這類機器並不違反能量守恆定律,但根據熱力學第二定律,物質及其周遭環境的總熵永遠不會下降,因此第二類永動機亦不可能存在。

等等!似乎永動機並非完全不可能。央行的印鈔機正正無中生有,印出數以萬億計的美元,而且無需承擔任何後果。

當股市崩盤,一開「永動印鈔機」,印出新錢購買下跌股票,市場馬上快速反彈回升,簡單!

當利率過高,一開「永動印鈔機」,印出新錢購買債券,將利率下調至近零水平,刺激借貸,推動經濟增長,簡單!

當無人買得起天價樓盤,開動「永動印鈔機」,印出新錢借給香港房屋委員會興建任意數量的單位,簡單!

只要憑空印出數萬億,所有能用錢解決的問題馬上迎刃而解。

天底下哪有這種好事?

明斯基(Hyman Minsky)常提醒我們「穩定會孕育不穩定」。「明斯基時刻」(Minsky Moment)何時會到來?我不知道,但快了。

 

A perpetual motion machine is a device that can do work forever without any external energy input.  

The first law of thermodynamics says that in an isolated system where no energy can be added to or escape from the system, energy is conserved. The first law dictates that no machine can produce energy from nothing, thereby making perpetual motion machines impossible. 

A perpetual motion machine of the second kind has also been suggested where the machine extracts heat from an object and turns it into work. Such machines do not violate the conservation of energy but are nevertheless impossible by virtue of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the total entropy of an object and its surroundings can never decrease. 

Wait a minute! It looks like perpetual machines are after all possible when central banks' money printing machines are perpetually printing trillions of dollars out of thin air without consequences. 

When stock market crashes, start the perpetual money printing machine to create new money to buy falling stocks and the market will quickly rebound. Piece of cake! 

When interest rates are too high, start the perpetual money printing machine to create new money to buy bonds to drop interest rates to near-zero to stimulate lending and growth. Piece of cake! 

When nobody can afford to buy the nosebleed-priced flats, start the perpetual money printing machine to create new money and lend it to Hong Kong Housing Authority who then build any number of flats we like. Piece of cake! 

And so on and on ….. 

Any problem that can be solved by creating a few trillion out of thin air is no longer a real problem.  

Spooky, too good to be true, isn't it? 

Minsky constantly reminded us that stability begets instability. When will the “Minsky moment” arrive? I don’t know when, but I know it’s coming.

 

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