ALL BLOG POSTS
As global stock markets once again takes another downturn on the back of renewed European worries I am reminded about a great blog post Scott Sumner wrote a couple a months ago about his studies of the Great Depression.
Market Monetarists like myself claim that the Great Recession mostly was caused by the fact that the Federal Reserve and other central banks failed to meet a sharp increase in the demand for dollars. Hence, what we saw is what David Beckworth has termed a “passive” tightening of monetary policy.
Many economists – including some Market Monetarists – tell the story about Japan’s economy as a true horror story and there is no doubt that Japan’s growth story for more than 15 years has not been too impressive – and it has certainly not been great to have been invested in Japanese stocks over last decade.
At the core of Market Monetarist thinking, as in traditional monetarism, is the maxim that “money matters”. Hence, Market Monetarists share the view that inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. However, it should also be noted that the focus of Market Monetarists has not been as much on inflation (risks) as on the cause of recession, as the starting point for the school has been the outbreak of the Great Recession.
The financial media is full of stories about some countries are doing the right thing and other are doing the wrong thing. Everybody today agree that it was obvious that the Icelandic financial system was going to collapse and everybody agrees that Greek’s economic problems could have been forecasted easily. I actually think that both cases were pretty obvious examples of accidents waiting to happen and the only reason that they did not play out earlier was investors where betting on some kind of rescue if we would see a collapse. However, it is not always so clear. Why for example has Belgium with very high public debt not been as hard hits by the European debt crisis as for example Italy or Spain? We can surely find explanations, but many of these explanations have to do with pure luck rather than fantastic skills of policy makers.
Alex Salter has made a forceful argument that there are strong theoretical similarities between Market Monetarist thinking and Austrian School Monetary Equilibrium Theorists (MET). I on my part have noted that METs like Steven Horwitz have similar policy recommendations as Market Monetarists - particularly NGDP targeting.
I have noticed that a increasing number of 1980s US supply siders are coming out views on US monetary policy which is very close to the Market Monetarist views. This is not really surprising if one studies what the supply siders were saying in the 80s, but it is nonetheless in stark contrast to the core views of today's GOP.