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History is fully of examples of massive monetary policy failure and today's policy makers can learn a lot from studying these events and no one is better to learn from than Swedish monetary guru Gustav Cassel. In the 1920s Cassel tried - unfortunately without luck - to advise Danish and Norwegian policy makers from making a massive monetary policy mistake.
My previous post on Ferguson's and Roubini's FT piece about the lessons from 1932 reminded me that I actually have done quite a bit of blog posts on 1931-33 myself. Both about the actual events of those years and about what policy lessons these events should have for today's policy makers.
Niall Ferguson and Nouriel Roubini have a comment in the Financial Times. I have great respect for both gentlemen - even though I often disagree with both of them - and their latest comment raises some very key issues concerning the future of the euro zone and Europe in general. And it is very timely given that this weekend the Spanish government has asked the EU for a massive new bail out.
While I was going through old Australian newspaper articles (don't ask me why...) I came across a wonderful little article by Gustav Cassel published on February 17 1930. In the article Cassel spells out why fiscal policy would not be able to pull out the US of the Depression and why the Great Depression was caused by monetary policy failure. The whole thing sounds very Market Monetarist.
I spend a lot of time complaining about the work central banks do these days. However, we should not forget (and that goes for you my dear US readers as well) that the European football championship (Euro 2012) kicks off today (the opening match is between host nation Poland and serial defaulter Greece). What do these two things have in common? Well, have a look at this (relatively) new Working Paper from the Dutch central bank. Here is the abstract:
The other day I wrote a piece about the risks of introducing politics (particularly fiscal policy) into the central bank's reaction function. I used the example of the ECB, but now it seems like I should have given a bit more attention to the Federal Reserve as Fed chief Bernanke yesterday said the follow:
During the 1930s the political environment became increasing radicalized across Europe. You all the know the story - nazi and communist holligans fighting the streets, Spanish civil war and Hitler's rise to power.
I don't particularly feel an obligation to comment on today's ECB monetary policy announcement and I think my regular readers have a pretty good idea about how I feel about the ECB these days. However, ECB chief Mario Draghi pulled out a traditional ECB phrase on the outlook on monetary policy that I think pretty well describes the ECB's problem and why we are in mess we are in.
I was saddened by the news that Robert E. Keleher has pasted away on May 27 at an age of 67. Keleher pioneered what he termed the Market Price Approach to Monetary Policy. I my view Keleher's work on monetary policy clearly was similar to Market Monetarism.
During the Great Moderation it was normal to say that the Federal Reserve and the ECB (and many other central banks for that matter) was following a relatively well-defined monetary policy reaction function. It is debatable what these central banks where actually targeting, but there where is no doubt that both the Fed and the ECB overall can be descripted to have conducted monetary policy to minimize some kind of loss function which included both unemployment and inflation.