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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.
Our friend Matt O'Brien has a great new comment on the Atlantic.com. Matt is one of the most clever commentators on monetary matters in the US media.
This is mostly for my Danish readers. The Danish translation of Milton Friedman's classic "Free to Choose" (Det Frie Valg) has now been republished by the Danish Free Market think thank Cepos. I am honnored to have written the preface for the new edition of the book.
The euro zone is suffering from deflationary pressures and there is an obvious a need for monetary easing. On the other hand Kenya do not have that problem. In fact Kenyan inflation (and NGDP) has risen sharply since 2009. In some sense you can say that Kenya has what the euro zone needs and it is therefor interesting to examen why Kenya inflation has risen in recent years. I should of course stress that I don't think the the euro zone need Kenyan monetary policy, but monetary developments in Kenya in recent years might nonetheless tell us how we could get monetary easing in countries like Greece and Spain - even if the ECB maintains it's "do-nothing" stance (in fact the ECB is passively tightening monetary policy on a daily basis these days).