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I am sitting in Riga airport and writing this. I have an early (too early!) flight to Stockholm. I must admit it makes it slightly more fun to sit in an airport when you can do a bit of blogging.
David Glasner is a very nice and friendly person, but I have to admit that David always scares me a bit - especially when I disagree with him. For some reason when David is saying something I am inclined to agree with him even if I think he is wrong. There are two areas where David and I see things differently. One the “hot potato” theory of money and two our view of Milton Friedman. I tend to think that the way Nick Rowe - inspired by Leland Yeager - describes the monetary disequilibrium theory make a lot of sense. David disagrees with Nick. Similiarly I have an (irrational?) love of Milton Friedman so I tend to think he is right about everything. David on the other hand is much more skeptical about Friedman.
Nominal GDP targeting makes a lot of sense for large currency areas like the US or the euro zone and it make sense that the central bank can implement a NGDP target through open market operations or as with the use of NGDP futures. However, operationally it might be much harder to implement a NGDP target in small open economies and particularly in Emerging Markets countries where there might be much more uncertainty regarding the measurement of NGDP and it will be hard to introduce NGDP futures in relatively underdeveloped and illiquid financial markets in Emerging Markets countries.
Who is the best central banker - one who is very busy with his job or one who is spending most of his/her time on the golf field?
The short answer to the question in the headline is no, but I can understand if somebody would suspect so. I will discuss this below.
A couple of months ago a friend my sent me an article from the Guardian about how "Nazi Germany flooded Europe with fake British banknotes in an attempt to destroy confidence in the currency. The forgeries were so good that even German spymasters paid their agents in Britain with fake notes..The fake notes were first circulated in neutral Portugal and Spain with the double objective of raising money for the Nazi cause and creating a lack of confidence in the British currency."
Lee Kelly in a recent guest post here on The Market Monetarist discussed the implication of excess demand for money for the development of barter and Free Banking. I found Lee's discussion extremely interesting and think that it could be interesting to see how monetary disequilibrium actually could work as a catalyst for the development of alternative monetary systems - for example the development of so-called local currencies in Greece.
While driving home from a family vacation in the West of Denmark (Jutland) today we were listening to the news on the radio. The news had two stories, which in some odd way were related to each other as both stories were about happiness. The first story was about Denmark (again!) being ranked number 1 in something called the World Happiness Report. The second story was more sad - it was about a 77-year-old Greek man who killed himself in Athens' busy Syntagma Square on Wednesday morning. The man apparently killed himself in disappear over his own and his country's economic situation.
Scott Sumner and other Market Monetarists including myself have been greatly frustrated with the behaviour of central bankers - especially the the Federal Reserve and the ECB. According to Market Monetarists the Great Depression was caused by overly tight monetary policies on both sides of the Atlantic and therefore central banks could long ago have taken us out of the crisis by having eased monetary policy. I have often been asked the question "Lars, if it is so easy why don't central banks just not do what you suggest?" Scott has an answer to this question: