By Allan H. Meltzer
To comprehend why the Federal Reserve acted because it did at key issues in its historical past, Meltzer attracts on assembly mins, correspondence, and different inner records (many made public purely throughout the Seventies) to track the reasoning at the back of its coverage judgements. He explains, for example, why the Federal Reserve remained passive all through lots of the fiscal decline that ended in the good melancholy, and the way the Board's activities helped to provide the deep recession of 1937 and 1938. He additionally highlights the impression at the establishment of people akin to Benjamin powerful, governor of the Federal Reserve financial institution of latest York within the Twenties, who performed a key function within the adoption of a extra lively financial coverage via the Federal Reserve. Meltzer additionally examines the impression the Federal Reserve has had on overseas affairs, from makes an attempt to construct a brand new overseas economic system within the Twenties to the Bretton Woods contract of 1944 that demonstrated the foreign financial Fund and the realm financial institution, and the failure of the London financial convention of 1933.
Written through one of many world's top economists, this magisterial biography of the Federal Reserve and the folks who contributed to shaping it's going to curiosity economists, principal bankers, historians, political scientists, policymakers, and an individual looking a deep realizing of the establishment that controls America's handbag strings.
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Extra info for A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1: 1913-1951
The most able economists of the period participated in the discussion, and though they focused mainly on the longer-run consequences of policy actions and ignored short-term effects, they did not hesitate to recommend policy actions. Those bankers and economists whose writings show greatest interest in and knowledge of short-term operations and practices neglected, for the most part, the longer-run consequences of the policies and procedures they espoused. 3 In the history of economic thought, the participants in these discussions are grouped into schools known as bullionists and antibullionists for the first quarter of the nineteenth century and into currency and banking schools for the second quarter and into the third.
The severe contraction was costly economically and politically. The severity of the decline raised doubts about the applicability of the operating principles in the Federal Reserve Act. Chapter 4 traces the development of a new framework and the beginning of a more activist role. Instead of depending on banks’ decisions to discount or repay borrowings, the new approach used open market operations to force banks to borrow or repay. Open market operations required the reserve banks to work together.
Wartime finance brought the debt to nearly $300 billion by the end of 1946, a peak of 129 percent of GNP. The large outstanding stock of debt raised new fears about the operation of monetary policy. A large literature claimed that higher interest rates would cause losses to creditors (debt owners) and that such losses would have severe negative effects on the economy. Arguments of this kind became popular in government, but not just in government. This literature neglected to mention either the gains that debtors received or the losses that creditors would experience if inflation resulted.
A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1: 1913-1951 by Allan H. Meltzer