By Allan H. Meltzer
To comprehend why the Federal Reserve acted because it did at key issues in its background, Meltzer attracts on assembly mins, correspondence, and different inner files (many made public in simple terms in the course of the Nineteen Seventies) to track the reasoning in 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 resembling Benjamin robust, governor of the Federal Reserve financial institution of latest York within the Twenties, who performed a key position within the adoption of a extra energetic financial coverage by way of 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 foreign economic climate within the Twenties to the Bretton Woods contract of 1944 that confirmed the overseas financial Fund and the realm financial institution, and the failure of the London monetary convention of 1933.
Written by means of one of many world's major economists, this magisterial biography of the Federal Reserve and the folk who contributed to shaping it's going to curiosity economists, principal bankers, historians, political scientists, policymakers, and someone looking a deep figuring out of the establishment that controls America's handbag strings.
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Extra resources for A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1: 1913-1951
1 It would be comforting to find in the history of central banking a record of steady progress and orderly development from earliest antecedents to present knowledge. The facts are different. The discussion reached a high point very near its start in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Thereafter, the level of discussion drifted lower. Some of the subtle points were lost and, more important, the focus of the discussion shifted. At the start of the nineteenth century Henry Thornton, building on his own earlier work and pieces of analysis taken from Smith, Locke, and Hume, developed some guiding principles for the conduct of monetary policy from an analysis of the relation of money, economic activity, prices, and balance of payments under fixed and flexible exchange rates.
The chapters that follow allow the participants to explain their actions, and the reasons for them, in their own words. These decisions produced very different results: a steep postwar recession in 1920–21, a period of stability in the 1920s followed by the Great Depression of the 1930s and, much later, the Great Inflation of the 1970s. The men who made these decisions were not chicane or evil. They did not directly seek the outcomes that their decisions helped to bring about. They did not fail to stop the depression because they liked the outcome and wanted it to continue.
When I explained that the problems that concerned him arose at the Federal Reserve and not in the market, he asked me to undertake a study of the Federal Reserve. My former teacher Karl Brunner, later my friend and lifetime collaborator, joined the project. Together we wrote a lengthy study of Federal Reserve operations, emphasizing their use of free reserves as a target and indicator of the thrust of policy. We showed that these procedures were faulty—that the Federal Reserve’s analysis did not go beyond the money market to the broader objectives required by an efficient and effective monetary policy.