Tag-arkiv: monetarisme

Helikopter-Ben i knibe

Det forlyder, at John McCain vil stemme imod en genudnævnelse af Ben Bernanke som chef for den amerikanske centralbank. McCain foretrækker efter sigende Paul Volcker, som slog hårdt til mod inflationen i begyndelsen af 80’erne, eller John Taylor, som har udmærket sig med den såkaldte Taylor Rule. Både Taylor og Volcker har kritiseret Bernanke for at føre en for løs pengepolitik. Taylor udgav sidste år et læseværdigt papir, hvor han konkluderede, at finanskrisen skyldtes netop denne løse pengepolitik.

Bernanke fik som bekendt øgenavnet ”Helicopter Ben”, da han i 2002 holdt to taler, hvor han med henvisning til Milton Friedmans berømte helikopter-eksempel understregede, at man altid kan udrydde deflation ved at trykke flere penge. Talerne kan læses her og her. Bernanke hyldede Friedman og Anna Schwartz for deres studie af depressionen i 30’erne, som konkluderede, at den amerikanske centralbank forårsagede depressionen gennem en alt for hård pengepolitik efter krakket i 1929.

Monetarister og tilhængere af den østrigske skole har længe debatteret årsagerne til depressionen i 30’erne og opskriften til den perfekte pengepolitik. Mark Skousen foreslår et interessant kompromis i bogen Vienna and Chicago: Friends or Foes?:

In conclusion, was there an inflationary imbalance during the 1920s, sufficient to cause an economic crisis? The evidence is mixed, but on net balance, the Austrians have a case that the low-interest rate policies of the Fed were sufficient to create distortions in the ”higher-order” sectors of the economy, and therefore a recession at minimum was necessary to correct these imbalances. But was Fed policy sufficiently easy to create a Great Depression following the 1929 stock market crash? Here the monetarists have the upper hand: only further deflationary blunders by the Federal Reserve could have turned the 1929-30 recession into the worst economic crisis of the 20th century.

Men uanset om man er monetarist eller østriger, så er John McCains skepsis over for Bernanke formentlig på sin plads. Selv Milton Friedman ville formentlig være betænkelig over den enorme udvidelse af pengemængden, som har fundet sted gennem det seneste års tid. Således påpegede Peter Bernholz tirsdag følgende i magasinet The American:

In a mistaken fear of deflation, the Fed lowered its interest rate to 1 percent and increased the monetary base by about 39 percent from 2000 to 2006 after the bursting of the New Economy Bubble. In doing so it encouraged an incredible credit expansion by the financial sector and thus allowed the subsequent asset bubble.

På den baggrund burde følgende give anledning til en vis bekymring:

The monetary base of the Fed has grown by about 99 percent within one year from the end of July 2008; and this following a substantial increase already since the end of 2008. Even the Swiss National Bank increased its monetary base by 112.5 percent from the end of 2008 to the end of May of 2009. The growth of the monetary base in the euro zone looks more modest, with 68 percent since the end of 2007. But even this smaller increase has never been experienced in monetary history except in countries suffering from high inflation.