Maastricht: New and Old Rules
Thanks to the Maastricht Treaty and similar arrangements, central banks nowadays enjoy considerable independence. This is generally believed to be the result of relatively recent debates, which led to the conclusion that sheltering monetary authorities from the pressures of fiscal policymakers is a prerequisite for monetary stability. However, in history this point has in fact been a recurrent tenet. We start with David Ricardo's arguments in favour of central bank independence and against monetisation of public deficits. After WWI, the latter issue was at the heart of the 1920 International Financial Conference of the League of Nations, which fostered and guided the establishment of many new central banks, and shaped various policymaking arrangements of today's monetary authorities.
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