Reassessing the Tehsis of the Monetary History
The economic crisis that began in 2007 and still lingers has invited comparison with the Great Depression of the 1930s. It has also generated renewed interest in Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz’s explanation of the latter as mainly the consequence of the Fed’s failure as a lender of last resort at its onset, and the ineptitude of its policies thereafter. This explanation is reassessed in the light of events since 2007, and it is argued that its plausibility emerges enhanced, even though policy debates in recent years have paid more attention to interest rates and credit markets than to Friedman and Schwartz’s key variable, the quantity of money.
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