Monday, January 2, 2012

The trouble with central banking

Has the Fed Been a Failure?

As the one-hundredth anniversary of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act
approaches, we assess whether the nation‘s experiment with the Federal Reserve
has been a success or a failure. Drawing on a wide range of recent empirical
research, we find the following: (1) The Fed‘s full history (1914 to present) has been
characterized by more rather than fewer symptoms of monetary and macroeconomic
instability than the decades leading to the Fed‘s establishment. (2) While the Fed‘s
performance has undoubtedly improved since World War II, even its postwar
performance has not clearly surpassed that of its undoubtedly flawed predecessor,
the National Banking system, before World War I. (3) Some proposed alternative
arrangements might plausibly do better than the Fed as presently constituted. We
conclude that the need for a systematic exploration of alternatives to the
established monetary system is as pressing today as it was a century ago.
George Selgin
Department of Economics
Terry College of Business
University of Georgia
William D. Lastrapes
Department of Economics
Terry College of Business
University of Georgia
Lawrence H. White
Department of Economics
George Mason University

1 comment:

  1. Things are a mess but I don't think it is the fed so much as the private institutions and the politicians that cater to them instead of common sense. The fed serves a useful purpose especially in check clearing.