Monetarism

Monetarism is a school of thought in monetary economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. Monetarist theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on national output in the short run and on price levels over longer periods. Monetarists assert that the objectives of monetary policy are best met by targeting the growth rate of the money supply rather than by engaging in discretionary monetary policy.[1]

Monetarism today is mainly associated with the work of Milton Friedman, who was among the generation of economists to accept Keynesian economics and then criticise Keynes's theory of fighting economic downturns using fiscal policy (government spending). Friedman and Anna Schwartz wrote an influential book, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, and argued "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon".[2]

Though he opposed the existence of the Federal Reserve,[3] Friedman advocated, given its existence, a central bank policy aimed at keeping the growth of the money supply at a rate commensurate with the growth in productivity and demand for goods.

Description

Monetarism is an economic theory that focuses on the macroeconomic effects of the supply of money and central banking. Formulated by Milton Friedman, it argues that excessive expansion of the money supply is inherently inflationary, and that monetary authorities should focus solely on maintaining price stability.

This theory draws its roots from two historically antagonistic schools of thought: the hard money policies that dominated monetary thinking in the late 19th century, and the monetary theories of John Maynard Keynes, who, working in the inter-war period during the failure of the restored gold standard, proposed a demand-driven model for money.[4] While Keynes had focused on the stability of a currency’s value, with panics based on an insufficient money supply leading to the use of an alternate currency and collapse of the monetary system, Friedman focused on price stability.

The result was summarised in a historical analysis of monetary policy, Monetary History of the United States 1867–1960, which Friedman coauthored with Anna Schwartz. The book attributed inflation to excess money supply generated by a central bank. It attributed deflationary spirals to the reverse effect of a failure of a central bank to support the money supply during a liquidity crunch.

Friedman originally proposed a fixed monetary rule, called Friedman's k-percent rule, where the money supply would be automatically increased by a fixed percentage per year. Under this rule, there would be no leeway for the central reserve bank, as money supply increases could be determined "by a computer", and business could anticipate all money supply changes.[5][6] With other monetarists he believed that the active manipulation of the money supply or its growth rate is more likely to destabilise than stabilise the economy.

Opposition to the gold standard

Most monetarists oppose the gold standard. Friedman, for example, viewed a pure gold standard as impractical.[7] For example, whereas one of the benefits of the gold standard is that the intrinsic limitations to the growth of the money supply by the use of gold would prevent inflation, if the growth of population or increase in trade outpaces the money supply, there would be no way to counteract deflation and reduced liquidity (and any attendant recession) except for the mining of more gold.

Rise

Clark Warburton is credited with making the first solid empirical case for the monetarist interpretation of business fluctuations in a series of papers from 1945.[1]p. 493 Within mainstream economics, the rise of monetarism accelerated from Milton Friedman's 1956 restatement of the quantity theory of money. Friedman argued that the demand for money could be described as depending on a small number of economic variables.[8]

Thus, where the money supply expanded, people would not simply wish to hold the extra money in idle money balances; i.e., if they were in equilibrium before the increase, they were already holding money balances to suit their requirements, and thus after the increase they would have money balances surplus to their requirements. These excess money balances would therefore be spent and hence aggregate demand would rise. Similarly, if the money supply were reduced people would want to replenish their holdings of money by reducing their spending. In this, Friedman challenged a simplification attributed to Keynes suggesting that "money does not matter."[8] Thus the word 'monetarist' was coined.

The rise of the popularity of monetarism also picked up in political circles when Keynesian economics seemed unable to explain or cure the seemingly contradictory problems of rising unemployment and inflation in response to the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1972 and the oil shocks of 1973. On the one hand, higher unemployment seemed to call for Keynesian reflation, but on the other hand rising inflation seemed to call for Keynesian disinflation.

In 1979, United States President Jimmy Carter appointed as Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker, who made fighting inflation his primary objective, and who restricted the money supply (in accordance with the Friedman rule) to tame inflation in the economy. The result was a major rise in interest rates, not only in the United States; but worldwide. The "Volcker shock" continued from 1979 to the summer of 1982, dramatically both decreasing inflation and increasing unemployment. Monetarist economists never recognized that the policy implemented by the Federal Reserve from 1979 was a monetarist policy. Nevertheless, the influence of monetarism on the Federal Reserve was twofold: a direct influence, by the adherence of some members of the Federal Open Market Committee to monetarist ideas; and an indirect influence, because monetarist views were taken into account in the determination of US monetary policy: even the members of the FOMC who were not monetarists took monetarist influence into strong consideration.[9]

By the time Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, won the 1979 general election defeating the sitting Labour Government led by James Callaghan, the UK had endured several years of severe inflation, which was rarely below the 10% mark and by the time of the May 1979 general election, stood at 15.4%.[10] Thatcher implemented monetarism as the weapon in her battle against inflation, and succeeded at reducing it to 4.6% by 1983. However, unemployment in the United Kingdom dramatically increased from 5.7% in 1979 to 12.2% in 1983, reaching 13.0% in 1982; and starting with the first quarter of 1980, the UK economy contracted in terms of real gross domestic product for six straight quarters.[11]

Money supply during the great depression era
Money supply decreased significantly between Black Tuesday and the Bank Holiday in March 1933 in the wake of massive bank runs across the United States.

Monetarists not only sought to explain present problems; they also interpreted historical ones. Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz in their book A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960 argued that the Great Depression of the 1930s was caused by a massive contraction of the money supply (they deemed it "the Great Contraction"[12]), and not by the lack of investment Keynes had argued. They also maintained that post-war inflation was caused by an over-expansion of the money supply.

They made famous the assertion of monetarism that "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon". Many Keynesian economists initially believed that the Keynesian vs. monetarist debate was solely about whether fiscal or monetary policy was the more effective tool of demand management. By the mid-1970s, however, the debate had moved on to other issues as monetarists began presenting a fundamental challenge to Keynesianism.

Many monetarists sought to resurrect the pre-Keynesian view that market economies are inherently stable in the absence of major unexpected fluctuations in the money supply. Because of this belief in the stability of free-market economies they asserted that active demand management (e.g. by the means of increasing government spending) is unnecessary and indeed likely to be harmful. The basis of this argument is a relationship between "stimulus" fiscal spending and future interest rates. In effect, Friedman's model argues that current fiscal spending creates as much of a drag on the economy by increased interest rates as it creates present consumption: that it has no real effect on total demand, merely that of shifting demand from the investment sector to the consumer sector.

Current state

Since 1990, the classical form of monetarism has been questioned. This is because of events that many economists interpreted as being inexplicable in monetarist terms: the disconnection of the money supply growth from inflation in the 1990s and the failure of pure monetary policy to stimulate the economy in the 2001–2003 period. Greenspan argued that the 1990s decoupling was explained by a virtuous cycle of productivity and investment on one hand, and a certain degree of "irrational exuberance" in the investment sector on the other.

There are also arguments that monetarism is a special case of Keynesian theory. The central test case over the validity of these theories would be the possibility of a liquidity trap, like that experienced by Japan. Ben Bernanke, Princeton professor and another former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, argued that monetary policy could respond to zero interest rate conditions by direct expansion of the money supply. In his words, "We have the keys to the printing press, and we are not afraid to use them." Paul Krugman has advanced the counterargument that this would have a corresponding devaluationary effect, like the sustained low interest rates of 2001–2004 produced against world currencies.

These disagreements—along with the role of monetary policies in trade liberalisation, international investment, and central bank policy—remain lively topics of investigation and argument.

Notable proponents

See also

General:

References

  1. ^ a b Phillip Cagan, 1987. "Monetarism", The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 3, Reprinted in John Eatwell et al. (1989), Money: The New Palgrave, pp. 195–205, 492–97.
  2. ^ Friedman, Milton (2008). Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691003548. OCLC 994352014.
  3. ^ Doherty, Brian (June 1995). "Best of Both Worlds". Reason. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  4. ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory. "Real Business Cycles: A New Keynesian Perspective". Journal of Economic Perspectives 3.3 (1989): 79–90. Web.|date=October 2013
  5. ^ Thomas Palley (November 27, 2006). "Milton Friedman: The Great Conservative Partisan". Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  6. ^ Ip, Greg; Whitehouse, Mark (2006-11-17). "How Milton Friedman Changed Economics, Policy and Markets". The Wall Street Journal.
  7. ^ Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 27: Milton Friedman's Second Thoughts on the Costs of Paper Money Archived November 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Friedman, Milton (1970). "A Theoretical Framework for Monetary Analysis". Journal of Political Economy. 78 (2): 193–238 [p. 210]. doi:10.1086/259623. JSTOR 1830684.
  9. ^ Reichart Alexandre & Abdelkader Slifi (2016). 'The Influence of Monetarism on Federal Reserve Policy during the 1980s.' Cahiers d'économie Politique/Papers in Political Economy, (1), pp. 107–50. https://www.cairn.info/revue-cahiers-d-economie-politique-2016-1-page-107.htm
  10. ^ "Economy tables: GDP, interest rates and inflation history, unemployment". This Is Money. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  11. ^ "Real Gross Domestic Product for United Kingdom, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis". Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Milton Friedman; Anna Schwartz (2008). The Great Contraction, 1929–1933 (New Edition). Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-13794-3.

Further references

  • Andersen, Leonall C., and Jerry L. Jordan, 1968. "Monetary and Fiscal Actions: A Test of Their Relative Importance in Economic Stabilisation", Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review (November), pp. 11–24. PDF (30 sec. load: press +) and HTML.
  • _____, 1969. "Monetary and Fiscal Actions: A Test of Their Relative Importance in Economic Stabilisation — Reply", Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review (April), pp. 12–16. PDF (15 sec. load; press +) and HTML.
  • Brunner, Karl, and Allan H. Meltzer, 1993. Money and the Economy: Issues in Monetary Analysis, Cambridge. Description and chapter previews, pp. ixx.
  • Cagan, Phillip, 1965. Determinants and Effects of Changes in the Stock of Money, 1875–1960. NBER. Foreword by Milton Friedman, pp. xiii–xxviii. Table of Contents.
  • Friedman, Milton, ed. 1956. Studies in the Quantity Theory of Money, Chicago. Chapter 1 is previewed at Friedman, 2005, ch. 2 link.
  • _____, 1960. A Program for Monetary Stability. Fordham University Press.
  • _____, 1968. "The Role of Monetary Policy", American Economic Review, 58(1), pp. 1–17 (press +).
  • _____, [1969] 2005. The Optimum Quantity of Money. Description and table of contents, with previews of 3 chapters.
  • Friedman, Milton, and David Meiselman, 1963. "The Relative Stability of Monetary Velocity and the Investment Multiplier in the United States, 1897–1958", in Stabilization Policies, pp. 165–268. Prentice-Hall/Commission on Money and Credit, 1963.
  • Friedman, Milton, and Anna Jacobson Schwartz, 1963a. "Money and Business Cycles", Review of Economics and Statistics, 45(1), Part 2, Supplement, p. p. 32–64. Reprinted in Schwartz, 1987, Money in Historical Perspective, ch. 2.
  • _____. 1963b. A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960. Princeton. Page-searchable links to chapters on 1929-41 and 1948–60
  • Johnson, Harry G., 1971. "The Keynesian Revolutions and the Monetarist Counter-Revolution", American Economic Review, 61(2), p. p. 1–14. Reprinted in John Cunningham Wood and Ronald N. Woods, ed., 1990, Milton Friedman: Critical Assessments, v. 2, p. p. 72 88. Routledge,
  • Laidler, David E.W., 1993. The Demand for Money: Theories, Evidence, and Problems, 4th ed. Description.
  • Schwartz, Anna J., 1987. Money in Historical Perspective, University of Chicago Press. Description and Chapter-preview links, pp. vii-viii.
  • Warburton, Clark, 1966. Depression, Inflation, and Monetary Policy; Selected Papers, 1945–1953 Johns Hopkins Press. Amazon Summary in Anna J. Schwartz, Money in Historical Perspective, 1987.

External links

2008–09 Keynesian resurgence

Following the global financial crisis of 2007–08, there was a worldwide resurgence of interest in Keynesian economics among prominent economists and policy makers. This included discussions and implementation of economic policies in accordance with the recommendations made by John Maynard Keynes in response to the Great Depression of the 1930s—most especially fiscal stimulus and expansionary monetary policy.From the end of the Great Depression until the early 1970s, Keynesian economics provided the main inspiration for economic policy makers in Western industrialized countries. The influence of Keynes's theories waned in the 1970s, due to stagflation and critiques from Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Robert Lucas, Jr. and other economists, who were less optimistic about the ability of interventionist government policy to positively regulate the economy or otherwise opposed to Keynesian policies. From the early 1980s to 2008, the normative consensus among economists was that attempts at fiscal stimulus would be ineffective even in a recession, and such policies were only occasionally employed by the governments of developed countries.In 2008, a rapid shift of opinion took place among many prominent economists in favour of Keynesian stimulus, and, from October onward, policy makers began announcing major stimulus packages, in hopes of heading off the possibility of a global depression. By early 2009 there was widespread acceptance among the world's economic policy makers about the need for fiscal stimulus. Yet by late 2009 the consensus among economists began to break down. In 2010 with a depression averted but unemployment in many countries still high, policy makers generally decided against further fiscal stimulus, with several citing concerns over public debt as a justification. Unconventional monetary policy continued to be used in attempts to raise economic activity. By 2016, increasing concerns had arisen that monetary policy was reaching the limit of its effectiveness, and several countries began to return to fiscal stimulus.

Blatcherism

Blatcherism is a term formed as a portmanteau of the names of two British politicians, Tony Blair (Labour Party) and Margaret Thatcher (Conservative Party). It has been used by critics of monetarism and economic liberalism to refer to the thesis that a policy model of the Thatcher government, distinct from one-nation conservatism, was resurrected when Blair came to power. It echoed "Butskellism", frequently used to describe the post-war consensus on a mixed economy with moderate state intervention to promote social goals, particularly in education and health.

Editorial comment by Red Pepper before the 1997 general election that brought Blair to power may be the earliest usage. Another early sighting of this term was in 2001, used by Brian Lee Crowley, a Canadian commentator. The term has also been used, for example, by the journalist Alexander Cockburn in preference to Blairism.

Centre for Policy Studies

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a think tank and pressure group in the United Kingdom. Its goal is to promote coherent and practical policies based on its founding principals of: free markets, small state, low tax, national independence, self determination and responsibility. While being independent, the centre has historical links to the Conservative Party.

It was co-founded by Sir Keith Joseph, Alfred Sherman and Margaret Thatcher

in 1974 to challenge the post war consensus of Keynesianism, and to champion economic liberalism in Britain. With this in mind Keith Joseph originally wanted the think tank to study the social market economy, naming it the 'Ludwig Erhard Foundation' and 'Institute for a social market economy' until it was eventually settled on the benign 'Centre for Policy Studies'.The centre has since played a global role in the dissemination of free market economics alongside policy proposals claimed to be on the basis of responsibility and individual choice. It also asserts that it prioritises the concepts of duty, family, liberty, and the rule of law. The CPS states that it has a goal of serving as "the champion of the small state."

Chicago school of economics

The Chicago school of economics is a neoclassical school of economic thought associated with the work of the faculty at the University of Chicago, some of whom have constructed and popularized its principles.

In the context of macroeconomics, it is connected to the "freshwater school" of macroeconomics, in contrast to the saltwater school based in coastal universities (notably Harvard, Columbia, MIT, and UC Berkeley). Chicago macroeconomic theory rejected Keynesianism in favor of monetarism until the mid-1970s, when it turned to new classical macroeconomics heavily based on the concept of rational expectations. The freshwater-saltwater distinction is largely antiquated today, as the two traditions have heavily incorporated ideas from each other. Specifically, New Keynesian economics was developed as a response to new classical economics, electing to incorporate the insight of rational expectations without giving up the traditional Keynesian focus on imperfect competition and sticky wages.

Chicago economists have also left their intellectual influence in other fields, notably in pioneering public choice theory and law and economics, which have led to revolutionary changes in the study of political science and law. Other economists affiliated with Chicago have made their impact in fields as diverse as social economics and economic history. Thus, there is not a clear delineation of the Chicago school of economics, a term that is more commonly used in the popular media than in academic circles. Nonetheless, Kaufman (2010) says that the School can be generally characterized by:

A deep commitment to rigorous scholarship and open academic debate, an uncompromising belief in the usefulness and insight of neoclassical price theory, and a normative position that favors and promotes economic liberalism and free markets.

The University of Chicago Economics department, considered one of the world's foremost economics departments, has been awarded 13 Nobel Prizes in Economics as of 2018 —more than any other university; and has also fielded more John Bates Clark medalists in economics than any other university.

David Laidler

David Ernest William Laidler (born 12 August 1938, England) is an economist who has been one of the foremost scholars of monetarism. He published major economics journal articles on the topic in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His book, The Demand for Money, was published in four editions from 1969 through 1993 (with slightly altered subtitles), initially setting forth the stability of the relationship between income and the demand for money and later taking into consideration the effects of legal, technological, and institutional changes on the demand for money. The book has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese.

His continued work on the demand for money through the 1990s and into the 21st century (with William B.P. Robson) led to his receiving the Donner Prize in 2004 for Two Percent Target: Canadian Monetary Policy Since 1991, published by the C.D. Howe Institute, with which Laidler maintains a close working relationship.

His other major publication, Introduction to Microeconomics, was also published in four editions, from 1974–1994. It was translated into Spanish, Polish, Italian, and Bulgarian.

Later in his career, Laidler shifted focus to the history of economic thought. Despite being retired, he is still an active researcher and scholar.

Fiscalism

Fiscalism is a term sometimes used to refer the economic theory that the government should rely on fiscal policy as the main instrument of macroeconomic policy. Fiscalism in this sense is contrasted with monetarism, which is associated with reliance on monetary policy. Fiscalists reject monetarism in a non-convertible floating rate system as inefficient if not also ineffective There are two types of Fiscalism:

- Contained fiscalism does not allow the economy to grow or decline as much as possible.

- Elevated fiscalism does not allow the economy to decline but, it does allow for the economy to grow unrestrained

Frank Hahn

Frank Horace Hahn FBA (26 April 1925 – 29 January 2013) was a British economist whose work focused on general equilibrium theory, monetary theory, Keynesian economics and monetarism. A famous problem of economic theory, the conditions under which money (which is intrinsically worthless) can have a positive value in a general equilibrium, is called "Hahn's problem" after him.

History of macroeconomic thought

Macroeconomic theory has its origins in the study of business cycles and monetary theory. In general, early theorists believed monetary factors could not affect real factors such as real output. John Maynard Keynes attacked some of these "classical" theories and produced a general theory that described the whole economy in terms of aggregates rather than individual, microeconomic parts. Attempting to explain unemployment and recessions, he noticed the tendency for people and businesses to hoard cash and avoid investment during a recession. He argued that this invalidated the assumptions of classical economists who thought that markets always clear, leaving no surplus of goods and no willing labor left idle.The generation of economists that followed Keynes synthesized his theory with neoclassical microeconomics to form the neoclassical synthesis. Although Keynesian theory originally omitted an explanation of price levels and inflation, later Keynesians adopted the Phillips curve to model price-level changes. Some Keynesians opposed the synthesis method of combining Keynes's theory with an equilibrium system and advocated disequilibrium models instead. Monetarists, led by Milton Friedman, adopted some Keynesian ideas, such as the importance of the demand for money, but argued that Keynesians ignored the role of money supply in inflation. Robert Lucas and other new classical macroeconomists criticized Keynesian models that did not work under rational expectations. Lucas also argued that Keynesian empirical models would not be as stable as models based on microeconomic foundations.

The new classical school culminated in real business cycle theory (RBC). Like early classical economic models, RBC models assumed that markets clear and that business cycles are driven by changes in technology and supply, not demand. New Keynesians tried to address many of the criticisms leveled by Lucas and other new classical economists against Neo-Keynesians. New Keynesians adopted rational expectations and built models with microfoundations of sticky prices that suggested recessions could still be explained by demand factors because rigidities stop prices from falling to a market-clearing level, leaving a surplus of goods and labor. The new neoclassical synthesis combined elements of both new classical and new Keynesian macroeconomics into a consensus. Other economists avoided the new classical and new Keynesian debate on short-term dynamics and developed the new growth theories of long-run economic growth. The Great Recession led to a retrospective on the state of the field and some popular attention turned toward heterodox economics.

Karl Brunner (economist)

Karl Brunner (; German: [ˈbrʊnər]; 16 February 1916 – 9 May 1989) was a Swiss economist.

Macroeconomics

Macroeconomics (from the Greek prefix makro- meaning "large" + economics) is a branch of economics dealing with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole. This includes regional, national, and global economies. Macroeconomists study aggregated indicators such as GDP, unemployment rates, national income, price indices, and the interrelations among the different sectors of the economy to better understand how the whole economy functions. They also develop models that explain the relationship between such factors as national income, output, consumption, unemployment, inflation, saving, investment, international trade, and international finance.

While macroeconomics is a broad field of study, there are two areas of research that are emblematic of the discipline: the attempt to understand the causes and consequences of short-run fluctuations in national income (the business cycle), and the attempt to understand the determinants of long-run economic growth (increases in national income). Macroeconomic models and their forecasts are used by governments to assist in the development and evaluation of economic policy.

Macroeconomics and microeconomics, a pair of terms coined by Ragnar Frisch, are the two most general fields in economics. In contrast to macroeconomics, microeconomics is the branch of economics that studies the behavior of individuals and firms in making decisions and the interactions among these individuals and firms in narrowly-defined markets.

Market monetarism

Market monetarism is a school of macroeconomic thought that advocates that central banks target the level of nominal income instead of inflation, unemployment, or other measures of economic activity, including in times of shocks such as the bursting of the real estate bubble in 2006, and in the financial crisis that followed. In contrast to traditional monetarists, market monetarists do not believe monetary aggregates or commodity prices such as gold are the optimal guide to intervention. Market monetarists also reject the New Keynesian focus on interest rates as the primary instrument of monetary policy. Market monetarists prefer a nominal income target due to their twin beliefs that rational expectations are crucial to policy, and that markets react instantly to changes in their expectations about future policy, without the "long and variable lags" postulated by Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman (; July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the second generation of Chicago price theory, a methodological movement at the University of Chicago's Department of Economics, Law School and Graduate School of Business from the 1940s onward. Several students and young professors who were recruited or mentored by Friedman at Chicago went on to become leading economists, including Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, Thomas Sowell and Robert Lucas Jr.Friedman's challenges to what he later called "naive Keynesian" theory began with his 1950s reinterpretation of the consumption function. In the 1960s, he became the main advocate opposing Keynesian government policies and described his approach (along with mainstream economics) as using "Keynesian language and apparatus" yet rejecting its "initial" conclusions. He theorized that there existed a "natural" rate of unemployment and argued that unemployment below this rate would cause inflation to accelerate. He argued that the Phillips curve was in the long run vertical at the "natural rate" and predicted what would come to be known as stagflation. Friedman promoted an alternative macroeconomic viewpoint known as "monetarism" and argued that a steady, small expansion of the money supply was the preferred policy. His ideas concerning monetary policy, taxation, privatization and deregulation influenced government policies, especially during the 1980s. His monetary theory influenced the Federal Reserve's response to the global financial crisis of 2007–2008.Friedman was an advisor to Republican President Ronald Reagan and Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His political philosophy extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with minimal intervention. He once stated that his role in eliminating conscription in the United States was his proudest accomplishment. In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of medical licenses, a negative income tax and school vouchers and opposed the war on drugs. His support for school choice led him to found the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, later renamed EdChoice.Friedman's works include monographs, books, scholarly articles, papers, magazine columns, television programs and lectures and cover a broad range of economic topics and public policy issues. His books and essays have had global influence, including in former communist states. A survey of economists ranked Friedman as the second-most popular economist of the 20th century following only John Maynard Keynes and The Economist described him as "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century ... possibly of all of it".

Monetary economics

Monetary economics is the branch of economics that studies the different competing theories of money. It provides a framework for analyzing money and considers its functions, such as medium of exchange, store of value and unit of account. It considers how money, for example fiat currency, can gain acceptance purely because of its convenience as a public good. It examines the effects of monetary systems, including regulation of money and associated financial institutions and international aspects.The discipline has historically prefigured, and remains integrally linked to, macroeconomics. Modern analysis has attempted to provide microfoundations for the demand for money and to distinguish valid nominal and real monetary relationships for micro or macro uses, including their influence on the aggregate demand for output. Its methods include deriving and testing the implications of money as a substitute for other assets and as based on explicit frictions.

Natural rate of unemployment

The natural rate of unemployment is the name that was given to a key concept in the study of economic activity. Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps, tackling this 'human' problem in the 1960s, both received the Nobel Prize in economics for their work, and the development of the concept is cited as a main motivation behind the prize. A simplistic summary of the concept is: 'The natural rate of unemployment, when an economy is in a steady state of "full employment", is the proportion of the workforce who are unemployed'. Put another way, this concept clarifies that the economic term "full employment" does not mean "zero unemployment". It represents the hypothetical unemployment rate consistent with aggregate production being at the "long-run" level. This level is consistent with aggregate production in the absence of various temporary frictions such as incomplete price adjustment in labor and goods markets. The natural rate of unemployment therefore corresponds to the unemployment rate prevailing under a classical view of determination of activity.

The natural unemployment rate is mainly determined by the economy's supply side, and hence production possibilities and economic institutions. If these institutional features involve permanent mismatches in the labor market or real wage rigidities, the natural rate of unemployment may feature involuntary unemployment. The natural rate of unemployment is a combination of frictional and structural unemployment that persists in an efficient, expanding economy when labor and resource markets are in equilibrium.

Occurrence of disturbances (e.g., cyclical shifts in investment sentiments) will cause actual unemployment to continuously deviate from the natural rate, and be partly determined by aggregate demand factors as under a Keynesian view of output determination. The policy implication is that the natural rate of unemployment cannot permanently be reduced by demand management policies (including monetary policy), but that such policies can play a role in stabilizing variations in actual unemployment.

Reductions in the natural rate of unemployment must, according to the concept, be achieved through structural policies directed towards an economy's supply side. According to multiple surveys, two-thirds to three-quarters of economists generally agree with the statement, "There is a natural rate of unemployment to which the economy tends in the long run."

Real business-cycle theory

Real business-cycle theory (RBC theory) is a class of new classical macroeconomics models in which business-cycle fluctuations to a large extent can be accounted for by real (in contrast to nominal) shocks. Unlike other leading theories of the business cycle, RBC theory sees business cycle fluctuations as the efficient response to exogenous changes in the real economic environment. That is, the level of national output necessarily maximizes expected utility, and governments should therefore concentrate on long-run structural policy changes and not intervene through discretionary fiscal or monetary policy designed to actively smooth out economic short-term fluctuations.

According to RBC theory, business cycles are therefore "real" in that they do not represent a failure of markets to clear but rather reflect the most efficient possible operation of the economy, given the structure of the economy.

Real business cycle theory categorically rejects Keynesian economics and the real effectiveness of monetary policy as promoted by monetarism and New Keynesian economics, which are the pillars of mainstream macroeconomic policy.

RBC theory is associated with freshwater economics (the Chicago School of Economics in the neoclassical tradition).

Ricardian economics

Ricardian economics are the economic theories of David Ricardo, an English political economist born in 1772 who made a fortune as a stockbroker and loan broker. At the age of 27, he read An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and was energized by the theories of economics.

His main economic ideas are contained in On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817). This set out a series of theories which would later become theoretical underpinnings of both Marx's Das Kapital and Marshallian economics, including the theory of economic rent, the labour theory of value and above all the theory of comparative advantage.

Ricardo wrote his first economic article ten years after reading Adam Smith and ultimately, the "bullion controversy" gave him fame in the economic community for his theory on inflation in 19th-century England. This theory became known as monetarism, the theory that excess currency leads to inflation. He also played a part in the emergence of classical economics, which meant he fought for free trade and free competition without government interference by enforcing laws or restrictions.

Scott Sumner

Scott B. Sumner (born 1955) is an American economist. He is the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, and professor who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment". In May 2012, Chicago Fed President Charles L. Evans became the first sitting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to endorse the idea.After Ben Bernanke's announcement on September 13, 2012, of a new round of quantitative easing, which open-endedly committed the FOMC to purchase $40 billion agency mortgage-backed securities per month until the "labor market improves substantially", some media outlets began hailing him as the "blogger who saved the economy", for popularizing the concept of nominal income targeting.

Sidney Weintraub (economist born 1914)

Sidney Weintraub (; April 28, 1914 – June 19, 1983) was an American economist, one of the most prominent American members of the Post Keynesian economics school. He was the co-founder and co-editor of The Journal of Post Keynesian Economics (1978). His views included criticism of monetarism and the neoclassical synthesis, and promotion of the tax-based incomes policy (TIP).

Stagflation

In economics, stagflation is a situation in which the inflation rate is high, the economic growth rate slows, and unemployment remains steadily high. It presents a dilemma for economic policy, since actions intended to lower inflation may exacerbate unemployment, and vice versa.

The term, a portmanteau of stagnation and inflation, is generally attributed to Iain Macleod, a British Conservative Party politician who became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1970. Macleod used the word in a 1965 speech to Parliament during a period of simultaneously high inflation and unemployment in the United Kingdom.

Warning the House of Commons of the gravity of the situation, he said: "We now have the worst of both worlds—not just inflation on the one side or stagnation on the other, but both of them together. We have a sort of "stagflation" situation. And history, in modern terms, is indeed being made."Macleod used the term again on 7 July 1970, and the media began also to use it, for example in The Economist on 15 August 1970, and Newsweek on 19 March 1973.

John Maynard Keynes did not use the term, but some of his work refers to the conditions that most would recognise as stagflation. In the version of Keynesian macroeconomic theory that was dominant between the end of World War II and the late 1970s, inflation and recession were regarded as mutually exclusive, the relationship between the two being described by the Phillips curve. Stagflation is very costly and difficult to eradicate once it starts, both in social terms and in budget deficits.

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