Every now and then a central bank publishes a research paper that inadvertently pulls back the curtain to reveal the insidious effects of monetary policy. A recent post by the German Bundesbank, published to defend central bankers from allegations of destroying savers, actually did just the opposite, demonstrating that central banks have over the past several decades actively hurt savers. In essence, their answer to criticisms that current monetary policy discourages saving is: “We’ve always engaged in policies to discourage saving.”
The New York Times reports that American prosecutors, in the wake of the decision against French bank BNP Paribas, have shifted their attention now towards German banks. Just as in its conduct of foreign policy, the U.S. government fails to appreciate the concept of “blowback” in its heavy-handed treatment of foreign banks.
The regional Federal Reserve Banks in the United States perform a number of functions. They assist in the execution of monetary policy, are involved in supervision and regulation of banks, and publish research papers on economic topics. One recent paper published by the Dallas Fed that piqued our attention was entitled “Inflation Is Not Always and Everywhere a Monetary Phenomenon.” (PDF link) Given Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher’s reputation as one of the more hawkish Fed presidents with respect to the Fed’s monetary policy, why would the Dallas Fed publish this paper as their monthly economic newsletter?
Given the long history of governments and central bankers driving their currencies to destruction through relentless inflation, many people both within and without the Austrian School of Economics would view “Central Bankers for Financial Stability” if not as an outright joke, then at least as a prime candidate for the world’s smallest and most exclusive…
Ever find yourself listening to a Federal Reserve Chairman and trying hard to keep your mind from drifting to something more interesting? Me neither. But while most of the media was trying to glean tidbits about upcoming monetary policy decisions from Chairman Yellen’s speech at the IMF, they missed some pretty important statements. Here are a few that I picked out and translated into everyday English to make them more accessible to the layman.
Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen delivered a speech at the International Monetary Fund today, on the topic of “Monetary Policy and Financial Stability.” The speech’s topic is one which is not unusual for Washington nowadays, as financial stability seems to be mentioned during any discussion of the banking system. And given Chairman Yellen’s diminutive stature and colorless delivery, you can just imagine the IMF bureaucrats sitting in the room sneaking glimpses at yesterday’s World Cup highlights on their iPads as they struggled to stay awake for yet another boring speech. Yet behind that dry title lies a major policy shift that has gone largely unnoticed.
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