Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.SNP Offers Labour Deadly Death Embrace Alliance, Holding England to Ransom, Destroy UK From Within - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold And Silver – Most Widely Used Currency In Western World? Stupidity - Michael_Noonan
3.Election Forecast 2015 - Coalition Economic Recovery vs Labour Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Election Forecast 2015 - Debates Boost Labour Into Opinion Polls Seats Lead - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Why are Interest Rates So Low? Ben Bernanke, Confused as Ever, Starts His Own Blog to Prove It - Mike_Shedlock
6.Leaders Debate Election 2015 - Natalie Bennett Green Party Convincing Anti-Austerity More Debt Argument - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Labour Economic Collapse vs Coalition Recovery - UK Election Forecast 2015 - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
8.China’s Stock Market Mania; How High can Red-chips Fly? - Gary_Dorsch
9.Gold and Misery, Strange Bedfellows - 31st Mar 15 - Dan_Norcini
10.Ed Miliband Debate Election 2015 Analysis - Labour Spending, Debt and Economic Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 5 days
Stocks, Bonds and Real Estate Financial Hurricanes Headed Our Way - No Where to Hide! - 28th Apr 15
Bitcoin Price Counterintuitive Signs - 28th Apr 15
Stock Market Valuations - Maybe I am Crazy - 28th Apr 15
Gold Price Rises, Silver Surges – Physical Demand and Greece, Ukraine, Russia Risks - 28th Apr 15
The Insurance "Game" Has Changed – and Investors Can Profit - 28th Apr 15
Prelude to a Japanese Revival - 28th Apr 15
Why You Could Make ANOTHER 100% in China Stock Market Starting Now - 28th Apr 15
CIA Prefab State Terror for Human Bondage - 28th Apr 15
Greece: Down and Probably Out - 27th Apr 15
Biotech Stocks and the Power of Context - 27th Apr 15
Strawberry Picking Undervalued Gold Stocks - 27th Apr 15
Rock-Paper-Silver - 27th Apr 15
Gold Flows East - China, India Import Massive Quantities of Gold from Switzerland - 27th Apr 15
Conservatives Start to Pull Away from Labour in Opinion Polls, But is it too Late? Election Forecast 2015 - 27th Apr 15
Gold and Silver - It's ALL about The Big Picture After All - 27th Apr 15
Sheffield School Places Election Crisis - Affluent Schools Demand Increase in Funding - 27th Apr 15
Labour Bribes Voters With Housing Market Stamp Duty Cut and Rent Controls - 27th Apr 15
Stock Market SPX Index at Resistance - 27th Apr 15
Society's Leaders Have Been Digging a Bottomless Economic Pit - 27th Apr 15
Impending Stock Market Top - Trend Forecast Summer 2015 - 26th Apr 15
Desperate Stock Market Bubble Thinking Takes Hold on Wall Street - 26th Apr 15
Stock Market Back into The Bear Suits - 26th Apr 15
One Stock Market Where You Haven't Missed the Bull Market Boom Yet - 26th Apr 15
Migrant Crisis - Europe Has Completely Lost It - 26th Apr 15
What Obama's First-Ever Energy Review Missed - 26th Apr 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015, School Places Crisis, Can Nick Clegg Win? - 26th Apr 15
Stocks Bull Market Looks to Resume - 25th Apr 15
Gold And Silver - The U.S. Is A Corporation. Precious Metals Stand In The Way - 25th Apr 15
When the Nuclear Money Option Fails - 25th Apr 15
The War on Cash Special Report - 25th Apr 15
China Economic Slowdown Story - Why “Didi Dache” Is a Phrase You Need to Know - 25th Apr 15
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic - 25th Apr 15
Stock Splitting Caused the Stock Market Crash - 25th Apr 15
China Stock Market Parabolic Mania’s Global Risk - 24th Apr 15
What Will Happen to You When the U.S. Dollar Collapses? - 24th Apr 15
Why 2 of U.S. Dollar's Recent Bottoms Have 1 Thing In Common - 24th Apr 15
UK Economy Debt Timebomb Will Explode After Election - 24th Apr 15
Are Gold Stocks the Cheapest Ever? - 24th Apr 15
God, the Stock Market and Pascal's Wager - 24th Apr 15
Greedy Insurers Are in for a Nasty Surprise – Positioning You for Big Profits - 24th Apr 15
Four Things Missing From Obama’s First-Ever Energy Review - 24th Apr 15
How to Grow a Regenerative Medicine Industry - 23rd Apr 15
Stocks and Bonds Seven Year of Negative Returns; Fraudulent Promises - 23rd Apr 15
The Existential Danger To The Euro Is Elections - 23rd Apr 15
Stock Market No Clear Direction As Investors React To Quarterly Earnings Releases - 23rd Apr 15
Is China The Next United States? - 23rd Apr 15
U.S. Oil Glut: How High Can It Go? - 23rd Apr 15
Distorted Financial System Expect Deflation, Inflation And Hyperinflation - 23rd Apr 15
What McDonald’s Corporate Earnings Report Is Really Telling You - 23rd Apr 15
Gold Price Forecast to Become Priceless - 23rd Apr 15
FDIC Plots a Bank Heist Involving YOUR Accounts - 23rd Apr 15
$GOLD Price Year 2007 Again - 23rd Apr 15
Stocks Bubble - The Spread between Stock Prices and GDP is Blowing Out - 23rd Apr 15
Ukraine War - When Did We All Become Murderers? - 23rd Apr 15
Libya Crisis - EU Leaders Are Indicted for Nazi-Style Crimes against Humanity - 22nd Apr 15
Why Alternative Energy Isn’t Taking It on the Chin Despite Low Oil Prices - 22nd Apr 15
Bill Gross - German 10-Year Bunds Short of a Life Time - 22nd Apr 15
How to Profit from the Drop in the Oil Price - 22nd Apr 15
The U.S. Dollar's Move Is More Dangerous than You Think - 22nd Apr 15
Apple Watch Means Apple Will Become Worlds First $1 Trillion Stock - 22nd Apr 15
Half a Stocks Bubble Off Dead Center - 22nd Apr 15
They Said Go to College - Learning to become Debt Slaves - 22nd Apr 15
Best Cash ISA 2015/16, Instant and Fixed Savings Interest Rates, New Flexible Withdrawal / Deposit Rule - 22nd Apr 15
Unsound Banking: Why Most of the World's Banks Are Headed for Collapse - 21st Apr 15
Bitcoin Recent Low Price Volatility Might Be Deceptive - 21st Apr 15
Currency Wars Back As Russia Buys Gold - One Million Ounces in March Alone - 21st Apr 15
The Greece 'Grexit' Issue and the Problem of Free Trade - 21st Apr 15
Why Europe Lets People Drown - 21st Apr 15
Wealth Destruction for the 99.9 Percent - 21st Apr 15
SNP Publish England's Suicide Note as Pollsters Still Forecast Labour-SNP Election Disaster - 21st Apr 15
Characteristics of Extremely Over-Indebted Economies - 21st Apr 15
Trader Education Week -- a Free Event to Help You Learn to Spot Trading Opportunities - 21st Apr 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The War on Cash!

Fed’s Destructive Monetary Policies Expose Mainstream Economic Fallacies

Economics / Economic Theory Feb 10, 2013 - 12:12 PM GMT

By: Frank_Shostak

Economics

At the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in San Diego (January 4–6, 2013), Harvard professor of economics Benjamin Friedman said,

The standard models we teach … simply have no room in them for what most of the world’s central banks have done in response to the crisis.

Friedman also advises sweeping aside the importance of the role of monetary aggregates. On this he said,


If the model you are teaching has an “M” in it, it is a waste of students’ time. Delete it.

According to most economic experts, the Fed has re-written the central banking playbook, cutting interest rates to near zero and tripling its balance sheet by buying bonds. The federal funds rate target is currently at 0.25%. The Fed’s balance sheet jumped from $0.86 trillion in January 2007 to $2.9 trillion in January 2013.

Professors who say they agree with the Fed’s approach to the 2008–2009 economic crisis are nonetheless challenged to explain this new world of central banking to their students. They argue that the dramatic action by the central banks to counter a global financial crisis cannot be explained by traditional models of how monetary policy works.

So what seems to be the problem here?

According to traditional thinking, a lowering of interest rates stimulates the overall demand for goods and services, and this in turn, via the famous Keynesian multiplier, stimulates general economic activity. Furthermore, according to traditional thinking, massive monetary pumping should also lead to a higher rate of inflation.

Yet despite the massive monetary pumping, both economic activity and the rate of inflation remain subdued. After closing at 8.1% in June 2010, the yearly rate of growth of industrial production fell to 2.2% in December 2012. The yearly rate of growth of the consumer price index (CPI) fell to 1.7% in December 2012 from 3.9% in September 2009. Additionally, the unemployment rate stood at a lofty 7.8% in December 2012 with 12.2 million people out of work.


So why has the massive monetary pumping by the Fed, and the near zero federal funds rate, failed to strongly revive economic activity and exert visible upward pressure on the prices of goods and services?

Is the comment by Benjamin Friedman, that money is not relevant, now valid?

No. The fact that the massive Fed pumping has failed to produce the expected results—along the lines of mainstream models—does not mean that the money supply is no longer important to understanding what is going on.

The fact that economic activity is currently not responding to massive monetary pumping, as in the past, indicates that prolonged reckless monetary policies have severely damaged the economy’s ability to generate real wealth. So contrary to Friedman, we maintain that money matters very much. However, contrary to mainstream thinking, an increase in money supply does not grow, but rather destroys the economy.

The ongoing monetary pumping, coupled with an ongoing falsification of the interest rate structure, has caused a severe misallocation of scarce real capital. As a result of reckless monetary policies, a non-wealth-generating structure of production was created. Obviously, with the diminishing ability to generate real wealth, it is not possible to support, i.e., fund, strong economic activity.

Monetary pumping is always bad news for the economy because it diverts real funding from wealth generating activities to wealth consuming activities. It sets in motion an exchange of something for nothing.

As long as the economy’s ability to generate wealth is functioning, the reckless monetary policies of the central bank can be absorbed. Under such conditions, market watchers get the false impression that "loose" monetary policies are the key drivers of economic growth.

When wealth-generating activity, as a percentage of the total economic activity, drops below a certain point, reality takes over and general economic activity has to fall. This decline in wealth-generating activity undermines the ability to lend. Real funds for lending have also declined and lending "out of thin air" results. Following suit is the growth of the money supply and price inflation.

As a result of the weakened wealth generating process, formerly subsidized non-wealth-generating activities come under pressure. Since they don't produce enough to sustain their own viability, they are forced to lower their prices of goods and services to stave off bankruptcy. According to Mises,

As soon as the afflux of additional fiduciary media comes to an end, the airy castle of the boom collapses. The entrepreneurs must restrict their activities because they lack the funds for their continuation on the exaggerated scale. Prices drop suddenly because these distressed firms try to obtain cash by throwing inventories on the market dirt cheap.[1]

It is not clear whether we have already reached this stage in the US. But despite massive pumping by the Fed, economic activity remains subdued and this raises the likelihood that the US economy is not far from sinking into a black hole.

The Fed's aggressive pumping policies highlight the destructive nature of loose money. Popular mainstream theories aside, the actions of the Fed have proven that monetary pumping cannot grow an economy. It can only set in motion a process of destruction.

Many mainstream policy thinkers are of the opinion that the Fed’s policies can be made more effective by making the central bank’s policies transparent and consistent. The following remarks, by the prominent economist Michael Woodford and reported by Reuters, are but an example:

"The recent events ... have given us a lot of reason to change what we teach when we talk about monetary policy," said Michael Woodford, a professor at Columbia University and one of the most influential current thinkers about monetary policy.

In future, Woodford said he would incorporate a lot more discussion about the importance of stability in the financial sector on the macro economy, and tell students why future expectations for central bank interest rates can be vital.

"Explain why expectations are important for aggregate demand," he told the panel. . . .

"Make it credible that the central bank will actually follow through with the policy it is indicating," Woodford said, referring to the importance of convincing businesses and households to invest and spend.

The belief that greater transparency and consistency in the Fed’s policies would lead to stable economic growth is fallacious. We have seen that it is the Fed’s actual policies that are the key factor behind the destruction of the wealth generating process. Hence, the damage inflicted by these policies cannot be avoided even if the Fed is consistent and transparent.

The key problem with the mainstream perspective is its notion that all that is needed for economic growth is to boost the demand for goods and services, i.e., demand creates supply. It is for this reason that mainstream thinkers held the view that increases in the money supply, and the subsequent increase in the overall demand for goods and services, is a catalyst for economic growth.

But we have seen that once money is pumped, it sets in motion an exchange of something for nothing, i.e., the diversion of real wealth from wealth generators to non-wealth generators, and subsequently to economic impoverishment.

Summary and conclusion

At the recent American Economic Association meeting, academic economists said that the latest monetary policies of the Fed made it difficult to employ accepted theories regarding the effect of central bank policies on the economy. Experts are of the opinion that in the “new world,” because of Fed policies, there is little room left for the money supply to explain why economic activity and the rate of inflation are subdued despite, the Fed’s aggressive policies since 2008. Contrary to mainstream thinking, the aggressive policies of the Fed have highlighted the destructive nature of loose monetary policy. Money supply matters more now than ever.

Frank Shostak is an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute and a frequent contributor to Mises.org. He is chief economist of M.F. Global. Send him mail. See Frank Shostak's article archives. Comment on the blog.

© 2013 Copyright Frank Shostak - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014