By Allan H. Meltzer
To comprehend why the Federal Reserve acted because it did at key issues in its historical past, Meltzer attracts on assembly mins, correspondence, and different inner records (many made public in simple terms throughout the Nineteen Seventies) to track the reasoning in the back of its coverage judgements. He explains, for example, why the Federal Reserve remained passive all through lots of the financial decline that resulted in the good melancholy, and the way the Board's activities helped to provide the deep recession of 1937 and 1938. He additionally highlights the influence at the establishment of people corresponding to Benjamin robust, governor of the Federal Reserve financial institution of latest York within the Twenties, who performed a key function within the adoption of a extra energetic financial coverage by way of the Federal Reserve. Meltzer additionally examines the effect the Federal Reserve has had on foreign affairs, from makes an attempt to construct a brand new overseas economic climate within the Nineteen Twenties to the Bretton Woods contract of 1944 that proven the overseas financial Fund and the realm financial institution, and the failure of the London financial convention of 1933.
Written through one of many world's prime economists, this magisterial biography of the Federal Reserve and the folk who assisted in shaping it is going to curiosity economists, vital bankers, historians, political scientists, policymakers, and somebody looking a deep realizing of the establishment that controls America's handbag strings.
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Additional info for A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1: 1913-1951
Efforts at international monetary coordination in the 1920s and 1930s foundered on the conflict between a fixed exchange rate and goals for inflation or employment. The Federal Reserve worked actively to restore the international gold standard in the 1920s, first in Germany, than in Britain, France, Holland, Poland, and elsewhere. It sought to maintain domestic price stability also. The two goals were incompatible once other countries fixed their currencies to gold. Coordination could not resolve the conflict.
Can the monetary system be controlled? If so, which variables should be controlled, and how should this be done? What are the consequences of alternative systems of control? Did the central bank have an opportunity to exercise discretion, or is the real stock of money constant, so that central bank policy ultimately determined only the division of the real stock of money between gold (foreign exchange) or specie and paper? Should the central bank protect its own reserve, or is its main responsibility to protect the financial system in time of crisis?
Institutions both shape the society of which they are part and adapt to the dominant views in that society. Although the Federal Reserve was independent of the day-to-day political process, the public, acting through its representatives, could insist on structural changes or, without formally changing structures, demand that the Federal Reserve undertake new responsibilities or give up old ones. No institution can be independent of this pressure for change. In the 1920s the reserve banks learned to coordinate actions that affected interest rates and the stocks of money and credit.
A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1: 1913-1951 by Allan H. Meltzer