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- Bruegel | Blogs review: The intellectual legacy of Milton Friedman
What's at stake: What started as a series of post by David Glasner on the legacy of Milton Friedman turned into a major dispute after Paul Krugman wrote that "historians of economic thought will regard him as little more than an extended footnote". Although it quickly appeared that the statement did not apply to Friedman, the economist, but to Friedman, the guiding light for conservative economic policies (see for example his influential Free to Choose TV series), the discussion continued as to whether the Great Recession had given a serious hit to Friedman's economic analysis.
Milton Friedman was a libertarian-capitalist tempered by monetarism, which most libertarian-capitalists would say isn't really possible, as they would maintain that no libertarian-capitalist would also be a monetarist to any degree. Friedman's "Free to Choose" side was his libertarian-capitalist side. Contrary to the linked post's view, we feel that Friedman "the economist" is wholly inclusive of Friedman the libertarian-capitalist.
This issue is relevant to real estate and insurance, as both are so inextricably tied to monetary policy choices by the Fed and fiscal policies and choices of the various governments. The ideology of the policy makers and their economic advisors is critical to the overall health of the economy. Garbage in, garbage out, as the old computer programming saying goes.
- IMF's Lagarde: Unconventional Monetary Policies A Clear Success – Real Time Economics – WSJ
The leader of the International Monetary Fund said Friday the world's major central banks had helped their respective economies by providing extraordinary levels of monetary stimulus, and that now is not the time to pull back on these policies.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, told an audience at the Kansas City Fed's annual Jackson Hole economic conference that unconventional monetary policies, like the Federal Reserve's ongoing bond-buying program, are "still needed in all the places" these policies are being employed.
"I do not suggest a rush to exit," Lagarde said, adding in Europe, "there is a good deal more mileage to be gained" from unconventional policy. As for Japan, she said an "exit is very likely some way off."
Lagarde also said that when central banks do start pulling back on stimulus and moving toward a more conventional monetary policy stance, this exit "is likely to be slower and longer than is often portrayed, and feared."
We agree that the exit will be fine-tuned and even adjusted up again if needed.
- Reuters — Low inflation mystery could be a hitch in Fed's plans
Why care about inflation? Given the commercial-banking industry at the center of the lending upon which the US system has been built, inflation is a comfort gap hopefully between growth and deflation, associated with more severe recessions.
Experts are divided over why inflation has cooled, but it could be a sign of lasting damage dealt to the economy by the 2007-09 recession. If so, it could get in the way of the Federal Reserve's plans to end a bond-buying stimulus program by the middle of next year.
Very low inflation scares policymakers because it raises the chances an economic shock – say, a meltdown in Europe or China – could tip prices and wages into a downward spiral known as deflation.
… Between 2007 and 2012, hourly wages and benefits climbed 11 percent, just half the gain posted in the prior five years.
That has hurt sales at companies, and has made small businesses more hesitant to raise prices.
… sluggish gains in wages and prices over the long run could undermine inflation expectations.
Some data tentatively points in this direction. Figures compiled by the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank suggest the public has gradually reduced expectations for future inflation since around 2007.
"You worry about this being a broad malaise," said Ethan Harris, chief U.S. economist at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
Read the source article … http://preview.reuters.com/2013/8/23/low -inflation-mystery-could-be-a-hitch-in-f eds-1
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