Monday, August 13, 2012

Bernanke on the Stance of Monetary Policy

"Ultimately, it appears, one can check to see if an economy has a stable monetary background only by looking at macroeconomic indicators such as nominal GDP growth and inflation. On this criterion it appears that modern central bankers have taken Milton Friedman's advice to heart. Over the past two decades, inflation has fallen sharply and stabilized around the world, not only in the industrialized nations but in emerging-market economies and in even the poorest developing nations. Some central banks, so-called inflation targeters, have set explicit, quantitative targets for inflation; but all central banks, certainly including the Federal Reserve, have emphasized the importance of achieving and maintaining price stability. On the issue of inflation control, Friedman may be judged to have been a bit too pessimistic; his concerns that central banks would have neither the technical ability nor the correct incentives to control inflation led him to recommend his money-growth rule, for which a central bank could certainly be held accountable. Evidently, however, determined central banks can stabilize inflation directly, at least they have been able to do so thus far."

-Ben Bernake c. 2003

By his own defintion, the FOMC should be expanding; both inflation and NGDP are still running well below trend. 

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