Chuck Norris on monetary policy #2

I am continuing my tribute to the great Chuck Norris.

Here this it truth from

“If Chuck Norris goes to the bank to get money, all banks go on a world crisis. It happened on 2008”

Well, you are quite right it was not the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which triggered the kind of mess we are in now. Rather it was Chuck Norris who increased his demand for dollars. Or maybe it was not Chuck, but somebody else, but nonetheless the increase in demand for dollars both in the US and from Europe lead to an “passive” tightening of US monetary policy, which the Federal Reserve failed to respond forcefully enough to.

PS both Nick Rowe and David Beckworth are now picking up the Chuck theme…


The open-minded Krugman

I didn’t expect this ever to happen, but I have to say something nice about Paul Krugman’s comments on his New York Times blog. Well, there is actually a lot of positive to say about Paul Krugman, but we just tend to forget it when he is giving us free market economists a hard time. However, the story today is not about what we think, but “where” we express our views and share our research.

As I have tried to argue in my paper “Market Monetarism – the second Monetarist counter-revolution” Market Monetarism is a school of economic thought basically born and shaped in the blogosphere.

Krugman has a positive view on what the blogosphere has done to open up the economic profession and haow the blogoshere is helping improve economic research.

Here is Krugman:

“What the blogs have done, in a way, is open up that process. Twenty years ago it was possible and even normal to get research into circulation and have everyone talking about it without having gone through the refereeing process – but you had to be part of a certain circle, and basically had to have graduated from a prestigious department, to be part of that game. Now you can break in from anywhere; although there’s still at any given time a sort of magic circle that’s hard to get into, it’s less formal and less defined by where you sit or where you went to school.

Since there’s some kind of conservation principle here, the fact that it’s easier for people with less formal credentials to get heard means that people who have those credentials are less guaranteed of respectful treatment. So yes, we’ve seen some famous names run into firestorms of criticism — *justified* criticism – even as some “nobodies” become players. That’s a good thing! Famous economists have been saying foolish things forever; now they get called on it.

And this process has showed what things are really like. If some famous economists seem to be showing themselves intellectually naked, it’s not really a change in their wardrobe, it’s the fact that it’s easier than it used to be for little boys to get a word in.”

So here we go again – I agree with Krugman. The blogosphere is opening up our profession and Krugman deserves credit for taking this debate serious. Have a look at Krugman’s comment here and share you views both here and on Krugman’s blog.

PS Krugman is still wrong about fiscal policy and his odd views of China – after all he is just a Keynesian, but nonetheless quite open-minded and probably more open-minded that I am…

HT Benjamin “Mr. PR” Cole

NGDP targeting is not about ”stimulus”

Market Monetarists are often misunderstood to think that monetary policy should “stimulate” growth and that monetary policy is like a joystick that can be used to fine-tune the economic development. Our view is in fact rather the opposite. Most Market Monetarists believe that the economy should be left to its own devises and that the more policy makers stay out of the “game” the better as we in general believe that the market rather than governments ensure the most efficient allocation of resources.

Exactly because we believe more in the market than in fine-tuning and government intervention we stress how important it is for monetary policy to provide a transparent, stable and predictable “nominal anchor”. A nominal GDP target could be such an anchor. A price level target could be another.

Traditional monetarists used to think that central banks should provide a stable nominal anchor through a fixed money supply growth rule. Market Monetarists do not disagree with the fundamental thinking behind this. We, however, are sceptical about money supply targeting because of technical and regulatory develops mean that velocity is not constant and because we from time to time see shocks to money demand – as for example during the Great Recession.

A way to illustrate this is the equation of exchange:


If the traditional monetarist assumption hold and V (velocity) is constant then the traditional monetarist rule of a constant growth rate of M equals the Market Monetarist call for a constant growth rate of nominal GDP (PY). There is another crucial difference and that is that Market Monetarists are in favour of targeting the level of PY, while traditional monetarists favours a target of the growth of M. That means that a NGDP level rule has “memory” – if the target overshots one period then growth in NGDP need to be higher the following period.

In the light in the Great Recession what US based Market Monetarists like Bill Woolsey or Scott Sumner have been calling for is basically that M should be expanded to make up for the drop in V we have seen on the back of the Great Recession and bring PY back to its old level path. This is not “stimulus” in the traditional Keynesian sense. Rather it is about re-establishing the “old” monetary equilibrium.

In some way Market Monetarists are to blame for the misunderstandings themselves as they from time to time are calling for “monetary stimulus” and have supported QE1 and QE2. However, in the Market Monetarists sense “monetary stimulus” basically means to fill the whole created by the drop in velocity and while Market Monetarists have supported QE1 and QE2 they have surely been very critical about how quantitative easing has been conducted in the US by the Federal Reserve.

Another way to address the issue is to say that the task of the central bank is to ensure “monetary neutrality”. Normally economists talk about monetary neutrality in a “positive” sense meaning that monetary policy cannot affect real GDP growth and employment in the long run. However, “monetary neutrality” can also be see in a “normative” sense to mean that monetary policy should not influence the allocation of economic resource. The central bank ensures monetary neutrality in a normative sense by always ensuring that the growth of money supply equals that growth of the money demand.

George Selgin and other Free Banking theorists have shown that in a Free Banking world where the money supply has been privatised the money supply is perfectly elastic to changes in money demand. In a Free Banking world an “automatic” increase in M will compensate for any drop V and visa versa. So in that sense a NGDP level target is basically committing the central bank to emulate the Free Banking (the Free Market) outcome in monetary matters.

The believe in the market rather than in “centralized control mechanisms” is also illustrated by the fact that Market Monetarists advocate using market indicators and preferably NGDP futures in the conduct of monetary policy rather than the central bank’s own subjective forecasts. In a world where monetary policy is linked to NGDP futures (or other market prices) the central bank basically do not need a research department to make forecasts. The market will take care of that. In fact monetary policy monetary policy will be completely automatic in the same way a gold standard or a fixed exchange rate policy is “automatic”.

Therefore Market Monetarists are certainly not Keynesian interventionist, but rather Free Banking Theorists that accept that central banks do exists – for now at least. If one wants to take the argument even further one could argue that NGDP level targeting is the first step toward the total privatisation of the money supply.




Fear, hope, doubt and resignation

Sunday October 9:

Sarkozy: “By the end of the month, we will have responded to the crisis issue”

Merkel: “We are determined to do everything necessary to ensure the recapitalization of our banks”

Monday October 17:

German Finance Minister Schaeuble: “Upcoming EU Summit will not present final solution for euro zone debt crisis”

Seibert (Advisor to Merkel): “Dreams that everything will be solved on euro crisis next Monday can not be met”


Nick, Chuck and the central banks

Here is Nick Rowe on central banks and Chuck Norris. If you don’t understand Chuck you don’t understand central banks.



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