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 files (many made public basically in the course of 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 many of the fiscal decline that resulted in the nice 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 equivalent to Benjamin powerful, governor of the Federal Reserve financial institution of latest York within the Nineteen Twenties, who performed a key function within the adoption of a extra lively financial coverage through the Federal Reserve. Meltzer additionally examines the effect the Federal Reserve has had on overseas affairs, from makes an attempt to construct a brand new overseas economy within the Nineteen Twenties to the Bretton Woods contract of 1944 that demonstrated the overseas financial Fund and the realm financial institution, and the failure of the London financial convention of 1933.
Written by means of one of many world's best economists, this magisterial biography of the Federal Reserve and the folks who contributed to shaping it's going to curiosity economists, vital bankers, historians, political scientists, policymakers, and a person looking a deep knowing of the establishment that controls America's handbag strings.
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Extra resources for A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1: 1913-1951
Portfolio decisions remained with the directors of the individual reserve banks, but the New York reserve bank, aided by a System committee, guided and implemented System decisions to purchase and sell. The Federal Reserve Board had supervisory responsibility only. The new procedures radically changed the System’s original structure. The reserve banks sacrificed part of their autonomy to the System committee. Control of operations shifted toward the New York bank. Members of the Board resented New York’s increased authority, but they were powerless to combat it.
The rising gold stock was the dominant force increasing money and credit, keeping nominal interest rates low, and promoting economic expansion with modest inflation. Rising income, rising stock prices, low inflation, and concerns about a European war sustained the gold inflow until 1941. Potential inflation, driven by gold inflows, was the Federal Reserve’s main concern in the 1930s. Gold certificates representing the monetary gold stock became the largest asset on the System’s balance sheet. Bank reserves rose rapidly; banks held large stocks of excess reserves.
The standard did not work in the smooth, orderly way that its proponents imagined, but it provided an internationally acceptable means of payment and store of value (Bordo and Schwartz 1984). Debts were settled and payments made without conflict. The movement of gold balances and their effect on domestic prices gave the standard the automaticity for which it is famous. The gold standard required countries to use monetary policy to keep exchange rates fixed and thus to allow prices, output, and employment to vary as required by the movements of gold and the country’s exchange rate.
A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1: 1913-1951 by Allan H. Meltzer