Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dallas Fed: "Ultra Easy Monetary Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences*"

From the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas:
* William R. White is currently the chairman of the Economic Development and Review Committee at the OECD in Paris. He was previously Economic Advisor and Head of the Monetary and Economic Department at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. +41 (0) 79 834 90 66. This is a slightly revised version of the paper circulated in August 2012. The views in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of organizations with which the author has been or still is associated, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas or the Federal Reserve System.

In this paper, an attempt is made to evaluate the desirability of ultra easy monetary policy by weighing up the balance of the desirable short run effects and the undesirable longer run effects – the unintended consequences. The conclusion is that there are limits to what central banks can do. One reason for believing this is that monetary stimulus, operating through traditional (“flow”) channels, might now be less effective in stimulating aggregate demand than previously. Further, cumulative (“stock”) effects provide negative feedback mechanisms that over time also weaken both supply and demand. It is also the case that ultra easy monetary policies can eventually threaten the health of financial institutions and the functioning of financial markets, threaten the “independence” of central banks, and can encourage imprudent behavior on the part of governments. None of these unintended consequences is desirable. Since monetary policy is not “a free lunch”, governments must therefore use much more vigorously the policy levers they still control to support strong, sustainable and balanced growth at the global level.
...MUCH MORE (45page PDF)

White leads off with quotes from both Keynes and from Mises.

He was the BIS economist  who sounded the alarm on financial stupidity: 
Global Banking Economist Warned of Coming Crisis
See also:
Why You Really, Really Want to Listen to the Bank for International Settlements