By Milton Friedman
Ebook by way of Friedman, Milton
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Extra info for A Program For Monetary Stability
S. monetary policy clearly stands out as a major factor in this sharp rise and fall in prices and economic activity, not only in the United States but also internationally. To say this is not to criticize Page 17 the monetary authorities, given their problem. The Federal Reserve System had been established in the expectation that the gold standard would continue to be the major determinant of the stock of money. No sooner had it been established than the war produced a large-scale abandonment of the gold standard.
7 The thesis is almost self-evident for the major inflations of our history. These have all been associated with war and were quite clearly produced by the use of the printing press or its equivalent to finance governmental expenditures. This is true of the Revolutionary War inflation, which made "continental" a synonym for worthlessness, and of the sizable increases in prices during the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. In none of these wars, including the Revolution, was the use of the printing press necessarily unwise, given the alternatives available to the policy makers at the time.
There was a natural if regrettable tendency to wait too long before stepping on the brake, as it were; then to brake too hard; then, when this did not bring monetary expansion to a halt very shortly, to brake yet again. During the rest of the 1920's, both the stock of money and economic activity were relatively stable. These years produced widespread confidence, both inside and outside the System, that the new monetary arrangements were producing a high degree of stability and could continue to do so.
A Program For Monetary Stability by Milton Friedman