Thursday, August 28, 2014

Glasner on Friedman's Real and Pseudo Gold Standard

David Glasner has posted a deep analysis of Friedman's 1961 Mont Pelerin Society presentation of "Real and Pseudo Gold Standards." This is a favorite paper of mine, and finds value in it as well. His presentation also points out some confusion between which gold standards were real and which were pseudo. The more I study the gold standard, the more I believe that both the classical and gold-exchange standards were pseudo standards. The international gold standard, as we know it, was an exchange rate standard. Needless to say, I found this post especially enjoyable. Here's a preview of his post.
So what were Friedman’s examples of a pseudo gold standard? He offered five. First, US monetary policy after World War I, in particular the rapid inflation of 1919 and the depression of 1920-21. Second, US monetary policy in the 1920s and the British return to gold. Third, US monetary policy in the 1931-33 period. Fourth the U.S. nationalization of gold in 1934. And fifth, the International Monetary Fund and post-World War II exchange-rate policy.
Just to digress for a moment, I will admit that when I first read this paper as an undergraduate I was deeply impressed by his introductory statement, but found much of the rest of the paper incomprehensible. Still awestruck by Friedman, who, I then believed, was the greatest economist alive, I attributed my inability to follow what he was saying to my own intellectual shortcomings. So I have to admit to taking a bit of satisfaction in now being able to demonstrate that Friedman literally did not know what he was talking about.
I highly encourage anyone who is at all interested to read the entire post.

No comments:

Post a Comment