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 lots of the monetary decline that resulted in the nice melancholy, and the way the Board's activities helped to supply the deep recession of 1937 and 1938. He additionally highlights the effect at the establishment of people similar to Benjamin powerful, governor of the Federal Reserve financial institution of latest York within the Nineteen Twenties, who performed a key position within the adoption of a extra energetic financial coverage through the Federal Reserve. Meltzer additionally examines the impression the Federal Reserve has had on foreign affairs, from makes an attempt to construct a brand new foreign economic system within the Twenties to the Bretton Woods contract of 1944 that proven the overseas financial Fund and the area financial institution, and the failure of the London financial convention of 1933.
Written via one of many world's top economists, this magisterial biography of the Federal Reserve and the folks who assisted in shaping it's going to curiosity economists, significant bankers, historians, political scientists, policymakers, and somebody looking a deep figuring out 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
A bank that could expand credit and reduce interest rates seasonally satisfied both groups. Seasonal credit expansion was not the only reason for establishing the Federal Reserve. Recessions in 1893–94, 1895–97, 1899–1900, 1902–4, 1907–8, and 1910–12 averaged nineteen months, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. In all, there were 113 months of recession from December 1895 to January 1912—55 percent of the time. Several of the recessions were severe. Financial panics, interest rates temporarily at an annual rate of 100 percent or more, financial failures, and bankruptcies were much too frequent.
Other countries had a lender of last resort to ameliorate financial crises or even prevent them. The series of crises and financial panics increased support for creation of a new institution. In the 1920s the Federal Reserve received credit for improving economic performance. It eliminated both the seasonal and the extreme changes in interest rates characteristic of financial panics. Although the economy continued to experience relatively large cyclical fluctuations and many banks failed, old-style financial panics did not return in the three recessions from 1920 through 1927.
The founders did not intend to create either a central bank or a powerful institution; had they been able to foresee the future accurately, they might not have acted. Institutions, no less than individuals, change as they mature and as the conditions that led to their creation change. In 1913 the United States was a developing country, with agriculture its largest occupation. The enormous shift in political and economic power and responsibility toward the United States that occurred in the twentieth century was at an early stage.
A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1: 1913-1951 by Allan H. Meltzer