Central Banking, Monetary Theory and Practice

Central Banking, Monetary Theory and Practice

Essays in Honour of Charles Goodhart, Volume One

Edited by Paul Mizen

Celebrating the contribution that Charles Goodhart has made to monetary economics and policy, this unique compendium of original papers draws together a highly respected group of international academics, central bankers and financial market regulators covering a broad range of issues in modern monetary economics. Topics discussed include: central bank independence; credibility and transparency; the inflation forecast and the loss function; monetary policy experiences in the US and the UK; the implications of Goodhart’s Law; the benefits of single versus multiple currencies; and money, near monies and credit.

Chapter 1: No money, no inflation- the role of money in the economy

Mervyn King

Subjects: economics and finance, money and banking


1. No money, no inflation – the role of money in the economy Mervyn King1 1. INTRODUCTION Most people think economics is the study of money. But there is a paradox in the role of money in economic policy. It is this: that as price stability has become recognised as the central objective of central banks, the attention actually paid by central banks to money has declined. It is no accident that during the ‘Great Inflation’ of the post-war period money, as a causal factor for inflation, was ignored by much of the economic establishment. In the late 1970s, the counter-revolution in economics – the idea that in the long run money affected the price level and not the level of output – returned money to centre stage in economic policy. As Milton Friedman put it, ‘inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon’. If inflation was a monetary phenomenon, then controlling the supply of money was the route to low inflation. Monetary aggregates became central to the conduct of monetary policy. But the passage to low inflation proved painful. Nor did the monetary aggregates respond kindly to the attempts by central banks to control them. As the governor of the Bank of Canada at the time, Gerald Bouey, remarked, ‘we didn’t abandon the monetary aggregates, they abandoned us’. So, as central banks became more and more focused on achieving price stability, less and less attention was paid to movements in money. Indeed, the decline of...

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