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While Basil Moore is well known for his view on endogenous money, very little is known about how he got there, and how his views might have evolved through time. This paper examines Moore's early views, pre-Horizontalists and Verticalists, and explains how Moore's views are rooted in a traditional Keynesian Tobin approach. But Moore's sabbatical at the University of Cambridge in 1970, when he met Paul Davidson and Joan Robinson, changed all that. Yet it would take him a full decade to fully embrace endogenous money.
The paper opens with a consideration of the historical developments on the nature and features of money and endogenous money, and the post-Keynesian revival of ideas of endogenous money. Particular attention is drawn to the work of Basil Moore in relation to endogenous money, including the location of that analysis with commercial banks (some of whose liabilities are transferable and widely accepted as a means of payment) and the post-Keynesian-inspired revival of endogenous money. There is a brief outline of the aspects of financialization since the late 1970s which have relevance for the analysis of banks and money. Some thoughts are offered on the impact which those changes of the financial system have for the analysis of banks and of money.
Following its revival in the 1980s, the idea of endogenous money became increasingly widely accepted. Indeed the 2008 global financial crisis was widely blamed on the untrammelled power of banks to create credit. As a result, among the ideas for reforming the monetary system are proposals designed to eliminate that power, that is, to make the money supply exogenous. The purpose of this paper is to go back to the theory of endogenous money in order to assess these proposals, in terms of what is desirable, but also crucially what is feasible. Central to this discussion is a consideration of the range of meanings given to money and endogeneity. It is argued that what is regarded as money under different conditions is an important element in money endogeneity, and is particularly relevant for the monetary reform debate.
This paper suggests that the near-optimal setting of the real policy rate of interest (the real overnight rate in Basil Moore's home country of Canada) is zero. This will achieve as close an approximation as possible to a fair distribution of income in a particular sense. It will also promote financial stability, inflation stability, high growth, full employment and higher real wages.
For Basil Moore and post-Keynesians who have followed him in developing the theory of endogenous money, accommodative central-bank behavior is a logical necessity in credit-money economies. Such central banks have no choice but to accommodate the banking system's demand for liquidity. Accommodative central banking evolved through a historical process, as this paper shows for the specific case of the US economy. The road to accommodative central banking was a long one in the US, marked by failed experiments with alternative institutional regimes: the Second Bank of the US of the early national period, the urban clearing-houses of the late nineteenth century, and the early Federal Reserve.
Giuseppe Fontana, Riccardo Realfonzo and Marco Veronese Passarella
The 2010s have witnessed a new shift in central banking and, partially at least, in monetary economics and macroeconomic modelling. It is a fact that the endogenous money theory has been gradually clawing back popularity at the expense of the classical theory of interest rates, the financial intermediation view of banks, the money-multiplier story and the quantity theory of money. However, the loanable funds theory and the view of banks as pure financial intermediaries (sometimes coupled with the money-multiplier story) are still sometimes invoked. In addition, the dynamic process of creation, circulation and destruction of money is usually neglected. The point is that money endogeneity is still regarded by many mainstream economists as a mere empirical fact, not a key feature of capitalist market-based economies to be properly explained by a logically consistent theory. By contrast, dissenting economists have further advanced the endogenous money view through: (a) a generalised theory of the endogenous process of money creation; (b) the increasing popularity of modern monetary theory in the public debate; and (c) the development of aggregative stock–flow consistent models and agent-based stock–flow consistent models as an alternative to dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models.