Monetary Restriction

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Monetary Restriction

We live in the real world.

Monetary restriction doesn't stop the people who have escaped the discipline of the market and got control of their prices and incomes from shoving up those prices and incomes.

They are stopped only when there is a lot of unemployment.

Meanwhile it does work, in a rather punishing way, for those who are still subject to the market.

If there were a perfect and possible design wholly to his specifications that worked and was reasonably painless, it would, of course, have been used before now.

Every government would have seized upon it to the exclusion of all other policies.

Politicians, however retarded, are not so stupid as to reject as convenient and simple a formula as Professor Friedman proposes.

But there has been plenty of practical proof both of the unworkability and of the pain.

Professor Friedman and his disciples were influential in the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford.

Mr William Simon, Mr Ford's Secretary of the Treasury, and Mr Alan Greenspan, Chairman of Mr Ford's Council of Economic Advisers, along with Chairman Arthur Burns of the Federal Reserve, joined in making substantial use of monetary policy to slow (though not to stop) the great inflation of 1974-5.

The result was a sharp cutback in production and a sharp increase in unemployment - a serious recession.

There was particular distress in the housing industry; it had its worst slump since the Great Depression.

Small business also had a hard time.

All, in fact, was in accordance with Mr Simon and Mr Greenspan, as well as for Professor Friedman, the pain was not so great.

For those who lost their jobs, it was not so agreeable, and that, of course, included Mr Ford.

He was the first President since Herbert Hoover to be denied re-election.

It was the economic policy that defeated him.

Mr Ford is a decent and generous man; still, one wonders if he enjoyed being sacrificed for the economic faith of his advisers.

He was much criticized because, just for a very few days, he went down to advise the government of Chile, the Chilean dictatorship.

On this we defend him.

There is no doubt, we think, about Professor Friedman's personal commitment to civil liberties.

And, as one who would like to see the Chilean dictatorship come to an end, we can think of no better way than to have it follow Professor Friedman's advice.

One must have a comprehensive view of these matters.

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Economists Prefer Monetary Policy

There has always been a certain fascination among economists with the mechanics of central-bank policy.

lea our profession's special form of magic.

This has led some to overlook its highly discriminatory effect.

But, in general and quite rightly, it is the favoured measure of very conservative people.

Such as Milton Friedman.

Professor Friedman is a very attractive and persuasive man, but he is an avowed conservative, and it is not the function of a conservative to worry about policies that favour big business over small business.

Or about unemployment.

He does... see: Economists Prefer Monetary Policy

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