A Program For Monetary Stability by Milton Friedman

By Milton Friedman

Ebook via Friedman, Milton

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This world-wide movement would almost certainly have meant a sizable contraction in the United States in any event. 9 The effects of the operations by the Bank in producing monetary uncertainty were intensified by the successive financial measures adopted by the government after the lapsing of the bank charterthe Deposit Act calling for Page 11 the distribution of the surplus, the Specie Circular, and the establishment of an Independent Treasury in 1840 and its repeal the next year. The Contraction of 1873-79 The Civil War greenback inflation involved the suspension of convertibility of greenbacks into gold early in 1862.

The failure of government to provide a stable monetary framework has thus been a major if not the major factor accounting for our really severe inflations and depressions. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the record is the adaptability and flexibility that the private economy has so frequently shown under such extreme provocation. A brief sketch of some highlights of our monetary experience may illustrate this thesis; it cannot of course prove it. 7 The thesis is almost self-evident for the major inflations of our history.

The Bank contracted sharply prior to the termination of its federal charter. After the lapsing of the federal charter, Biddle continued the bank under a Pennsylvania charter and there was a rebound which preceded the 1837 panic. Not long thereafter he embarked on his project of supporting the world price of cotton to bolster the American economy. 8 This venture fostered a sizable increase in the stock of money, accompanied by the brief expansion of 1838 to 1839, at a time when world-wide deflation called for a decrease in a country on a metallic standard.

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