Bernanke Hangs Loose

Popular Articles, Resources — By on December 26, 2012 at 5:51 PM

by Frank Shostak

On Wednesday December 12, 2012 Fed policy makers announced that they will boost their main stimulus tool by adding $45 billion of monthly Treasury purchases to an existing program to buy $40 billion of mortgage debt a month.

This decision is likely to boost the Fed’s balance sheet from the present $2.86 trillion to $4 trillion by the end of next year. Policy makers also announced that an almost zero interest rate policy will stay intact as long as the unemployment rate is above 6.5% and the rate of inflation doesn’t exceed the 2.5% figure.

Most commentators are of the view that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues are absolutely committed to averting the mistakes of the Japanese in 1990’s and the US central bank during the Great Depression. On this Bernanke said that,

A return to broad based prosperity will require sustained improvement in the job market, which in turn requires stronger economic growth.

Furthermore he added that,

The Fed plans to maintain accommodation as long as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery in the context of price of stability.

But why should another expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet i.e. more money pumping, revive the economy? What is the logic behind this way of thinking?

Bernanke is of the view that monetary pumping, whilst price inflation remains subdued, is going to strengthen purchasing power in the hands of individuals.

Consequently, this will give a boost to consumer spending and via the famous Keynesian multiplier the rest of the economy will follow suit.

Bernanke, however, confuses here the means of exchange i.e. money, with the means of payments which are goods and services.

In a market economy every individual exchanges what he has produced for money (the medium of exchange) and then exchanges money for other goods. This means that he funds the purchase of other goods by means of goods he has produced.

Paraphrasing Jean Baptiste Say Mises argued that,

Commodities, says Say, are ultimately paid for not by money, but by other commodities. Money is merely the commonly used medium of exchange; it plays only an intermediary role. What the seller wants ultimately to receive in exchange for the commodities sold is other commodities. [1]

Printing more money is not going to bring prosperity i.e. more goods and services. Money as such produces nothing, …

Continue reading at mises.org…

image

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.