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A History of the Federal Reserve, Volume 2, Book 2, 1970-1986

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Allan H. Meltzer’s critically acclaimed history of the Federal Reserve is the most ambitious, most intensive, and most revealing investigation of the subject ever conducted. Its first volume, published to widespread critical acclaim in 2003, spanned the period from the institution’s founding in 1913 to the restoration of its independence in 1951. This two-part second volum Allan H. Meltzer’s critically acclaimed history of the Federal Reserve is the most ambitious, most intensive, and most revealing investigation of the subject ever conducted. Its first volume, published to widespread critical acclaim in 2003, spanned the period from the institution’s founding in 1913 to the restoration of its independence in 1951. This two-part second volume of the history chronicles the evolution and development of this institution from the Treasury–Federal Reserve accord in 1951 to the mid-1980s, when the great inflation ended. It reveals the inner workings of the Fed during a period of rapid and extensive change. An epilogue discusses the role of the Fed in resolving our current economic crisis and the needed reforms of the financial system. In rich detail, drawing on the Federal Reserve’s own documents, Meltzer traces the relation between its decisions and economic and monetary theory, its experience as an institution independent of politics, and its role in tempering inflation. He explains, for example, how the Federal Reserve’s independence was often compromised by the active policy-making roles of Congress, the Treasury Department, different presidents, and even White House staff, who often pressured the bank to take a short-term view of its responsibilities. With an eye on the present, Meltzer also offers solutions for improving the Federal Reserve, arguing that as a regulator of financial firms and lender of last resort, it should focus more attention on incentives for reform, medium-term consequences, and rule-like behavior for mitigating financial crises. Less attention should be paid, he contends, to command and control of the markets and the noise of quarterly data. At a time when the United States finds itself in an unprecedented financial crisis, Meltzer’s fascinating history will be the source of record for scholars and policy makers navigating an uncertain economic future.


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Allan H. Meltzer’s critically acclaimed history of the Federal Reserve is the most ambitious, most intensive, and most revealing investigation of the subject ever conducted. Its first volume, published to widespread critical acclaim in 2003, spanned the period from the institution’s founding in 1913 to the restoration of its independence in 1951. This two-part second volum Allan H. Meltzer’s critically acclaimed history of the Federal Reserve is the most ambitious, most intensive, and most revealing investigation of the subject ever conducted. Its first volume, published to widespread critical acclaim in 2003, spanned the period from the institution’s founding in 1913 to the restoration of its independence in 1951. This two-part second volume of the history chronicles the evolution and development of this institution from the Treasury–Federal Reserve accord in 1951 to the mid-1980s, when the great inflation ended. It reveals the inner workings of the Fed during a period of rapid and extensive change. An epilogue discusses the role of the Fed in resolving our current economic crisis and the needed reforms of the financial system. In rich detail, drawing on the Federal Reserve’s own documents, Meltzer traces the relation between its decisions and economic and monetary theory, its experience as an institution independent of politics, and its role in tempering inflation. He explains, for example, how the Federal Reserve’s independence was often compromised by the active policy-making roles of Congress, the Treasury Department, different presidents, and even White House staff, who often pressured the bank to take a short-term view of its responsibilities. With an eye on the present, Meltzer also offers solutions for improving the Federal Reserve, arguing that as a regulator of financial firms and lender of last resort, it should focus more attention on incentives for reform, medium-term consequences, and rule-like behavior for mitigating financial crises. Less attention should be paid, he contends, to command and control of the markets and the noise of quarterly data. At a time when the United States finds itself in an unprecedented financial crisis, Meltzer’s fascinating history will be the source of record for scholars and policy makers navigating an uncertain economic future.

42 review for A History of the Federal Reserve, Volume 2, Book 2, 1970-1986

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    The end of an era! I'm finally finished with Meltzer's (very long, 3-book) history of the Fed. (He has said he is not going to keep writing past 1986.) This was an interesting book because it covered the inflation of the 1970s and the Volcker disinflation of the early 1980s. Most of all, I would say that reading this book made me interested to read something more about Volcker. The FOMC tried some very new tactics to defeat inflation in the 1980s, which I knew before; what I didn't know until re The end of an era! I'm finally finished with Meltzer's (very long, 3-book) history of the Fed. (He has said he is not going to keep writing past 1986.) This was an interesting book because it covered the inflation of the 1970s and the Volcker disinflation of the early 1980s. Most of all, I would say that reading this book made me interested to read something more about Volcker. The FOMC tried some very new tactics to defeat inflation in the 1980s, which I knew before; what I didn't know until reading this was how uncertain everyone, including Volcker, was that they would have any effect. For a significant time after the new policies began, indeed, it appeared that they were not working at all, and ultimately it took several years for the full disinflation to take effect as the public's inflation expectations had become heavily anchored at a high level. I am very curious as to Volcker's mindset through this period, and what it was that got him to persevere even in the face of uncertainty and fairly strong evidence that his policy was having no effect. Meltzer, who has a fairly conservative perspective, ends the book with a fair amount of criticism of the Bernanke Fed and its actions in response to the crisis. Time will tell whether his warnings of inflation will be brought to fruition, but as Krugman keeps saying, the inflationistas have been wrong for about 5 years now.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hana

    A review from the Federal Reserve's Edward Nelson: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/fe... A review from the Federal Reserve's Edward Nelson: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/fe...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul Graham

  4. 5 out of 5

    Billy McCoy

    well documented and thoroughly researched.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  6. 4 out of 5

    P

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  8. 4 out of 5

    James P. Daze

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cyber

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cristiano

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fre

  13. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  14. 5 out of 5

    Esmaeilk

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alan A. Reynolds

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Regina Verdeschi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rkq

  20. 4 out of 5

    Priscilla

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian Leach

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mirza Sultan-Galiev

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susie Anderson-Bauer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Haven

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Cannon

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Corcoran

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gonnamakeit

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bakunin

  31. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

  32. 4 out of 5

    Dana

  33. 5 out of 5

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  34. 4 out of 5

    Jane Davis

  35. 4 out of 5

    Moose

  36. 5 out of 5

    Ed

  37. 4 out of 5

    marciverse

  38. 5 out of 5

    Dries Glorieux

  39. 5 out of 5

    Sankarshan

  40. 4 out of 5

    jeremy lao

  41. 5 out of 5

    Vladivostok

  42. 5 out of 5

    Michael

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