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Op-ed: Global monetary turmoil is hurting economic growth

February 25, 2016
in Blog

For the first time in recent memory, politicians and candidates alike are talking about the importance of rules-based monetary reform and the public is shifting its attention (and ire) from the bankers on Wall Street to the central bankers at the Federal Reserve. But is monetary reform– even coupled with fiscal and regulatory reform– the cure for our ailing economy? In a piece published today in The Hill, Judy Shelton argues that while it is certainly a good start, it is likely not enough.

As Dr. Shelton notes:

Stable money is the critical missing element that needs to figure prominently in any viable GOP plan for economic growth. Amid the day-to-day drama of central bank maneuvering to stimulate economic growth through large-scale asset purchases and negative interest rates, we have lost sight of the fundamental difference between global monetary arrangements today versus in the past… Is it merely coincidental that the higher rates of economic growth and lower incidences of financial instability attained in the post-World War II years are closely aligned with the time period during which the Bretton Woods fixed exchange-rate system operated?

Dr. Shelton supports her conclusion by examining papers from the Council of Economic Advisers and the Bank of England that use historical data to show that both the gold standard and the Bretton Woods agreement were preferable to today’s global monetary arrangement, which according to the Bank of England has “coexisted, on average, with: slower, more volatile, global growth; more frequent economic downturns; higher inflation and inflation volatility; larger current account imbalances; and more frequent banking crises, currency crises and external defaults.”

This year, as GOP candidates move to establish a sound monetary policy position (as many of them have), they would do well to think on the importance of international coordination because “as the disruptive effects of global monetary disorder continue to take their toll on economic growth, we need to focus on how best to establish a stable monetary foundation for the real producers of the world — and quit accommodating the currency speculators.”

To read Dr. Shelton’s piece in its entirety, click here.