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J. Bradford DeLong

Three Questions from Nick Rowe (and Answers): Sunday Morning Monetary Theology J. Bradford DeLong U.C. Berkeley December 12, 2010

Nick Rowe asks me three questions in his Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: If cows were money (a response to Brad DeLong): Nick: If cows were money, an increased demand for milk would cause a recession. People would stop spending their cows to buy goods and services, because if you spend your cows you don't have as much milk. Was the recession caused by an excess demand for milk, or an excess demand for money? Me: If the Federal Cow Reserve conducted expansionary monetary policy by selling cows in exchange for promises to deliver milk, then its open market operations in cows would have no stimulative effect on the economy: the cows it sold would not enter the circulating medium but would instead be kept in reserve to replace the milk that the Federal Reserve had bought. Since open-market operations that boost the money stock are ineffective, it is clear that the recession was not caused by an excess demand for money but by an excess demand for milk.

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J. Bradford DeLong

Nick: If gold bars were money, an increased demand for bling would cause a recession. People would stop spending their gold bars to buy goods and services, because if you spend your gold bars you don't have as much bling. Was the recession caused by an excess demand for bling, or an excess demand for money? Me: If the Federal Jewelry Reserve conducted expansionary monetary policy by selling gold in exchange for other forms of bling, then its open market operations in gold would have no stimulative effect on the economy: the gold it sold would not enter the circulating medium but would instead be used as bling replace the bling that the Federal Reserve had bought. Since open-market operations that boost the money stock are ineffective, it is clear that the recession was not caused by an excess demand for money but by an excess demand for bling. Nick: If dollars were money, an increased demand for savings would cause a recession. People would stop spending their dollars to buy goods and services, because if you spend your dollars you don't have as much savings. Was the recession caused by an excess demand for savings, or an excess demand for money? Me: If the Federal Reserve conducted expansionary monetary policy by selling dollars in exchange for other savings vehicles like bonds, then its open market operations in dollars and bonds would have no stimulative effect on the economy: the dollars it sold would not enter the circulating medium but would instead be used as savings vehicles to replace the bonds that the Federal Reserve had bought. Since open-market operations that boost the money stock are ineffective, it is clear that the recession was not caused by an excess demand for money but by an excess demand for savings vehicles. Now that that is clear, let me say that Nick's post is very good. December 12, 2010: 508 words

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20101212 monetary theology  

U.C. Berkeley Nick: If cows were money, an increased demand for milk would cause a recession. People would stop spending their cows to buy g...