Monetary Policies and Full Employment

By William Fellner | Go to book overview

Introduction
AS THE TITLE INDICATES, this volume is mainly concerned with the bearing of monetary policies on the problem of full employment. The earlier chapters of the volume lead up to a discussion of this problem.It may be useful to express some of the propositions contained in the book in brief form before they are presented more fully and with the appropriate qualifications. The propositions listed here are not ordered consistently so as to represent the main themes of the successive chapters. However, most of what is contained in the volume is directly or indirectly related to the few simple statements which follow.
1. The equilibrium approach is justified because it is fruitful to contrast reality with hypothetical equilibrium positions, which usually have normative implications. Equilibrium positions, however, are not "observable" in factual material. Secular trend lines do not show the equilibrium path along which the economy would be moving in the absence of cyclical disturbances. A reduction in cyclical fluctuations would greatly affect the secular trend.
2. The analytical framework of the Keynesian theory, divorced from its equilibrium implications, serves as a convenient point of departure for a discussion of the savings-investment mechanism. As for the Keynes-Hansen hypotheses concerning the factors producing stagnant trends in "mature" economies, and particularly in the United States during the 1930's, these cannot be proved or disproved by statistical methods. However, the plausibility of some of these hypotheses does not seem to be great, if they are viewed in the light of the available material. Plausibility, of course, is a vague term and consequently there is room for legitimate differences of opinion in this respect.
3. Significant changes in the composition of output tend to develop into general growth of the economy as a whole. The shift

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