The Story of Monetary Policy

Article excerpt

The Story of Monetary Policy, et al. Various artists Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 1985-1996

Reviewed by Marc Chandler and Andrew Morse

Economics, with its baffling argot and thicket of "laws," truly is a dismal science. Especially tedious are discussions of how and why central bankers control monetary issues. Yet the modern political economy requires an informed citizenry capable of being smart consumers as well as diligent producers. Recognizing that need, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has developed a series of eight comic books that explain the basics of money, banking, savings, checking, trading foreign exchange and the conduct of monetary policy. The format should not be deceiving. A great deal of information is contained in the series, even though the very nature of the project requires a high degree of simplification. Nevertheless, there is more in the comic books than most probably remember from Economics 101. It truly is remarkable that the Federal Reserve, which usually is cast as a powerful but secretive institution, sponsors such a democratic project as making these arcane issues available to Main Street.

Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the books is the self-deprecating approach the various authors gleefully take in tackling their subject matter. They know most people view economics as a painfully dry subject - one many would like to relegate to musty tomes. …