Academic journal article The Cato Journal

Editor's Note

Academic journal article The Cato Journal

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

The articles in this issue of the Cato Journal addressing Asset Bubbles and Monetary Policy were first presented at the Cato Institute's 2Sth Annual Monetary Conference, November 18, 2010. I thank the authors for their cooperation in bringing this issue to fruition.

The 2008 financial crisis has put the spotlight on problems with a pure flat money regime and a U.S. central bank whose vast discretionary power is distorting interest rates and misallocating credit. The lack of any type of monetary rule to reduce uncertainty and anchor the future value of the dollar, together with massive U.S. debt and interventions in the housing market, pose serious challenges to growth and prosperity, as well as to economic freedom.

Informational problems make it difficult for any central bank to target asset prices or even to identify them early on, but the so-called knowledge problem also means that central bankers cannot know the optimal quantity of money, which is best left to emergent market processes such as the classical gold standard under which the quantity of money spontaneously adjusts to the demand for money. The end of any link to gold after President Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, plus the absence of any monetary rule, means the dollar is afloat in a sea of uncertainty.

Misguided monetary policy, regulatory policy, and housing/credit policy deserve careful scrutiny. The articles in this volume do so by focusing on several questions:

* Can/should the Fed prevent asset bubbles? …

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