My major professional interest for many years has been the role of money in the economy. This fact has led me to write more on money, including international monetary arrangements (Chapter 7), than on any other topic. But it has also made it more difficult for me to write on a level that is accessible to the general reader--or at least so I infer from the many letters I have received complaining that these columns are too technical. I have tried to mend my ways, but with imperfect success. Perhaps the repetition of some of the same ideas in slightly different form will make the set of columns more accessible than each one separately.
The reader who is not an expert in the field of money may find it helpful to start with the column, "The Case for a Monetary Rule" ( February 7, 1972) since that states the basic viewpoint that underlies the discussion of specific episodes in the separate columns.
There is no other area in economics in which professional and lay opinions have changed so greatly in recent years. As of the end of World War Two, the revolution in economic thought produced by John Maynard Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money led most of the economic profession to dismiss the quantity theory of money--which had held undisputed sway until the 1930s--as an out- moded superstition having about as much relation to "correct" economics as astrology has to astronomy. The Keynesian revolution replaced the emphasis on money with emphasis on investment and government spending. Fiscal policy was the road to high and stable employment.
Experience and scholarly work have produced drastic changes in these views in the past quarter century. The enormous confidence placed in fiscal policy as a precision instrument for controlling the economy was