Currency Crises, Monetary Union and the Conduct of Monetary Policy: A Debate among Leading Economists

By Paul J. Zak | Go to book overview

5. The Outlook for Economic Growth in the Developed World

Introduced by Milton Friedman

Corden: We are now entering a new area of discussion: Aspects of the real economy, rather than monetary policy, that cause growth. I've asked Milton Friedman to open this part of the session.

Friedman: You can see what kind of a veil money is. What have we been talking about for the past day and a half? A veil. It shouldn't make any difference. The issue in question is the real side of the economy, and most of that has already been covered by what Paul and Jim said yesterday. They noted what is clearly the case. In the past 30 years, there have been two major developments that have had the potential for enormous influence. One has been the technological revolution: the development of computers, communications, telecommunications and the like. The other has been the political revolution: the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the iron curtain separating the communist countries from all others. The technological improvement is comparable to what happened in the eighteenth century that initiated the industrial revolution. You had a major series of technological changes that drastically changed the productive potential of the world. The political revolution has enormously expanded the number of workers that are available to operate the capital in higher income countries. These two developments offer the promise of a major expansion in real output throughout the world.

Those were the comments I think both Jim and Paul were making yesterday. I certainly agree with that. If you look at the situation in the United States, it can be described very simply.

-52-

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