Politics

Joshua Greenberg on Antebellum Paper Money

Alerted by a tweet by him, I recently listened to a December 2020 C-SPAN talk, on “Paper Money in Antebellum America,” by historian Joshua Greenberg, the author of Bank Notes and Shinplasters: The Rage for Paper Money in the Early Republic. I haven’t yet read his book. But Greenberg’s talk is worth a listen. I […]

Politics

Lawrence White on Private Gold Mints

Every hoary myth about the private market’s unfitness to supply means of exchange has roots that trace back to the hoariest monetary platitude of all, namely, the claim that governments alone, whether republican or absolutist or otherwise, are fit to coin money. That commonplace credendum dates from ancient times, and was a staple of medieval […]

Politics

Ron Paul and our Big, Fat Fed

Regular readers of Alt-M don’t need to be told that yours truly is no fan of the Fed’s gigantic credit footprint. Even before the recent crisis, he lamented both the extent to which the Fed had switched from regulating this nation’s short-term money market to being its short-term money market, and the switch to an […]

Politics

The New Deal and Recovery, Part 11: The Roosevelt Recession, Continued

“Massive jolts of New Deal spending had stopped the economic slide, [but the economy crashed again when] over two years, FDR slashed government spending 17 percent.” (From a 2011 NPR presentation.) In the last installment of this series, I discussed the hypothesis that the 1937 collapse resulted from an ill-conceived tightening of monetary policy to […]

Politics

The New Deal and Recovery, Part 10: The Roosevelt Recession

By the start of 1937, things were looking up for the U.S. economy. Although the Supreme Court had struck down both the NIRA and the AAA—the chief pillars of the original New Deal’s recovery plan—some time ago, like a glider released by its tow plane, the recovery itself kept going. Indeed, the glider analogy doesn’t […]

Politics

The New Deal and Recovery, Part 9: The AAA

Having devoted the last two posts in my New Deal series to the NRA, I may have given readers the impression that I had nothing to say about the consequences of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) passed more than a month before the National Recovery Act. As this series is about the New Deal’s contribution […]

Politics

Has Bitcoin Succeeded?

The answer depends on what you mean. Succeeded at what? With the US dollar price of Bitcoin reaching an all-time high above $23,000 this month, and its market cap reaching an all-time high above $400 billion, there has been much celebration among Bitcoin holders about their success at investing. The run-up has accompanied the announcements […]

Politics

Modeling the Legend, or, the Trouble with Diamond and Dybvig: Part II

 [This is the last half of a two-part critique of Douglas Diamond and Philip Dybvig’s highly influential paper purporting to show that fractional reserve banking systems are inherently unstable. Part I can be found here.] Sauce for the Goose… Half a century after the fact, the “aggregate uncertainty” version of the Diamond-Dybvig model appeared at […]