The Effectiveness of Large-Scale Asset Purchases

Naked Capitalism has the article The Effectiveness of Large-Scale Asset Purchases.

I think the case is strong that these Fed announcements contain at least some information that is important as a signal about economic fundamentals rather than a pure signal about monetary policy. To the extent that is true, it suggests that the effect of the LSAP programme itself on interest rates is likely smaller than many previous estimates.

Chris Herbert made the comment:

A more important metric, I would think, is what effect QE might have had on productive investment. The rationale for QE was that it would boost investment and thus employment and real goods. A study conducted in Britain on the effects of QE there concluded that it had minimal positive impact on productive investment. My view is that QE was always intended to restore the value of the savings of the wealthy elite. It had nothing to do with boosting employment or investment in the real economy.

This finally prompted this comment from me.

One begins to wonder if John Maynard Keynes is just a figment of my imagination. What part of “No freakin’ customers” do we not understand when monetary easing does not stimulate productive investment to produce more of what there are no customers for?

I guess it took a Milton Friedman to convince us that sane capitalists would invest in more production if we just gave them more money even though there was nobody to buy what they could produce in their existing factories. Capitalists were closing factories and accumulating massive amounts of cash, but Friedman’s teachings insisted that they would reopen those factories if we just gave them more of what they already had plenty of.

And for this, Milton Friedman won a Nobel Prize in economics. If I were an economist with a Nobel Prize, I’d try to keep that a secret. Seems like a lot of Nobel Prizes have been awarded for junk economics.

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