Monday, September 29, 2008

Bernanke: Federal Reserve caused Great Depression- won't do it again


I have done research into the Federal Reserve, and most Americans are in the dark about how it was founded and what kind of "quasi- government" institution it is. Maybe another time, it's too complicated to explain in a few words.

Despite the varied theories espoused by many establishment economists, it was none other than the Federal Reserve that caused the Great Depression and the horrific suffering, deprivation and dislocation America and the world experienced in its wake. At least, that's the clearly stated view of current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The worldwide economic downturn called the Great Depression, which persisted from 1929 until about 1939, was the longest and worst depression ever experienced by the industrialized Western world. While originating in the U.S., it ended up causing drastic declines in output, severe unemployment, and acute deflation in virtually every country on earth. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "the Great Depression ranks second only to the Civil War as the gravest crisis in American history."

What exactly caused this economic tsunami that devastated the U.S. and much of the world?

In "A Monetary History of the United States," Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman along with coauthor Anna J. Schwartz lay the mega-catastrophe of the Great Depression squarely at the feet of the Federal Reserve.

Here's how Friedman summed up his views on the Fed and the Depression in an Oct. 1, 2000, interview with PBS:

PBS: You've written that what really caused the Depression was mistakes by the government. Looking back now, what in your view was the actual cause?

Friedman: Well, we have to distinguish between the recession of 1929, the early stages, and the conversion of that recession into a major catastrophe.

The recession was an ordinary business cycle. We had repeated recessions over hundreds of years, but what converted [this one] into a major depression was bad monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve System had been established to prevent what actually happened. It was set up to avoid a situation in which you would have to close down banks, in which you would have a banking crisis. And yet, under the Federal Reserve System, you had the worst banking crisis in the history of the United States. There's no other example I can think of, of a government measure which produced so clearly the opposite of the results that were intended.

Source: world net daily 3/19/2008

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