Cite JOURNAL ARTICLE
Hat der Monetarismus versagt?
Credit and Capital Markets – Kredit und Kapital, Vol. 17 (1984), Iss. 1 : pp. 18–63
Has Monetarism Failed?
The experience of the past four years stimulated once again the debate over macrotheory. The debate involved both the media and the academic establishment. It centered around the question whether “monetarism had failed”. The paper addresses this specific issue. In order to assess the problem the major constituent strands of monetarist analysis are summarized. They bear on the nature of the transmission mechanism, the internal stability of the system, the impulse problem, the money supply process and monetary policy, and, lastly, they also bear on crucial aspects of political economy. These five fields cover the central propositions of monetarist analysis to be confronted with the critique. The first level of critique originated in the public arena and the media market. The nature of the failure asserted in this context seems not very clearly related in any way with the crucial propositions advanced. Three topics dominated the discussion and are examined here: the recession of 1981/82, the high level and volatility of interest rates and the definability or controllability of money. The second level of critique emerged in the academic establishment and was mostly advanced by James Tobin. The paper addresses first the narrow focus on “monetarism” poorly related to the range of propositions actually advanced by monetarist analysis. It compares Tobin’s assertions with the propositions constituting the characteristic core of monetarist analysis. An old prediction made by Harry Johnson more than ten years ago is also discussed. The paper concludes that Johnson’s prediction: of the ultimate political failure of monetarism was probably correct but for entirely different reasons than developed by Johnson