Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Artificial interest rate adjustments do not make sense.

Musgrave, Ralph S. (2018): Artificial interest rate adjustments do not make sense.

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There is a glaring flaw in using artificial interest rate adjustments to regulate demand: the GDP maximising rate of interest is presumably the free market rate, thus in order to maximise GDP, artificial interference with interest rates should be minimised. That in turn means demand is best regulated by fiscal means.

As to “fiscal” in the sense “government borrows money and spends it”, that is defective because the fact of borrowing has a deflationary effect: the opposite of the intended stimulatory effect. Thus the best form of stimulus is one of the forms suggested by Keynes in the early 1930s, namely to have the state print money and spend it, and/or cut taxes.

Under the latter system, treasuries or politicians could be given access to the printing press, i.e. be given control of how large a dose of stimulus the economy gets each year. Alternatively it is not difficult to delegate that “amount of stimulus” decision to a committee of economists, while politicians retain the right to take strictly political decisions, like what proportion of GDP is allocated to public spending.

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