Top Economists Slam the Fed
I noted last year that Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz strongly dislikes the Fed:
Joseph Stiglitz – former head economist at the World Bank and a nobel-prize winner – said yesterday that the very structure of the Federal Reserve system is so fraught with conflicts that it is “corrupt” and undermines democracy.
If we [i.e. the World Bank] had seen a governance structure that corresponds to our Federal Reserve system, we would have been yelling and screaming and saying that country does not deserve any assistance, this is a corrupt governing structure.
Stiglitz pointed out that – if another country had presented a plan to reform its financial system, and included a regulatory regime that copied the makeup of the Federal Reserve system – “it would have been a big signal that something is wrong.”
Stiglitz stressed that the Fed banks have clear conflicts of interest, since the banks are largely governed by a board of directors that includes officers of the very banks they’re supposed to be overseeing:
So, these are the guys who appointed the guy who bailed them out … Is that a conflict of interest?
They would say, ‘no conflict of interest, we were just doing our job. But you have to look at the conflicts of interest”…
The reason you talk about governance is because in a democracy you want people to have confidence … This is a structure that will undermine confidence in a democracy.
(Stiglitz supports the Wall Street protests).
Former Fed officials agree. For example, the former Vice President of Dallas Federal Reserve said that the failure of the government to provide more information about the bailout signals corruption. As ABC writes:
Gerald O’Driscoll, a former vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said he worried that the failure of the government to provide more information about its rescue spending could signal corruption.
“Nontransparency in government programs is always associated with corruption in other countries, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Top Economists: End the Fed
Yesterday, the New York Sun reported that another Nobel economist may have implied that the Fed should be abolished:
Thomas Sargent, the New York University professor who was announced Monday as a winner of the Nobel in economics … cites Walter Bagehot, who “said that what he called a ‘natural’ competitive banking system without a ‘central’ bank would be better…. ‘nothing can be more surely established by a larger experience than that a Government which interferes with any trade injures that trade. The best thing undeniably that a Government can do with the Money Market is to let it take care of itself.’”