Re: The Fed

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Date: Mon Jan 17 2000 - 14:04:22 PST

In a message dated Mon, 17 Jan 2000 2:58:45 PM Eastern Standard Time, Mark Baker <mark.baker@Canada.Sun.COM> writes:

> Any recommendations for a less biased opinion of the need for
> central banking?

I haven't read "The Creature from Jekyll Island", so I don't have much to add your impression of that book. As far as other books about central banks, I thought "Wall Street: A History" by James Geistt was very informative, although a bit dry. It's not just about the history of the NYSE, but a financial history of the US, including topics such as paper money, banking regulations, speculation, the role of foreign capital in the development of the US, the first sales of bonds by the US gov't (and the Fed's role in bond auctions), and various high-profile financiers.

The modern Fed is actually the third manifestation of a central bank in the US. The first two were well relatively short-lived and unsuccessful attempts in the early and mid 19th century. Although "Wall Street: A History" isn't just about the Fed, it helps you understand the modern Fed's distinct roles as money printer, bond salesman, and lender of last resort by seeing how the need for somebody to fill these roles developed over the past two centuries.

Note from the title of the book that it is just a history, and the author doesn't go into too much detail about economic or financial theories.

I have some opinions of today's Fed (bubblemeisters!) too, but I'll leave that topic alone for now.


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