A herança de Friedman

Uma excelente discussão da genealogia das ideias económicas no Equitable Growth: o clash de keynesianos nos anos 60, a absorção dos monetaristas pelos keynesianos e o destino das ideias de um dos maiores economistas do século (Milton Friedman). The Keynesian Revolution, the monetarist conterrrevolution, the New Classical Purge, the Neo-Keynesian Restoration, por Brad DeLong. Ler também Paul Krugman, em The neo-paleo-keynesians counter-counter-counterrevolution.

The competing New Keynesian research program is harder to summarize quickly. But surely its key ideas include the following five propositions:

  1. The frictions that prevent rapid and instantaneous price adjustment to nominal shocks are the key cause of business cycle fluctuations in employment and output.
  2. Under normal circumstances, monetary policy is a more potent and useful tool for stabilization than is fiscal policy.
  3. Business cycle fluctuations in production are best analyzed from a starting point that sees them as fluctuations around the sustainable long-run trend (rather than as declines below some level of potential output).
  4. The right way to analyze macroeconomic policy is to consider the implications for the economy of a policy rule, not to analyze each one- or two-year episode in isolation as requiring a unique and idiosyncratic policy response.
  5. Any sound approach to stabilization policy must recognize the limits of stabilization policy, including the long lags and low multipliers associated with fiscal policy and the long and variable lags and uncertain magnitude of the effects of monetary policy.

Many of today’s New Keynesian economists will dissent from at least one of these five planks. (I, for example, still cling to the belief–albeit without much contemporary supporting empirical evidence–that policy is as much gap-closing as stabilization policy.) But few will deny that these five planks structure how the New Keynesian wing of macroeconomics thinks about important macroeconomic issues. Moreover, few will deny that today the New Classical and New Keynesian research programs dominate the available space.

But what has happened to the third school, monetarism, at the end of the 20th century? Monetarism achieved its moment of apogee with both intellectual and policy triumph in the late 1970s. Its intellectual triumph came as the NAIRU grew very large and the multiplier grew very small in both journals and textbooks. Its policy triumph came as both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve declared in the late 1970s that henceforth monetary policy would be made not by targeting interest rates but by targeting quantitative measures of the aggregate money stock. But today explicit monetarism seems reduced from a broad current to a few eddies.

What has happened to the ideas and the current of thought that developed out of the original insights of Irving Fisher and his peers?

The short answer is that much of this current of thought is still there, but its insights pass under another name. All five of the planks of the New Keynesian research program listed above had much of their development inside the 20th century monetarist tradition, and all are associated with the name of Milton Friedman. It is hard to find prominent Keynesian analysts in the 1950s, 1960s, or early 1970s who gave these five planks as much prominence in their work as Milton Friedman did in his…


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