monetary policy

Economic Nonsense: 45. Unbridled capitalism brought about the Great Depression


In the popular account the stock market went wild in the late 1920s, with people gambling recklessly on stocks and shares, often with money they didn't have.  Shares could only go up, they thought, but they were wrong.  The market crashed, people went broke, investors jumped off high buildings, and without investment GDP plunged and the Great Depression came about.  If it were true it might be a major indictment of unbridled capitalism, but it isn't.

People did overstretch recklessly, assuming the market could only rise, helped by easy money from the Federal Reserve Bank, and the Great Crash came in 1929.  It wiped out many investors, but it did not lead to the Great Depression.  That came later as a direct result of bad policy decisions.  Had those decisions not been made, the stock market crash might have instigated a cyclical downturn and corrected itself after a year or two.

The Federal Reserve Bank, observing that people had bought shares with easy credit, decided to tighten credit and restrict the money supply.  This is what you do not do in a recession, when struggling companies need credit to keep going and companies that see opportunities ahead need money to invest in expansion.  It was a disastrous mistake.

The folly was compounded by protectionist policies.  The Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 shut out most foreign goods to boost home-produced goods in the name of protecting American jobs.  Its effect was catastrophic.  It sparked a beggar my neighbour trade war as other countries responded with tit-for-tat measures.  Unable to sell goods in America, they stopped buying American goods.  International trade plunged and much of the world sank into recession. 

There were other contributing factors.  Banking regulation had been clumsy and restrictive, and left American banks unable to play their part in promoting investment and expansion.  Income taxes were massively hiked in 1932, just when tax cuts could have helped.

Unbridled capitalism did not cause the Great Depression, incompetent government did.  It is another piece of economic nonsense that President Roosevelt's New Deal government activism helped America's recovery from the Great Depression.  It didn't.

Adam Curtis and the shapeshifting lizards


It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance ~ Murray Rothbard

Adam Curtis's segment in Charlie Brooker's look back on 2014 tells us that news is confusing, and hard to paint into black and white. We've withdrawn from Afghanistan, but did we win or lose? Bashar al-Assad is bad, but is ISIS even worse? But nothing, he says, is more confusing than the economy.

The economy is growing, but wages are falling; the deficit is falling, but the national debt is rising. This, he says, keeps the population (whether intentionally or not) in a state of confusion and apathy.

But at the 'dark heart of this shapeshifting world' he says, is quantitative easing (QE), which pumps hundreds of billions of pounds into the economy at the same time as the government is 'taking it out' via its austerity programme.

According to Curtis, the Bank of England has 'admitted' that his has accrued to the richest 5%, a failure of the programme. He calls it 'a ruthless elite, siphoning off billions of pounds of public money'. He even suggests it's roughly analogous to the situation in Russia, comparing British wealthy to oligarchs.

But I wonder if he's looked at any of the research into the programme, asked any economists, or even, perhaps, interviewed some people at the Bank of England?

The reason why some Bank of England research says that the wealth benefited disproportionately in wealth terms is that without the QE programme there would have been a depression, and asset prices would have collapsed. The rich hold assets, the poor don't. But does anyone think the poor would have done better had there been a depression and mass unemployment?

Curtis might find a comparison between what Ambrose Evans-Pritchard calls the 'QE bloc' of the US and UK (and now Japan) and the Eurozone germane. Where have we seen deflation? Where have we seen mass unemployment?

They might look at some of the peer reviewed and robust research telling us whether and how QE has worked.

Much of it is from the Bank of England and Federal Reserve, although I suspect that the credence Brooker & Curtis give to the Bank only extends to stuff that says things they want to hear. Anything else may be dismissed as being exactly what you'd expect the shapeshifting lizards to say.

A miracle cure for central bank impotence


Are central banks ever unable to create inflation? The question may seem absurd – why would we ever want them to create more inflation? The typical answer is that deflation can be a lot worse than inflation. But this ignores the fact that prices can fall simply because we can produce things more cheaply. Falling oil prices mean cheaper production, which should mean cheaper consumer products. That's 'good' deflation.

But 'bad' deflation, caused by tight money, can be very harmful, and indeed is what Milton Friedman blamed the Great Depression on. A variant of this view, which looks at market expectations, blames expectations of deflation for the crisis in 2008. Those of us who think that nominal GDP is what matters – since contracts and wages are set in nominal terms – recognise that deflation can knock NGDP off-course and cause widespread bankruptcies and unemployment that would not have taken place in a more stable macroeconomic environment. (Free banking, say.)

So if inflation is sometimes desirable, when it prevents deflation (or collapses in NGDP), the power of the central bank to create it really does matter. That's where Paul Krugman and the Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard have clashed. In response to Krugman's claim that central banks are impotent when their interest rates are zero, Evans-Pritchard writes:

Central banks can always create inflation if they try hard enough. As Milton Friedman said, they can print bundles of notes and drop from them helicopters. The modern variant might be a $100,000 electronic transfer into the bank account of every citizen. That would most assuredly create inflation.

I don’t see how Prof Krugman can refute this, though I suspect that he will deftly change the goal posts by stating that this is not monetary policy. To anticipate this counter-attack, let me state in advance that the English language does not belong to him. It is monetary policy. It is certainly not interest rate policy.

The piece is worth reading in full. I'm less convinced that 'helicopter drops' are actually needed now – if central banks said that they'd do as much conventional QE as it took to raise the inflation rate or NGDP level to x%, that may well be enough. But Evans-Pritchard's basic point that central banks are never 'out of ammo' is what counts.

Dollarisation in Ecuador


Over at the free banking blog, Larry White has a very interesting post on dollarization in Ecuador. He outlines the history of the dollar in Ecuador and rehearses some of the key arguments in favour of free banking, and against its critics.

The dollarization of Ecuador was not chosen by policy-makers. It was chosen by the people. It grew from free choices people made between dollars and sucres. The people preferred a relatively sound money to a clearly unsound money. By their actions to dollarize themselves, they dislodged the rapidly depreciating sucre and spontaneously established a de facto US dollar standard.

Finally, in January 2000, Ecuador’s government stopped fighting their choice. Until that point the state tried to use legal penalties or subsidies to slow currency switching. Today the state threatens an attempt to reverse the people’s choice through legal compulsion.

He points out that the dollar was consistent with rapid economic growth and general success: between 2000 and 2013 the Ecuadorean economy grew a cumulative 75%, or an average of 4.4% annually, compared to just 36% in the previous 13 years (equivalent to 2.4% annually). And dollarisation has not just been good for output and living standards, but also the stability of banks:

Dollarization has also brought improvement to Ecuador’s banking system, according to two analysts at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Mynam Quispe-Agnoli and Elena Whisler, in a 2006 article, noted correctly that dollarization, by ruling out an official lender of last resort able to create dollar bank reserves with the push of a button, eliminates an important source of moral hazard.

In this way dollarization has the potential to reduce risky bank behavior, and thus so “make banks runs less likely because consumers and businesses may have greater confidence in the domestic banking system.” Lacking the expectation that “the monetary authority would come to the rescue of troubled banks” whether solvent or insolvent, banks in a dollarized system “have to manage their own solvency and liquidity risks better, taking the respective precautionary measures.”

He ends by giving strong warning that a return to state compulsion in the use of currency will worsen the country's prospects. The state seems, White suggests, to be trying to bring back state currency control on the sly, through unifying all mobile payments under one system, something he argues is completely unnecessary.

In sum, there is no plausibly efficient or honorable reason for the Ecuadoran government to go into the business of providing an exclusive medium for mobile payments. Consequently it is hard to make any sense of the project other than as fiscal maneuver that paves the way toward official de-dollarization. I gather that President Correa does not like the way that dollarization limits his government’s power to manage the economy. He has compared the limitation to “boxing with one arm.” But as I have already emphasized, retiring the government from boxing against the economy by means of money-printing is precisely dollarization’s great virtue.

QE cannot both boost asset prices and wreck pensions


Quantitative easing is complex and difficult to understand—economists aren't even sure exactly if and how it works. It would be unreasonable to expect non-economists to fully grok its workings even if journalistic explanations were clear and overall true. Since economics journalist's explanations have been largely lacking (including, I expect, my own, when I was an econ journo), it would be very difficult for others, further removed from economics, to 'get it'. Still, this piece on Bank of England staff pensions from Richard Dyson, the Telegraph's personal finance editor, has a number of problems which I can't help but try and correct. Dyson argues that (a) the Bank of England's pension scheme is 'eye-catchingly-generous'; (b) final salary pension schemes have died in the private sector substantially because of the BoE's quantitative easing (QE) programme; (c) QE has harmed pensioners; and (d) the Bank's policy of investing in pension pots in bonds is too low-risk and earns insufficient returns. All are substantially false.

Firstly, the Bank of England's 'generous' pensions are (as Dyson notes at the end) to compensate for lower regular and bonus pay than the jobs that very smart and qualified BoE staff could get elsewhere. Dyson might be right that this, overall, is larger in the public sector, indeed there is a literature suggesting that the total pay + benefits for public sector workers of a given skill and experience level is higher than for private sector workers. But the simple fact of a relatively large fraction of that coming out in pensions doesn't tell us anything on that point—and I would wager that the Bank is run much more like a profit-maximising private organisation than most arms of the state.

Secondly, as we see in Dyson's graph, private sector final salary/defined benefit pension schemes have been declining since a peak in the mid sixties, with about half of the drop coming in the 70s and about half in the 90s. Practically nothing has happened to them since the introduction of QE.

Which brings us onto thirdly: QE boosts asset prices. QE raises the value of stock markets and bonds and pretty much all securities that people hold in their pensions. QE makes pensioners better off, like it makes pretty much everyone better off. Yes, you've heard that QE leads to lower interest rates. I'm not sure that's true. Remember we are at the bottom of a 30-year slide in real risk-free interest rates, and it seems much less clear that QE is a big factor.

Finally and fourthly, is the Bank too careful with its money? I don't actually have an answer here but I'd suggest that Dyson (and Ros Altmann, who he quotes on this) are a tad too confident. If the Bank invested in riskier equities or emerging markets or whatever, then sure it would be likely to earn a higher return, but would the Bank's critics really give it any slack if these investments went bad, as they'd be more likely to do? I don't really know how the BoE should invest its pension fund, but it seems to me that they are going to be damned if they do and damned if they don't.

So I think we should leave off the Bank and its pension scheme, whatever issues we might have with its macroeconomic management. It pays high pensions to attract talent. It didn't cause the decline in private sector final salary pensions (I think government is probably to blame for that). It's not to blame for high interest rates and it has helped those with pension investments. And we probably don't have the right info to choose its investment portfolio for it.

Free banking in 19th century Switzerland


RePEc is a wonderful service, provided like the fantastically useful FRED by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. It has feeds on twitter and via RSS, which are one of the best ways of keeping up with new research papers on economics, provided as full pdf files—all for free. Occasionally, their feeds deliver older papers, which have presumably been scanned and indexed online in the database for the first time. A recent example was "The Competitive Issue of Paper Money in Switzerland After the Liberal Revolutions in the 19th Century" by Ernst Juerg Weber, an economist who was then, in 1990, and is still now, working at the University of Western Australia. I had never heard of him but his papers all look extremely interesting. This one is no exception, and it tells of how banking was completely deregulated during the early 19th century in Switzerland, and how it worked extremely successfully:

The main finding of this paper is that competition provided a stable monetary system in Switzerland in which the purchasing power of bank notes equaled that of specie and only one bank failed. The Swiss banks did not over issue bank notes because there was no demand for depreciating notes in the competitive Swiss monetary system. Each bank faced a real demand for bank notes that depended on the usefulness of those notes in commer­cial transactions. And the marginal revenue of inflating was negative for each bank because depreciating notes impose information costs on their users and people could easily substitute notes. In contrast, modern central banks can inflate at a profit because (i) they have the exclusive right to issue currency and (ii) currency substitution is limited by legal tender laws and -if necessary -by exchange controls. The Swiss monetary system was also stable in the sense that rising costs prevented a central-bank-like monopoly by a single issuer.

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Liberals won a short civil war in 1848 then, in control of the federal government, removed restrictions on the free movement of goods, capital and people between cantons. This included allowing private banks to issue the newly-unified currency, the Swiss Franc.

There were no legal tender laws or exchange controls, and by 1880 there was one note issuing bank per 80,000 people, or 36 in total. Even though cantonal banks had regulatory and tax advantages, commercial note-issuing banks were able to outcompete them

Banks worked like any other business, with free entry into the note issuing business determined by whether they could offer notes that people found useful in transactions. Savings banks stayed out of the note business because they could not profit from issuing them.

However during the 1860s and 1870s more the democratic factions were in the ascendancy and started rolling bank liberal provisions, for example setting up subsidised and guaranteed cantonal note-issuing banks and heavily regulating note issue. By 1881 the Swiss free banking era was over despite its success.

In general free banking is a strange issue, because it seems like advocates have done a huge amount of work showing its successes and highlighting the failures of alternative systems. But opponents have mostly ignored all of this and seemingly work on entirely unchallenged views of one free banking system (the USA 1837-1862), acquired apparently by osmosis. If free banking wouldn't work in the modern era, then opponents need to do a lot more to explain why.

What Robert Peston gets wrong about QE


I don't usually read Robert Peston, now the BBC's economics editor, but I came across this piece he wrote for their website on the end of the ongoing US quantitative easing (QE) programme. Here he makes the case, overall, that even though QE did not cause hyperinflation (yet!) it could still prove 'toxic' because it 'inflates the price of assets beyond what could be justified by the underlying strength of the economy'. Basically every line of the piece includes something that I could dispute, but I will try and focus on the most important issues. The first problem is that Peston takes a hardline 'creditist' view that not only is QE mainly supposed to help the economy through raising debt/lending, but by raising it in specific, centrally-planned areas (e.g. housing). When we find that QE barely affected lending, it seems to Peston that it failed. But QE does not raise lending to raise economic activity—QE raises economic activity through other channels, which may lead to more lending depending on the preferences of firms and households.

In his 2013 paper 'Was there ever a bank lending channel?' Nobel prizewinner Eugene Fama puts paid to this view. He points out that financial firms hold portfolios of real assets based on their preferences and their guesses about the future. QE can only change these preferences and guesses indirectly, by changing nominal or real variables in the economy. For example, extra QE might reduce the chance of a financial collapse, making riskier assets less unattractive. But when central banks buy bonds investors find themselves holding portfolios not exactly in line with their preferences and they 'rebalance' towards holding the balance of assets they want: cash, equities, bonds, gilts and so on. This is predicted by our basic expected-profit-maximising model and reliably seen in the empirical data too. It's good because it implies that monetary policy can work towards neutrality.

This doesn't mean Peston is right to be sceptical about the benefits of QE. QE has worked—according to a recent Bank of England paper buying gilts worth 1% of GDP led to .16% extra real GDP and .3% extra inflation in the UK (2009-2013), with even better results for the USA. The point is that it works through other channels—principally by convincing markets that the central bank is serious about trying to achieve its inflation target or even go above its inflation target when times are particularly hard. This is not an isolated result.

The second issue is that Peston claims QE isn't money creation:

Because what has been really striking about QE is that it was popularly dubbed as money creation, but it hasn't really been that. If it had been proper money creation, with cash going into the pockets of people or the coffers of businesses, it might have sparked serious and substantial increases in economic activity, which would have led to much bigger investment in real productive capital. And in those circumstances, the underlying growth rate of the UK and US economies might have increased meaningfully.

But in today's economy, especially in the UK and Europe, money creation is much more about how much commercial banks lend than how many bonds are bought from investors by central banks. The connection between QE and either the supply of bank credit or the demand for bank credit is tenuous.

That is not to say there is no connection. But the evidence of the UK, for example, is that £375bn of quantitative easing did nothing to stop banks shrinking their balance sheets: banks had a too-powerful incentive to shrink and strengthen themselves after the great crash of 2008; businesses and consumers were too fed up to borrow, even with the stimulus of cheap credit.

This is extremely misleading and confused. He suggests that printing cash and handing it out would boost the 'underlying' growth rate, which is nonsense—the 'underlying' growth rate is driven by supply-side factors. He claims that money creation is identical with credit creation, when they are separate things, and he has already pointed out that creating money doesn't always lead to more credit. We have already seen how credit is not the way QE affects growth, despite what economic journalists like Peston seem to unendingly tell us. Indeed, it seems quite clear that the great recession caused the credit crunch, rather than the other way round.

His ending few paragraphs are yet stranger:

But the fundamental problem with QE is that the money created by central banks leaked out all over the place, and ended up having all sorts of unexpected and unwanted effects. When launched it was billed as a big, bold and imaginative way of restarting the global economy after the 2008 crash. It probably helped prevent the Great Recession being deeper and longer. But by inflating the price of assets beyond what could be justified by the underlying strength of the economy, it may sown the seeds of the next great markets disaster.

It's not clear at all why Peston thinks that QE would inflate asset prices beyond what could be justified. I've written at length about this before. The money a trader gets from selling a gilt to the Bank of England is completely fungible with all their other money. There is no reason to expect they will put this money in an envelope and save it for a special occasion. They try and hold the same portfolio of assets as they did before. Through various channels (including equity prices -> investment) QE raises inflation and real GDP and surprise surprise these are exactly the things that asset prices should care about.

The ECB is fiddling while Europe burns


If not quite burning yet, the eurozone is kindling. For once, most people agree why: money is very tight. The central bank's interest rate is low, yes, but this is not a good measure of the stance of monetary policy. What matters is the interest rate relative to the 'natural' interest rate - ie, what it would be in a free market. It's difficult to know what this natural rate is (as Hayek would tell us) but we can look at things like nominal GDP and inflation to help us guess. Both are way, way below levels that the market is used to. Deflation is back on the menu.

As Scott points out, whatever you think about the American or British economies since 2008, the Eurozone looks like a case study in central bank failure:

The eurozone was already in recession in July 2008, and eurozone interest rates were relative high, and then the ECB raised them further.  How is tight money not the cause of the subsequent NGDP collapse?  Is there any mainstream AS/AD or IS/LM model that would exonerate the ECB?  I get that people are skeptical of my argument when the US was at the zero bound.  But the ECB wasn’t even close to the zero bound in 2008.  I get that people don’t like NGDP growth as an indicator of monetary policy, and want “concrete steppes.”  Well the ECB raised rates in 2008.  The ECB is standing over the body with a revolver in its hand.  The body has a bullet wound.  The revolver is still smoking.  And still most economists don’t believe it.  ”My goodness, a central bank would never cause a recession, that only happened in the bad old days, the 1930s.”

. . . And then three years later they do it again.  Rates were already above the zero bound in early 2011, and then the ECB raised them again.  Twice.  The ECB is now a serial killer.  They had marched down the hall to another office, and shot another worker.  Again they are again caught with a gun in their hand.  Still smoking.

Meanwhile the economics profession is like Inspector Clouseau, looking for ways a sovereign debt crisis could have cause the second dip, even though the US did much more austerity after 2011 than the eurozone.  Real GDP in the eurozone is now lower than in 2007, and we are to believe this is due to a housing bubble in the US, and turmoil in the Ukraine?  If the situation in Europe were not so tragic this would be comical.

There is a point here. Economic news, by its nature, tends to emphasise interesting, tangible, 'real' events over things like central bank policy changes (let alone the absence of changes).

Of course that can be deeply misleading. The stance of money affects the whole economy (at least the whole economy that does business in nominal terms, which is pretty much everything except for gilt markets), and the Eurozone is experiencing exactly the sort of problems that the likes of Milton Friedman predicted that tight money would create.

Overall, the Euro looks like the most harmful institution in the world, except perhaps for ISIS or the North Korean govt. It may be unsaveable in the sense that it will never really be an optimal currency area, but looser policy (which free banking would provide) would probably alleviate many of the Eurozone's biggest problems. Instead, what Europe has is the NHS of money – big, clunking and unresponsive to demand.

And the ECB seems wilfully misguided about what it needs to do. The only argument against this is that surely—surely—Draghi and co know what they're doing. Well, what if they don't?

How to fix the Eurozone


It's rare that an economic question is clear cut. Nearly all issues are two sided, with substantial costs and benefits to all approaches. But the reason the Eurozone crisis has resumed is pretty obvious—'bad' disinflation and deflation almost universally across the bloc, and a failure of the European Central Bank to provide even the most basic monetary stability. The solution is equally obvious: meet the inflation target and commit to a level target to prevent future cock-ups. Household, firms and sovereigns take out (nearly all of) their debts in nominal terms, i.e. not adjusted for inflation. They are likely to build in expected inflation. However, if inflation is higher than expected, debtors incomes should rise faster than they expected, while their debt is still fixed, making the burden lighter. Of course, this means creditors receive less than they expected. It's the same on the other side.

If the central bank promises 2% inflation per year over the next ten years, and the markets believe it, then the yield of a gilt that matures in 10 years will take this into account. This goes (approximately) for all other assets in the economy, like mortgages, consumer credit, business loans and so on. If inflation departs from target it enriches one side at the expense of the other, contrary to what they all could have reasonably expected when they signed these contracts.

There is a complication: there is a difference between the inflation and deflation caused by supply shocks and that caused by demand shocks. When prices rise because everything really has become more costly to produce (a supply shock like an OPEC oil price hike) then this makes debts harder to pay, but worth no more. When prices fall because everything has become cheaper to produce (a supply shock like Chinese labour coming onto the world market) this makes debts easier to pay, but worth no less. But central bank expansions and contractions are demand shocks, not supply shocks.

This means that the national debt will be harder to pay if inflation comes in lower than target for monetary reasons. Inflation has been below the European Central Bank's target for nearly two years, and is falling further below it. Twelve countries have either zero inflation or deflation. Unless there were massive supply-side improvements across the Eurozone—which we would see in the form of impressive real GDP growth or productivity improvements—this would usually mean that firms will find it hard to make good on their investments, and governments will find their national debts increasingly hard to manage. This is exactly what we are seeing.

As I said above the weird thing about this situation is we actually have an easy-ish solution. Commit to meeting the inflation target, making up the deficit of the past few years and targeting a level path of inflation (or total income) in the future. That means that if the ECB makes a mistake and 'undershoots' its target, it doesn't allow this to distort the economy but does a little extra inflation in the next few months; if the ECB 'overshoots' it does a little less. This is not baleful central bank 'intervention' or 'disortion'—the distortion was letting the rules of the game depart so far from those they signed all of their contracts expecting.

The alternative is a 'lost quarter century' of stagnation while everyone slowly adjusts to the new monetary arrangements they have been hit with.

Austrian fanatics ruin it for the rest of us

The Adam Smith Institute has long been associated with the Austrian school of economics. There is a picture of Friedrich Hayek on the wall. Our Director, Dr. Eamonn Butler, has written Austrian Economics: A Primer and books on Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. With respect to myself, I am personally friendly with, and/or heavily influenced by Austrian-leaning economists including George Selgin, Anthony J. Evans, Emily Skarbek, Mark Pennington, Kevin Dowd, David Skarbek, Adam Martin and dozens of others. I own about 15 books by Ludwig von Mises. I went to a Man, Economy & State reading group. I am still technically a moderator on the Ludwig von Mises Institute forums. My very first post for this blog was on the Austrian theory of the business cycle.

Smart Austrian economists have done, and still do, lots of important work. I personally think that Israel Kirzner deserves a Nobel prize for his work on entrepreneurship. I don't think Austrians are deserving of the hit pieces that some less pleasant members of the mainstream level against them. But there is a genre of commentary, particularly seen below the fold in economics blog comment sections, whose contentless, nebulous, impossible-to-completely-eradicate nonsense unfairly tars all Austrian-influenced economists.

A recent example was left on Sam's post on NGDP targeting, and many of those in the genre follow a similar pattern. Here I will focus on one issue: the dismissal of Sam's argument as 'Keynesian', because it includes non-Austrian ideas. This is probably the worst and most annoying flaw internet Austrians display. Not all non-Austrian arguments are Keynesian.

There is nothing a Keynesian or New Keynesian or post-Keynesian would recognise as Keynesian in Sam's post: he doesn't talk about natural interest rates*, he doesn't talk about marginal propensities of consumption, he doesn't talk about multipliers, he doesn't advocate fiscal stimulus, he doesn't mention a paradox of thrift or liquidity trap. He uses the equation of exchange, which is about as non-Keynesian as you can get!

And many if not most (macro)economists through history have been neither Austrian nor Keynesian, including prominent figures such as Irving Fisher, Milton Friedman, Robert Lucas, and Ralph Hawtrey. At least two schools of thought are neither Keynesian nor Austrian: New Classical/freshwater macro, and monetarist/Chicago school macro. And these schools don't just differ from Keynesianism, they actively and vigorously oppose it on a host of important issues.

It just doesn't do to call all non-Austrian economists 'Keynesians'. It's inaccurate and it's irritating and it's idiotic. Economists have worried about demand-side or money-demand-caused recessions before Keynes and they've worried about them since without accepting any or all of his solutions.

What's more, there is no reason why being an Austrian economist should preclude one from interest in any of these approaches—something smart Austrian and Austrian-influenced economists like Hayek and Selgin have not shied away from. Hayek warned of the dangers of a 'secondary depression' caused by monetary contraction after the real shock involved in the Austrian theory. Austrian fanatics ruin it for everyone.

*George Selgin points out in the comments that natural interest rate ideas predate Keynes and are important in Austrian theory.