WSJ: Anna Schwartz, Mother of Monetarism, Was Intellectual Giant


If it’s rare to find one’s self in the presence of greatness, it’s even rarer to know it at the time.

Yet, the one and only time I met the late economist, and so-called mother of monetarism, Anna Schwartz, I knew she was awesome. She died Thursday aged 96.

How did I meet her?

At the height of the recent financial crisis on March 30 2009 she was part of a panel discussion on the Great Depression that I moderated at the Council on Foreign Relations here in New York City. Watch video from the event below.

The others on the panel all showed their smarts, but intellectually she dwarfed us all. That’s not meant to take anything away from anyone else, but rather to point out that even on a panel of distinguished intellectuals she stood out.

In that 60 minute-long discussion three years ago it was all I could do to keep up with Schwartz. Afterwards my mind was fried.

Although it’s an unfashionable view in some quarters now, she made it clear she hated Keynesianism: the idea that government spending could stimulate growth. She also hated the bailouts. Policymakers might want to take note of those things.

Schwartz, along with Milton Friedman, invented monetarism: the idea that monetary policy can stimulate economic growth. If he was its father, she was its mother.

Friedman got more credit for inventing monetarism that than she did, but likely that is a function of a time when women got less recognition than men, even for the same achievements.

The two authored the 1963 tome A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960.

See original post here.
Post a Comment