Best Books on the Federal Reserve: The List

Learn about the Federal Reserve with these books!

 PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 13, 2020 | 20 MIN READ

Best Books on the Federal ReserveV

 

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What is the Federal Reserve?

The central banking system of the USA built by Congress in named as The Federal Reserve system or ‘the Fed’. It was created on December 23, 1913, to lessen the financial crisis by providing a safer, reliable, and stable monetary-financial system. The need arose when financial panics started to stumble the economy and monetary system.

Best Books on the Federal Reserve: THE LIST

1.  The Creature From Jekyll Island 
2.  Secrets of the Temple
3.  A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1
4.  A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 2, Book 1
5. A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 2, Book 2
6. End The Fed
7. Inside The Fed
8. A Primer On Money, Banking, and Gold
9. A Term at The Fed
10. The Fed
11. The Great Contradiction, 1929 – 1933
12. The Greenspan Effect
13. Capitalism and Freedom
14. 13 Bankers
15. Free To Choose
16. America’s Bank
17. The Secrets of the Federal Reserve
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1 – The Creature From Jekyll Island | By G. Edward Griffin

Where does the money come from? Where does it go? Who makes it? The money magicians’ secrets are unveiled. We get a close look at their mirrors and smoke machines, their pulleys, cogs, and wheels that create the grand illusion called money. A dry and boring subject? Just wait! You’ll be hooked in five minutes. Reads like a detective story – which it really is. But it’s all true. This book is about the most blatant scam of all history. It’s all here: the cause of wars, boom-bust cycles, inflation, depression, prosperity. Creature from Jekyll Island is a “must-read.” Your world view will definitely change. You’ll never trust a politician again – or a banker.

Quotes from The Creature From Jekyll Island;

“The Federal Reserve is one of the most dangerous creatures ever to stalk our land.”

“Someone has to get this story through to the public. The problem, however, is that the public doesn’t want to hear it.”

“While the followers of the current environmental movement are preoccupied with visions of planetary doom, the leaders have an entirely different agenda. It is world government.”

“How will it be slain? By piercing it with a million lances of truth. Who will slay it? A million crusaders with determination and courage. The crusade has already begun.”

“The creature…compels the masses to serve it, feed it, obey it, worship it. If it is not slain, it will become our eternal lord and master.”

“The new business model for America is clearly recognizable. Its dominant feature is the merger of government, real estate and commerce into a single structure, tightly controlled at the top.”

“It’s time to get the politicians wearing Uncle Sam suits off our backs.”

“It is the same model used in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Communist China.”

“Our present-day problems within the savings-and-loan industry can be traced back to the Great Depression of the 1930s.”

“The much heralded demise of communism in the Soviet bloc is a mixture of fact and fantasy.”


2 – Secrets of the Temple | By William Greider

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William Greider’s groundbreaking bestseller reveals how the mighty and mysterious Federal Reserve operates—and manipulates and the world’s economy.

This ground-breaking best-seller reveals for the first time how the mighty and mysterious Federal Reserve operates—and how it manipulated and transformed both the American economy and the world during the last eight crucial years. Based on extensive interviews with all the major players, Secrets of the Temple takes us inside the government institution that is in some ways more secretive than the CIA and more powerful than the President or Congress.

Quotes from Secrets of the Temple;

“What tends to be forgotten, amid all the cheerleading for today’s technology, is that people in ancient times might have lacked our current theoretical understanding of nature, but they were perfectly capable of noticing what worked and what didn’t, drawing rational conclusions on the basis of experience, and trying out new techniques to expand their ability to work with natural phenomena—even when their theories about the nature of those phenomena strike us as primitive or absurd.”

“It’s unfashionable these days to notice that a great many human beings have had, and continue to have, experiences that they describe as interactions with such powers by way of the teachings and practices just mentioned, and so scholars in a baker’s dozen of disciplines and more have busied themselves coming up with other things that religion must “really” be about.”


 3 – A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 1 | By Allan Meltzer

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Allan H. Meltzer’s monumental history of the Federal Reserve System tells the story of one of America’s most influential but least understood public institutions. This first volume covers the period from the Federal Reserve’s founding in 1913 through the Treasury-Federal Reserve Accord of 1951, which marked the beginning of a larger and greatly changed institution.

To understand why the Federal Reserve acted as it did at key points in its history, Meltzer draws on meeting minutes, correspondence, and other internal documents (many made public only during the 1970s) to trace the reasoning behind its policy decisions. He explains, for instance, why the Federal Reserve remained passive throughout most of the economic decline that led to the Great Depression, and how the Board’s actions helped to produce the deep recession of 1937 and 1938. He also highlights the impact on the institution of individuals such as Benjamin Strong, governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the 1920s, who played a key role in the adoption of a more active monetary policy by the Federal Reserve. Meltzer also examines the influence the Federal Reserve has had on international affairs, from attempts to build a new international financial system in the 1920s to the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 that established the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and the failure of the London Economic Conference of 1933.


4 – A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 2, Book 1 | By Allan Meltzer

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Allan H. Meltzer’s critically acclaimed history of the Federal Reserve is the most ambitious, most intensive, and most revealing investigation of the subject ever conducted. Its first volume, published to widespread critical acclaim in 2003, spanned the period from the institution’s founding in 1913 to the restoration of its independence in 1951. This two-part second volume of the history chronicles the evolution and development of this institution from the Treasury–Federal Reserve accord in 1951 to the mid-1980s when the great inflation ended. It reveals the inner workings of the Fed during a period of rapid and extensive change. An epilogue discusses the role of the Fed in resolving our current economic crisis and the needed reforms of the financial system.

In rich detail, drawing on the Federal Reserve’s own documents, Meltzer traces the relation between its decisions and economic and monetary theory, its experience as an institution independent of politics, and its role in tempering inflation. He explains, for example, how the Federal Reserve’s independence was often compromised by the active policy-making roles of Congress, the Treasury Department, different presidents, and even White House staff, who often pressured the bank to take a short-term view of its responsibilities. With an eye on the present, Meltzer also offers solutions for improving the Federal Reserve, arguing that as a regulator of financial firms and lender of last resort, it should focus more attention on incentives for reform, medium-term consequences, and rule-like behavior for mitigating financial crises. Less attention should be paid, he contends, to command and control of the markets and the noise of quarterly data.

At a time when the United States finds itself in an unprecedented financial crisis, Meltzer’s fascinating history will be the source of record for scholars and policymakers navigating an uncertain economic future.


5 – A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 2, Book 2 | By Allan Meltzer

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Allan H. Meltzer’s critically acclaimed history of the Federal Reserve is the most ambitious, most intensive, and most revealing investigation of the subject ever conducted. Its first volume, published to widespread critical acclaim in 2003, spanned the period from the institution’s founding in 1913 to the restoration of its independence in 1951. This two-part second volume of the history chronicles the evolution and development of this institution from the Treasury–Federal Reserve accord in 1951 to the mid-1980s when the great inflation ended. It reveals the inner workings of the Fed during a period of rapid and extensive change. An epilogue discusses the role of the Fed in resolving our current economic crisis and the needed reforms of the financial system.

In rich detail, drawing on the Federal Reserve’s own documents, Meltzer traces the relation between its decisions and economic and monetary theory, its experience as an institution independent of politics, and its role in tempering inflation. He explains, for example, how the Federal Reserve’s independence was often compromised by the active policy-making roles of Congress, the Treasury Department, different presidents, and even White House staff, who often pressured the bank to take a short-term view of its responsibilities. With an eye on the present, Meltzer also offers solutions for improving the Federal Reserve, arguing that as a regulator of financial firms and lender of last resort, it should focus more attention on incentives for reform, medium-term consequences, and rule-like behavior for mitigating financial crises. Less attention should be paid, he contends, to command and control of the markets and the noise of quarterly data.

At a time when the United States finds itself in an unprecedented financial crisis, Meltzer’s fascinating history will be the source of record for scholars and policymakers navigating an uncertain economic future.


6 – End The Fed | By Ron Paul

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In the post-meltdown world, it is irresponsible, ineffective, and ultimately useless to have a serious economic debate without considering and challenging the role of the Federal Reserve.

Most people think of the Fed as an indispensable institution without which the country’s economy could not properly function. But in End the Fed, Ron Paul draws on American history, economics, and fascinating stories from his own long political life to argue that the Fed is both corrupt and unconstitutional. It is inflating currency today at nearly a Weimar or Zimbabwe level, a practice that threatens to put us into an inflationary depression where $100 bills are worthless. What most people don’t realize is that the Fed — created by the Morgans and Rockefellers at a private club off the coast of Georgia — is actually working against their own personal interests. Congressman Paul’s urgent appeal to all citizens and officials tells us where we went wrong and what we need to do to fix America’s economic policy for future generations.

Quotes from End The Fed;

“Ending the Fed would be the single greatest step we could take to restoring American prosperity and freedom and guaranteeing that they both have a future.”

“Everyone should have an intense interest in what money is and how it’s manipulated by the few at the expense of the many.”

“The Federal Reserve should be abolished because it is immoral, unconstitutional, impractical, promotes bad economics and undermines liberty.”

“Bad economic policy can destroy a civilization.”

“The government cannot and should not be trusted with a monopoly on money.”

“The Fed is in the business of generating inflation.”

“From its founding in 1913, secrecy and inside deals have been part of the way the Fed works.”

“With no backing for the dollar at all, Americans became completely reliant on the Federal Reserve to manage our money and to do so with any outside discipline.”


7 – Inside The Fed | By Stephen Axilrod

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Stephen Axilrod is the ultimate Federal Reserve insider. He worked at the Fed’s Board of Governors for more than thirty years and after that in private markets and as a consultant on monetary policy. Inside the Fed, he offers his unique perspective on the inner workings of the Federal Reserve System during the last fifty years. This new, post-financial meltdown edition offers his assessment of the Fed’s action (and inaction) during the crisis and expanded coverage of the Fed in the Bernanke era.

Great leadership in monetary policy, Axilrod says, is determined not by pure economic sophistication but by the ability to push through political and social barriers to achieve a paradigm shift in policy―and by the courage and bureaucratic moxie to pull it off.

Quotes from Inside The Fed;

“A central bank is in effect a deus ex machina that…stands outside the financial system…and thus can act as a sure lender of last resort when all else is failing.”

“A chairman can have an outsized impact on policy, especially at crucial times, if he has sufficient nerve, internal credibility and a kind of unique ‘artistic’ feel.”

“The immense power of monetary policy resides, of course, not in the individual chairmen, but in the institution of the Fed itself.”

“Chairmen can become powerful to the extent they can influence the votes of their policymaking colleagues.”

“The Fed is essentially a creature of the Congress…the president clearly is secondary in importance for the Fed.”

“Faced with an ever-changing and politically complex economic world, policymakers at the Fed and at other major central banks have…steadfastly maintained a judgmental approach to policy.”

William McChesney Martin was “something of an artist in policy, a man with an intuitive sense, and perceived…as fundamentally fair.”

“Arthur Burns was very unfortunate in the particular decade, the 1970s, where fate placed him as chairman of the Fed.”


8 – A Primer on Money, Banking, and Gold | By Peter Bernstein

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One of the foremost financial writers of his generation, Peter Bernstein has the unique ability to synthesize intellectual history and economics with the theory and practice of investment management. Now, with classic titles such as Economist on Wall Street, A Primer on Money, Banking, and Gold, and The Price of Prosperity―which has forewords by financial luminaries and new introductions by the author―you can enjoy some of the best of Bernstein in his earlier Wall Street days.

With the proliferation of financial instruments, new areas of instability, and innovative capital market strategies, many economists and investors have lost sight of the fundamentals of the financial system―its strengths as well as its weaknesses. A Primer on Money, Banking, and Gold takes you back to the beginning and sorts out all the pieces.

Peter Bernstein skillfully addresses how and why commercial banks lend and invest, where the money comes from, how it moves from hand to hand, and the critical role of interest rates. He explores the Federal Reserve System and the consequences of the Fed’s actions on the overall economy. But this book is not just about the past. Bernstein’s novel perspective on gold and the dollar is critical for today’s decision-makers, as he provides extensive views on the future of money, banking, and gold in the world economy.

This illuminating story about the heart of our economic system is essential reading at a time when developments in finance are more important than ever.

Quotes from A Primer on Money, Banking, and Gold;

“The objective of the entire game played by the Federal Reserve has nothing to do with the level of bank reserves.”

“On that point, I rest my defense of the positions taken in this book over 40 years ago.”

“Recognize with the poet Robert Burns, how ‘the best-laid plans of man and beast gang oft agley’ by an impending future of which we had no sense at the moment we articulated that logic.”

“These are only tools to execute policy changes that will shape expectations as to the future of inflation and production.”


9 – A Term at the Fed | By Laurence Meyer

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As a governor of the Federal Reserve Board from 1996 to 2002, Laurence H. Meyer helped make the economic policies that steered the United States through some of the wildest and most tumultuous times in its recent history. Now, in A Term at the Fed, Governor Meyer provides an insider’s view of the Fed, the decisions that affected both the U.S. and world economies, and the challenges inherent in using monetary policy to guide the economy.

When Governor Meyer was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 1996, the United States was entering one of the most prosperous periods in its history. It was the time of “irrational exuberance” and the fabled New Economy. Soon, however, the economy was tested by the Asian financial crisis, the Russian default and devaluation, the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, the bursting of America’s stock bubble, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

In what amounts to a definitive playbook of monetary policy, Meyer now relives the Fed’s closed-door debates — debates that questioned how monetary policy should adapt to the possibility of a New Economy, how the Fed should respond to soaring equity prices, and whether the Fed should broker the controversial private-sector bailout of LTCM, among other issues. Meyer deftly weaves these issues with firsthand stories about the personalities involved, from Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan to the various staffers, governors, politicians, and reporters that populate the world of the Fed.

Since the end of his term, Meyer has continued to watch the Fed and the world economy. He believes that we are witnessing a repetition of some of the events of the remarkable 1990s — including a further acceleration in productivity and perhaps another bull market. History does not repeat itself, yet Meyer shows us how the lessons learned yesterday may help the Fed shape policy today.


10 – The Fed | By Martin Mayer

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This intricate history of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank contains many surprising revelations about the hidden world of our central bankers, and one that might not come as much of a shock: The people calling the shots are probably no brighter than you. This simple observation is the takeaway moral of Martin Mayer’s hefty book, which pulls the curtain aside to provide a fascinating, if sometimes rambling, glimpse into the world of the U.S. Fed. getAbstract.com heartily recommends this substantive work to anyone interested in learning how the U.S. economy really functions. (Postscript: Kudos to Mr. Mayer for pointing out a couple of years ago that the positive trends we enjoyed under the Greenspan heyday could indeed reverse.)

Quotes from The Fed;

“The Fed’s public image is of a super-government that determines the course of economic life, but in fact the Fed today walks softly and carries a small stick.”

“The Federal Reserve System is the most forceful participant in American economic governance, but it is so today by custom and belief, and by the power of theater.”

“The Fed has never believed in sunshine as a disinfectant.”

“Revisionist history will say Greenspan was lucky, and he would be the last to deny it.”

“Alan Greenspan has a religious faith in the values of diversification for financial institutions.

“There remains a mystery to haunt the dreams of central bankers, because nobody knows why monetary stimulus becomes consumer price inflation in one country and asset inflation in another.”


11 – The Great Contradiction, 1929 – 1933 | By Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz

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In A Monetary History of the United States, 1867 – 1960, published in 1963, stands alone as one of the most influential books in the economics of the twentieth century. The chapter entitled “The Great Contraction, 1929 – 1933” addresses the central economic events of the Great Depression. The Great Contraction, 1929 – 1933 was published in 1965 as a standalone paperback that argues that the Federal Reserve failed to exercise its role in monetary policy that reflected in the severity of the Great Depression. The book clearly identifies the school of thought that emphasizes the importance of money supply within the economy.

Quotes from The Great Contradiction;

“The Federal Reserve System, by failing to act as a lender of last resort during a series of banking panics, permitted a massive contraction of the money supply that was responsible for the compression of aggregate demand, national income and employment.”

“If the bank failures deserve special attention, it is clearly because they were the mechanism through which the drastic decline in the stock of money was produced, and because the stock of money plays an important role in economic developments.”

“The United States did not follow gold-standard rules. We did not permit the inflow of gold to expand the US money stock. We not only sterilized it, we went much further.”

“The impairment in the market value of assets held by banks, particularly in their bond portfolios, was the most important source of impairment of capital leading to bank suspensions, rather than the default of specific loans or of specific bond issues.”

“It was the necessity of reducing deposits by $14 in order to make $1 available for the public to hold as a currency that made the loss of confidence in banks so cumulative and so disastrous.”

“Throughout the contraction, the System had ample powers to cut short the tragic process of monetary deflation and banking collapse. Had it used those powers effectively in 1930 or even in early or mid-1931, the successive liquidity crises that in retrospect are the distinctive feature of the contraction could almost certainly have been prevented.”

“One can certainly sympathize with [president] Hoover’s comment about that episode: ‘I concluded [the Reserve Board] was indeed a weak reed for the nation to lean on in time of trouble’.”


12 – The Greenspan Effect | By David Sicillia and Jeffrey Cruikshank

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The United States Federal Reserve System has played a key role in U.S. economic affairs since it was established in 1913. Still, it has never enjoyed the unprecedented power and influence it wields today over global financial markets. The reason? Alan Greenspan. Greenspan first gained attention when he stopped the 1987 market crash in its tracks, propelling the U.S. economy into its longest period of uninterrupted growth in history. But it was in a speech the evening of December 5, 1996, when Greenspan’s words truly revealed their unprecedented powers. When his seemingly innocuous comment about the sky-high stock markets–“How do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values?”–hit global wires, world markets immediately plunged as much as five percent. The next morning, with Greenspan’s warning on every New York trader’s lips, the Dow immediately dropped two percent. To reeling traders, the dollar value of understanding Greenspan–and the instantaneous effect his speeches would have on markets–became clear. THE GREENSPAN EFFECT recalls these and other Greenspan episodes in the most honest, dependable words available–Greenspan’s own. Excerpts of his speeches from 1987 to the present are followed by expert analyses of those speeches, and nuts-and-bolts reporting on global financial reactions. This up-close examination of Alan Greenspan’s tumultuous regime discusses his early career, and how he developed the bottom-up analytical approach that is today his hallmark at the Fed. It shows how, unlike the politicians who appoint him, Greenspan has never allowed political distractions or personal foibles to interrupt his chosen course. By focusing on Alan Greenspan’s public pronouncements as Fed chairman, THE GREENSPAN EFFECT provides a concise, accurate distillation of Greenspan’s thinking on today’s most important economic topics. It presents a historic, solidly researched overview of how these pronouncements have affected Wall Street and other world financial markets. In so doing, this immensely valuable profile equips investors and businesspeople with today’s most important tool–an analysis of how Alan Greenspan has responded in past economic environments, what he is likely to do in the future, and how financial markets will react.

Quotes from The Greenspan Effect;

“The ultimate test of the country’s competitiveness is what is happening to the standard of living of our citizens over time.” [Alan Greenspan]

“Rest assured: If there were a ’Rosetta stone’ that explained the workings of the Fed and Greenspan, its discoverers would be fabulously wealthy individuals by now.”

“What was always true in the past, and will remain so in the future, is that the output of a free market economy and the notion of wealth creation will reflect the value preferences of people. Indeed, the very concept of wealth has no meaning other than as a reflection of human value preferences.” [Alan Greenspan]

“Individuals on all rungs of the economic ladder must come to recognize the substantial payoffs from their own intellectual efforts, not just those among the so-called intellectual elite.” [Alan Greenspan]

“All else equal, a flattening of stock prices would likely slow the growth of spending, and a decline of equity values, especially a severe one, could lead to a considerable weakening of consumer demand.” [Alan Greenspan]

“I believe that we should start with the principle that parties of financial transactions are responsible for their own decisions and only use regulation to adjust the balance of responsibilities between the parties cautiously, after the benefit has been clearly established.” [Alan Greenspan]


13 – Capitalism and Freedom | By Milton Friedman

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How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat it poses to individual freedom? In this classic book, Milton Friedman provides the definitive statement of his immensely influential economic philosophy—one in which competitive capitalism serves as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom. The result is an accessible text that has sold well over half a million copies in English, has been translated into eighteen languages, and shows every sign of becoming more and more influential as time goes on.

Quotes from Capitalism and Freedom;

“The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country.”

“Government power must be dispersed…If I do not like what my state does, I can move to another. If I do not like what Washington imposes, I have few alternatives in this world of jealous nations.”

“The great tragedy of the drive to centralization, as of the drive to extend the scope of government in general, is that it is mostly led by men of good will who will be the first to rue its consequences.”

“What we urgently need, for both economic stability and growth, is a reduction of government intervention not an increase.”

“Not all schooling is education and not all education, schooling. The proper subject of concern is education. The activities of government are mostly limited to schooling.”

“As a general rule, any minority that counts on specific majority action to defend its interests is short-sighted in the extreme.”


14 – 13 Bankers | By Simon Johnson and James Kwak

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In spite of its key role in creating the ruinous financial crisis of 2008, the American banking industry has grown bigger, more profitable, and more resistant to regulation than ever. Anchored by six megabanks whose assets amount to more than 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, this oligarchy proved it could first hold the global economy hostage and then use its political muscle to fight off meaningful reform. 13 Bankers brilliantly charts the rise to power of the financial sector and forcefully argues that we must break up the big banks if we want to avoid future financial catastrophes.

Quotes from 13 Bankers;

“It they’re too big to fail, they’re too big.” (former Fed chair Alan Greenspan)

“The obvious danger is that, with the passage of time, risk-taking will be encouraged and efforts at prudential restraint will be resisted. Ultimately, the possibility of further crises – even greater crises – will increase.” (former Fed chair Paul Volcker, September 2009)

“Jefferson and Jackson saw a powerful bank as a corrupting influence that could undermine the proper functioning of a democratic government.”

“The antiregulatory policies of the 1920s helped make possible…rampant financial speculation, driven by investment banks…that sold and traded securities in an unregulated free-for-all.”

“The right solution is obvious: do not allow financial institutions to be too big to fail; break up the ones that are.”

“If Greenspan said that derivatives improved the management of risk and [that] financial innovation was always good, that provided cover for anyone in Washington who didn’t know what to think.”

“The recent orgy of financial innovation turned out so badly because financial innovation is not like technological innovation.”

“The unprecedented amounts of money flowing through the financial sector, increasingly concentrated in a handful of megabanks…the foundation of a new financial oligarchy.”

“Now that loans could be resold to Wall Street, mortgage lending became a fee-driven business, where volume was the key to profits.”


15 – Free to Choose | By Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman

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Friedman was a great communicator, able to influence politicians, economists, and readers of his books on his economic and political theories. Decades after its release to the public, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, written with his wife, also economist Rose Friedman, serves as an exceptional book for those on the political right. Friedman’s criticism of the Fed in the 80s would insist that he would favor easing in principle, but how much quantitative easing would he approve? Friedman’s thoughts consist that the blame of the Great Depression was due to the Federal Reserve’s failure to act, thereby, not addressing the drop in the number of dollars circulating in the economy.

The book further discusses deflation in the 1930s; the Great Depression and the failure of government; inflation in the 1970s and government’s price and wage controls; special interest and the fact that groups’ interest can weaken the political system; big government and its impact on the economy; the market is the best protection; and desirable solutions to these problems.

Quotes from Free to Choose;

“Conventional wisdom may have changed, but conventional practice has not…[Politicians] know the words, but they have not learned the tune.”

“If an elite did not have the right to impose its will on others, neither did any other group, even a majority.”

“Government alone is responsible for any rapid increase in the quantity of money. That…has been the major source of confusion about the cause and the cure of inflation.”

“Market competition, when it is permitted to work, protects the consumer better than…alternative government mechanisms.”

“The consumer is protected from being exploited by one seller by the existence of another seller from whom he can buy and who is eager to sell to him.”

“A society that puts equality – in the sense of equality of outcome – ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.”

“The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom and … will end up in the hands of the people who use it to promote their own interests.”

“The system not only had a legislative mandate to prevent the [1930s] monetary collapse, but could have done so if it had used wisely the powers that had been granted to it in the Federal Reserve Act.”

“If $100 of somebody else’s money is up for grabs, it pays to spend up to $100 of your own money to get it.”

“We rail against special interests except when the special interest happens to be our own. Each of us knows that what is good for him is good for the country – so our special interest is different.”

“Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom.”

“The Depression was produced by a failure of government, not of private enterprise.”


16 – America’s Bank | By Roger Lowenstein

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A tour de force of historical reportage, America’s Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America’s modern central bank, the Federal Reserve. Today, the Fed is the bedrock of the financial landscape, yet the fight to create it was so protracted and divisive that it seems a small miracle that it was ever established.

For nearly a century, America, alone among developed nations, refused to consider any central or organizing agency in its financial system. Americans’ mistrust of big government and of big banks—a legacy of the country’s Jeffersonian, small-government traditions—was so widespread that modernizing reform was deemed impossible. Each bank was left to stand on its own, with no central reserve or lender of last resort. The real-world consequences of this chaotic and provincial system were frequent financial panics, bank runs, money shortages, and depressions. By the first decade of the twentieth century, it had become plain that the outmoded banking system was ill-equipped to finance America’s burgeoning industry. But political will for reform was lacking. It took an economic meltdown, a high-level tour of Europe, and—improbably—a conspiratorial effort by vilified captains of Wall Street to overcome popular resistance. Finally, in 1913, Congress conceived a federalist and quintessentially American solution to the conflict that had divided bankers, farmers, populists, and ordinary Americans, and enacted the landmark Federal Reserve Act.

Roger Lowenstein—acclaimed financial journalist and bestselling author of When Genius Failed and The End of Wall Street—tells the drama-laden story of how America created the Federal Reserve, thereby taking its first steps onto the world stage as a global financial power. America’s Bank showcases Lowenstein at his very finest: illuminating complex financial and political issues with striking clarity, infusing the debates of our past with all the gripping immediacy of today, and painting unforgettable portraits of Gilded Age bankers, presidents, and politicians.

Lowenstein focuses on the four men at the heart of the struggle to create the Federal Reserve. These were Paul Warburg, a refined, German-born financier, recently relocated to New York, who was horrified by the primitive condition of America’s finances; Rhode Island’s Nelson W. Aldrich, the reigning power broker in the U.S. Senate and an archetypal Gilded Age legislator; Carter Glass, the ambitious, if then little-known, Virginia congressman who chaired the House Banking Committee at a crucial moment of political transition; and President Woodrow Wilson, the academician-turned-progressive-politician who forced Glass to reconcile his deep-seated differences with bankers and accept the principle (anathema to southern Democrats) of federal control. Weaving together a raucous era in American politics with a storied financial crisis and intrigue at the highest levels of Washington and Wall Street, Lowenstein brings the beginnings of one of the country’s most crucial institutions to vivid and unforgettable life. Readers of this gripping historical narrative will wonder whether they’re reading about one hundred years ago or the still-seething conflicts that mark our discussions of banking and politics today. 

Quotes from America’s Bank;

“The moment was highly polarizing. Populists agitated for an income tax, tariff reform, regulation of railroads, and direct election of U.S. senators (who were chosen by the legislatures). Workers erupted in sometimes violent strikes—notably, the Pullman strike of 1894, which halted much of the nation’s rail traffic and led to rioting and acts of sabotage, and was ultimately suppressed by federal troops.”

“Three questions divided reformers: Who should issue the new currency? To what degree should the system be centralized? And should bankers or politicians be in control?”

“Glass’s nature was to fret. He was intensely agitated by the pressure from bankers for a centralized scheme and worried that bankers had gotten to Wilson (a suspicion, of course, that was entirely correct).”

“Regardless of how earnestly bankers trumpeted the virtues of laissez-faire, in times of unrest markets looked to Washington to provide stability.”

“Warburg hesitated before daring to reply. “Your bank is so big and so powerful, Mr. Stillman, that when the next panic comes, you will wish your responsibilities were smaller.”

“When the subject was money, central authority had always been taboo; it was a demon that terrified the people. Fear of this demon had kept the country without any effective organization of its finances for seventy-five years. Now, three-quarters of a century after Andrew Jackson, the ghost was slain.”

“A chief attraction of the real bills theory was that it took decisions regarding the money supply out of human hands. John Carlisle, Treasury secretary under Cleveland, maintained that issuing notes “is not a proper function of the Treasury Department, or of any other department of the Government.” The task was just too difficult. Rather, Carlisle said, currency should be “regulated entirely by the business interests of the people and by the laws of trade.”

“Warburg rifled off a congratulatory note to Owen. He revealed his true feelings about the Senate (including Owen) to a fellow European, to whom he groused, “It is a terribly tiring business to try to influence these hundred obstinate and ignorant men.”


17 – The Secrets of the Federal Reserve |  By Eustace Mullins

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Mullins presents some bare facts about the Federal Reserve System with subjects on it IS NOT a U.S. government bank; it IS NOT controlled by Congress; it IS a privately owned Central Bank controlled by the elite financiers in their own interest. The Federal Reserve elite controls excessive interest rates, inflation, the printing of paper money, and have taken control of the depression of prosperity in the United States.

Quotes from The Secrets of the Federal Reserve ;

““Our financial system is a false one and a huge burden on the people . . . This Act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth.” —Congressman Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Sr.”

“Senator LaFollette publicly charged that a money trust of fifty men controlled the United States. George F. Baker, partner of J.P. Morgan, on being queried by reporters as to the truth of the charge, replied that it was absolutely in error. He said that he knew from personal knowledge that not more than eight men ran this country.”


 Final Thoughts on the Federal Reserve

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Finance Federal Reserve Best Books on the Federal Reserve – Summaries – Quotes