Reply To: Monetarist view of the Great Depression


Anderson provides the Austrian counter to the monetarist. Also, Bob Murphy addresses the monetarist argument directly in his Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression.

Irving Fisher’s theory of debt deflation begins with the assumption that the economy somehow becomes over indebted. If one starts the analysis at the beginning and not in the middle of the sequence of events, then one sees that over indebtedness comes through a prior monetary inflation via credit expansion. The malinvestments that must be liquidated to set the economy back on the right track occur during the boom. The boom is unsustainable because the built up production structure fails to satisfy people’s time preferences. The financial correction with its debt defaults and bank deposit shrinkage is not the cause of the ensuing losses and reallocation of resources. The financial correction merely reveals the malinvestments and misallocations that were made during the boom.

On the economics of deflation, take a look at Guido Huelsmann’s book, Deflation and Liberty: