How The Federal Reserve Bought The Economics Profession

The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found.

This dominance helps explain how, even after the Fed failed to foresee the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, the central bank has largely escaped criticism from academic economists. In the Fed’s thrall, the economists missed it, too.

“The Fed has a lock on the economics world,” says Joshua Rosner, a Wall Street analyst who correctly called the meltdown. “There is no room for other views, which I guess is why economists got it so wrong.”

One critical way the Fed exerts control on academic economists is through its relationships with the field’s gatekeepers. For instance, at the Journal of Monetary Economics, a must-publish venue for rising economists, more than half of the editorial board members are currently on the Fed payroll — and the rest have been in the past.

The Fed failed to see the housing bubble as it happened, insisting that the rise in housing prices was normal. In 2004, after “flipping” had become a term cops and janitors were using to describe the way to get rich in real estate, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that “a national severe price distortion [is] most unlikely.” A year later, current Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the boom “largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.”

The Fed also failed to sufficiently regulate major financial institutions, with Greenspan — and the dominant economists — believing that the banks would regulate themselves in their own self-interest.

Despite all this, Bernanke has been nominated for a second term by President Obama.

In the field of economics, the chairman remains a much-heralded figure, lauded for reaction to a crisis generated, in the first place, by the Fed itself. Congress is even considering legislation to greatly expand the powers of the Fed to systemically regulate the financial industry.

Read the full article.

  • longshotlouie

    Short interview explaining how, in less than two generations, we went from the greatest creditor nation to biggest debtor nation:

    • sean

      I’m pretty sure that we went from the greatest creditor nation to the biggest debtor nation because we have had an 11 trillion dollar trade deficit over the past 25 years. That’s 11 trillion dollars that we could of credited out, but instead we have to borrow it back.

      • sean

        Yes we would have a greater savings rate as individuals if we didn’t have to pay taxes, but no it would not improve our savings rate as a country. The money we pay in taxes stay in the country, where as the money we trade off for goods overseas will be lost and not available for us to use. We would still have a net loss of 11 trillion dollars.

  • Doc Merlin

    We need to stop calling it “central banking” and start calling it a “state monopoly banking.”

  • VR
  • longshotlouie

    ‘Paul and the Klan wrong on the Fed’ ??????????

    Please let these folks know how you feel.

    • Mike

      You should of posted the link with the actual article.

      “I work as a money manager for a pension plan that is associated with a faith-based organization. I have come to the conclusion that our Federal Reserve and its chairmen, both past and present, are the only part of our government that truly works in the best interests of Americans.

      While we may not always like what they do, they have the freedom to look past the next election cycle and to attempt to do what they feel is best for our country.

      I don’t think that can be said of any congressperson; after all, politics is a dirty business.

      If Paul is successful in his pursuit to disclose the Fed’s activities to the public, he will have politicized the agency and, therefore, stripped it of its effectiveness.

      For example, if the Fed published which banks have accessed its discount window, we would have a wave of bank failures because depositors would have a run on these banks.

      This is very dangerous to our nation. In effect, this legislation will do to our monetary system the same thing that President Obama wants to do to health care.”

      -Lance Patterson


      • longshotlouie

        The article was at the top of the page.

        Thx for the help.

  • longshotlouie

    Now at 287 co-sponsors in the House.