Why the Fed buried monetarism?

Anatole Kaletsjy of Gavekal Dragonomics has an interesting piece on recent Fed decision to keep rates unchanged.

He says Fed does not believe in monetarism anymore. It has gone back to the earlier idea of trade-off between inflation and unemployment. It realises that monetary policy has a much deeper impact on unemployment than shown by earlier research:

….there may be a deeper reason for the Fed’s forbearance. To judge by Yellen’s recent speeches, the Fed may no longer believe in any version of the “natural” unemployment rate. Friedman’s assumptions of ever-accelerating inflation and irrationally “rational” expectations that lead to single-minded targeting of price stability remain embedded in official economic models like some Biblical creation myth. But the Fed, along with almost all other central banks, appears to have lost faith in that story.

Instead, central bankers now seem to be implicitly (and perhaps even unconsciously) returning to pre-monetarist views: tradeoffs between inflation and unemployment are real and can last for many years. Monetary policy should gradually recalibrate the balance between these two economic indicators as the business cycle proceeds. When inflation is low, the top priority should be to reduce unemployment to the lowest possible level; and there is no compelling reason for monetary policy to restrain job creation or GDP growth until excessive inflation becomes an imminent danger.

This does not imply permanent near-zero US interest rates. The Fed will almost certainly start raising rates in December, but monetary tightening will be much slower than in previous economic cycles, and it will be motivated by concerns about financial stability, not inflation. As a result, fears – bordering on panic in some emerging markets – about the impact of Fed tightening on global economic conditions will probably prove unjustified.

The bad news is that the vast majority of market analysts, still clinging to the old monetarist framework, will accuse the Fed of “falling behind the curve” by letting US unemployment decline too far and failing to anticipate the threat of rising inflation. The Fed should simply ignore such atavistic protests, as it rightly did last week.

Another case of macro all over the place..

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