Monday, January 16, 2017

Ruled by experts? Not the Fed.

Tyler Cowen asks whether it's better to be ruled by experts, or the people?

My personal preference is "neither", but Cowen undermines his answer by saying "people in most cases, but not in technical areas, specifically, the Federal reserve".
If I had to pick a single area where faculty rule would be most appropriate, it is the Federal Reserve. (The Environmental Protection Agency would be another candidate.) Very few citizens understand such basic concepts as how inflation rates are calculated, the differences between real and nominal rates of interest, or how the shadow banking system is supposed to work, much less tripartite repurchase agreements or the Basel capital standards. The complexities increase every year, and it is no accident that the last two Fed chairs have been drawn from the highest ranks of academic economists.
Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve is the one area where experts have been most wrong, and have caused the most harm to the people.