Henry Calvert Simons
|Died||June 19, 1946 46)(aged|
|Chicago School of Economics|
|Influences||Frank H. Knight|
Henry Calvert Simons ( // ; October 9, 1899 – June 19, 1946) was an American economist at the University of Chicago. A protégé of Frank Knight, his antitrust and monetarist models influenced the Chicago school of economics. He was a founding author of the Chicago plan for monetary reform that found broad support in the years following the 1930s Depression, which would have abolished the fractional-reserve banking system, which Simons viewed to be inherently unstable. This would have prevented unsecured bank credit from circulating as a "money substitute" in the financial system, and it would be replaced with money created by the government or central bank that would not be subject to bank runs.
Simons is noted for a definition of economic income, developed in common with Robert M. Haig, known as the Haig–Simons equation.
In one of his essays, A Positive Program for Laissez Faire (1934) Simons set out a program of reform to bring private enterprise back to life during the Great Depression.
Eliminate all forms of monopolistic market power, to include the breakup of large oligopolistic corporations and application of antitrust laws to labor unions. A Federal incorporation law could be used to limit corporation size and where technology required giant firms for reasons of low cost production the Federal government should own and operate them... Promote economic stability by reform of the monetary system and establishment of stable rules for monetary policy... Reform the tax system and promote equity through income tax... Abolish all tariffs... Limit waste by restricting advertising and other wasteful merchandising practices.
Henry Simons argued for changing the financial architecture of the United States to make monetary policy more effective and mitigate periodic cycles of inflation and deflation. The goal of changing the "monetary rules of the game" in this way was to "prevent… the affliction of extreme industrial fluctuations".
According to Simons, financial disturbances in the economy are perpetuated by "extreme alternations of hoarding and dis-hoarding" of money. Short-term obligations (loans) issued by banks and corporations effectively create "abundant (fiat) money substitutes during booms". When demand becomes sluggish, a sector of the economy undergoes a shrinkage, or the economy as a whole begins to lapse into depression, "hopeless efforts at liquidation" of the secondary monies, or "fire sales," result.
Simons believed that a financial system so structured would be "repeatedly exposed to complete insolvency". In due course, government intervention would inevitably be necessary to forestall insolvency due to traders' bad bets and margin calls by lenders.[ citation needed ]
A recent example would be the $10 billion bailout by the Federal Reserve of Bear Stearns, a multinational global investment bank, in 2008. John Mauldin, a senior member of the financial services industry, writes: "If Bear had not been put into sound hands and provided solvency and liquidity, the credit markets would simply have frozen… The stock market would have crashed by 20% or more… We would have seen tens of trillions of dollars wiped out in equity holdings all over the world." The Bear Stearns debacle was a watershed event in a housing market crisis that precipitated massive devaluations, left the economy reeling, and required massive government action.
This is the chain of events predicted by Henry Simons in the event of a large-scale liquidation of inflated securities such as mortgage loans. In Economic Policy for a Free SocietySimons writes that all it takes to precipitate a massive liquidation of securities is "a relatively small decline of security values". Simons is emphatic in pointing out that corporations that traded on a "shoestring of equity, and under a mass of current liabilities" are "placing their working capital precariously on call," and hence at risk, in the event of the slightest financial disturbance.
In Simons' ideal economy, nothing would be circulated but "pure assets" and "pure money," rather than "near moneys," "practically moneys," and other precarious forms of short-term instruments that were responsible for much of the existing volatility. Simons, an opponent of the gold standard, advocated non interest-bearing debt and opposed the issuance of short-term debt for financing public or corporate obligations. He also opposed the payment of interest on money, demand deposits, and savings. Simons envisioned private banks which played a substantially different role in society than they currently do. Rather than controlling the money supply through the issuance of debt, Simons' banks would be more akin to "investment trusts" than anything else.
In the interest of stability, Simons envisioned banks that would have a choice of two types of holdings: long-term bonds, or consols, and cash. Simultaneously, they would hold increased reserves, up to 100%. Simons saw this as beneficial in that its ultimate consequences would be the prevention of "bank-financed inflation of securities and real estate" through the leveraged creation of secondary forms of money.
Simons advocated the separation of deposit and transaction windows and the institutional separation of banks as "lender-investors" and banks as depository agencies. The primary benefit would be to enable lending and investing institutions to focus on the provision of "long term capital in equity form" (233). Banks could be "free to provide such funds out of their own capital". Short-term interest-based commercial loans would be phased out, since one of the "unfortunate effects of modern banking," as Simons viewed it, was that it had "facilitated and encouraged the use of short-term financing in business generally".
Simons believed the price level needed to be more flexible to accommodate fluctuations in output and employment.[ citation needed ] To this end, he advocated a minimum of short-term borrowing, and a maximum of government control over the circulation of money. This would result in an economy with a greater tolerance of disturbances and the prevention of "accumulated maladjustments" all coming to bear at once on the economy. In sum, for Simons, a financial system in which the movement of the price level was in many ways beholden to the creation and liquidation of short-term securities is problematic and threatens instability.
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages the currency and monetary policy of a state or formal monetary union, and oversees their commercial banking system. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central bank possesses a monopoly on increasing the monetary base. Most central banks also have supervisory and regulatory powers to ensure the stability of member institutions, to prevent bank runs, and to discourage reckless or fraudulent behavior by member banks.
In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection and expenditure to influence a country's economy. The use of government revenue expenditures to influence macroeconomic variables developed in reaction to the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the previous laissez-faire approach to economic management became unworkable. Fiscal policy is based on the theories of the British economist John Maynard Keynes, whose Keynesian economics theorised that government changes in the levels of taxation and government spending influence aggregate demand and the level of economic activity. Fiscal and monetary policy are the key strategies used by a country's government and central bank to advance its economic objectives. The combination of these policies enables these authorities to target inflation and to increase employment. Additionally, it is designed to try to keep GDP growth at 2%–3% and the unemployment rate near the natural unemployment rate of 4%–5%. This implies that fiscal policy is used to stabilise the economy over the course of the business cycle.
An interest rate is the amount of interest due per period, as a proportion of the amount lent, deposited, or borrowed. The total interest on an amount lent or borrowed depends on the principal sum, the interest rate, the compounding frequency, and the length of time over which it is lent, deposited, or borrowed.
Monetary policy of The United States concerns those policies related to the minting & printing of money, policies governing the legal exchange of currency, demand deposits, the money supply, etc. In the United States, the central bank, The Federal Reserve System, colloquially known as "The Fed" is the monetary authority.
Monetary policy is the policy adopted by the monetary authority of a nation to control either the interest rate payable for very short-term borrowing or the money supply, often as an attempt to reduce inflation or the interest rate, to ensure price stability and general trust of the value and stability of the nation's currency.
Fractional-reserve banking is the system of banking operating in almost all countries worldwide, under which banks that take deposits from the public are required to hold a proportion of their deposit liabilities in liquid assets as a reserve, and are at liberty to lend the remainder to borrowers. Bank reserves are held as cash in the bank or as balances in the bank's account at the central bank. The country's central bank determines the minimum amount that banks must hold in liquid assets, called the "reserve requirement" or "reserve ratio". Most commercial banks hold more than this minimum amount as excess reserves.
In macroeconomics, an open market operation (OMO) is an activity by a central bank to give liquidity in its currency to a bank or a group of banks. The central bank can either buy or sell government bonds in the open market or, in what is now mostly the preferred solution, enter into a repo or secured lending transaction with a commercial bank: the central bank gives the money as a deposit for a defined period and synchronously takes an eligible asset as collateral.
Money creation, or money issuance, is the process by which the money supply of a country, or of an economic or monetary region, is increased. In most modern economies, money creation is controlled by the central banks. Money issued by central banks is termed base money. Central banks can increase the quantity of base money directly, by engaging in open market operations. However, the majority of the money supply is created by the commercial banking system in the form of bank deposits. Bank loans issued by commercial banks that practice fractional reserve banking expands the quantity of broad money to more than the original amount of base money issued by the central bank.
Bank rate, also known as discount rate in American English, is the rate of interest which a central bank charges on its loans and advances to a commercial bank. The bank rate is known by a number of different terms depending on the country, and has changed over time in some countries as the mechanisms used to manage the rate have changed.
The real economy concerns the production, purchase and flow of goods and services within an economy. It is contrasted with the financial economy, which concerns the aspects of the economy that deal purely in transactions of money and other financial assets, which represent ownership or claims to ownership of real sector goods and services.
Modern Monetary Theory or Modern Money Theory (MMT) is a heterodox macroeconomic theory that describes currency as a public monopoly and unemployment as evidence that a currency monopolist is overly restricting the supply of the financial assets needed to pay taxes and satisfy savings desires. MMT is opposed to the mainstream understanding of macroeconomic theory and has been criticized heavily by many mainstream economists.
Quantitative easing (QE) is a monetary policy action whereby a central bank purchases government bonds or other financial assets in order to inject monetary reserves into the economy to stimulate economic activity. Quantitative easing is a novel form of monetary policy that came into wide application after the financial crisis of 2007-2008. It is intended to stabilize an economic contraction when inflation is very low or negative and when standard monetary policy instruments have become ineffective. Quantitative tightening (QT) does the opposite, where for monetary policy reasons, a central bank sells off some portion of its own held or previously purchased government bonds or other financial assets, to a mix of commercial banks and other financial institutions, usually after periods of their own, earlier, quantitative easing purchases.
In financial economics, a liquidity crisis is an acute shortage of liquidity. Liquidity may refer to market liquidity, funding liquidity, or accounting liquidity. Additionally, some economists define a market to be liquid if it can absorb "liquidity trades" without large changes in price. This shortage of liquidity could reflect a fall in asset prices below their long run fundamental price, deterioration in external financing conditions, reduction in the number of market participants, or simply difficulty in trading assets.
The U.S. central banking system, the Federal Reserve, in partnership with central banks around the world, took several steps to address the subprime mortgage crisis. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated in early 2008: "Broadly, the Federal Reserve’s response has followed two tracks: efforts to support market liquidity and functioning and the pursuit of our macroeconomic objectives through monetary policy." A 2011 study by the Government Accountability Office found that "on numerous occasions in 2008 and 2009, the Federal Reserve Board invoked emergency authority under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to authorize new broad-based programs and financial assistance to individual institutions to stabilize financial markets. Loans outstanding for the emergency programs peaked at more than $1 trillion in late 2008."
The interbank lending market is a market in which banks lend funds to one another for a specified term. Most interbank loans are for maturities of one week or less, the majority being over day. Such loans are made at the interbank rate. A sharp decline in transaction volume in this market was a major contributing factor to the collapse of several financial institutions during the financial crisis of 2007–2008.
The Chicago plan was a monetary and banking reform program suggested in the wake of the Great Depression by a group of University of Chicago economists including Henry Simons, Garfield Cox, Aaron Director, Paul Douglas, Albert G. Hart, Frank Knight, Lloyd Mints and Henry Schultz. Its main provision was to require 100% reserves on deposits subject to check, so that "the creation and destruction of effective money through private lending operations would be impossible". The plan, in other words, envisaged to separate the issuing from the lending of money. This, according to its authors, would prevent the money supply from cyclically varying as bank loans were expanded or contracted. In addition, the payment system would become perfectly safe. No great monetary contraction as that of 1929-1933 could ever occur again.
The credit channel mechanism of monetary policy describes the theory that a central bank's policy changes affect the amount of credit that banks issue to firms and consumers for purchases, which in turn affects the real economy.
The financial crisis of 2007–2008, or Global Financial Crisis (GFC), was a severe worldwide economic crisis that occurred in the early 21st century. It was the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression (1929). Predatory lending targeting low-income homebuyers, excessive risk-taking by global financial institutions, and the bursting of the United States housing bubble culminated in a "perfect storm." Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) tied to American real estate, as well as a vast web of derivatives linked to those MBS, collapsed in value. Financial institutions worldwide suffered severe damage, reaching a climax with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, and a subsequent international banking crisis.
The Sukhamoy Chakravarty Committee was formed in December 1982 under the chairmanship of Prof. Sukhamoy Chakroborty to assess the functioning of the Indian Monetary system. Its goal was to improve monetary regulation, a feat that was hoped would enable price stability. The committee, which submitted its report in April 1985, believed that price stability was essential for promoting growth and achieving other social objectives.
Anil K. Kashyap is the Stevens Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Finance at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. Kashyap's research focuses on price setting, the Japanese economy, monetary policy, financial intermediation and regulation. As an author, he is held in libraries worldwide.