Complacent Eno 22nd May 2009
Brian Eno’s vision of a resurgence in live music tours and festivals (May) is all very well, but it ignores those musicians who are too old or sick to tour—or are disinclined to because they have families. Even those who do tour incessantly don’t usually make enough for niceties like health insurance and have to run the risks of traffic accidents and having their gear stolen. These things may not be evident from behind the mixing desk at a U2 session, but I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking Eno should get out into the fresh air more often and see how the other 90 per cent live. He’s far too valuable an artist and intellect to get this complacent.
Ed Ward Montpelier, France
Quantitative trouble 15th June 2009
I am flattered to be described as an “intellectual author” of quantitative easing, but very puzzled by Jonathan Ford’s other comments (June) on my position in the economic policy debate.
In late 2008 British officialdom was in a dreadful muddle about how to conduct macroeconomic policy and wrongly focused on bank lending to the private sector. In my pamphlet for the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation on how to stop the recession (February 2009), I argued that the answer was to increase the quantity of money, thereby easing the corporate cash squeeze and ending the downward pressures on demand. In similar circumstances in late 1992 and 1993 I recommended much the same approach, although it was then labelled “under-funding” rather than quantitative easing.
The answer to deflation is to raise the rate of money growth, just as the answer to inflation is to reduce the rate of money growth. To call me a “hair-shirted monetarist” is silliness. Ford might as well refer to Keynes in the same terms. In the closing pages of his Treatise on Money (1930), Keynes prescribed monetary policy—large-scale asset purchases by central banks—as the last possible option to halt a collapse that we now know as the great depression. In their monetary effects, quantitative easing, under-funding and monetary policy come to much the same thing. They are all ways of ensuring that the quantity of money continues to grow, even if the private sector is repaying its bank borrowings.
Tim Congdon Chief Executive, International Monetary Research
Food porkies 11th June 2009
Vivienne Parry (June) calls the view that industrial…