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John Kenneth Galbraith

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691171661

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691171661.001.0001

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The Threat of the Impossible

The Threat of the Impossible

(p.229) Chapter 15 The Threat of the Impossible

John Kenneth Galbraith

James K. Galbraith

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the question of inflation during the tenure of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The election of Roosevelt as president of the United States in 1933 had deepened the fear of inflation. A few economists began to argue for the commodity dollar—for a currency that owed its merit not to its gold content but to its constant purchasing power. This constant purchasing power, it was believed, was true currency stabilization. The Economic and Monetary Conference of 1933 hoped to allow the countries that were still on the gold standard to persuade those that had departed gold to stabilize their currencies. The chapter considers the views of John Maynard Keynes regarding Roosevelt's stand on inflation and Irving Fisher's equation of exchange in which he insisted that money supply should be varied in such fashion as to keep prices stable. It also discusses the Federal Reserve System's monetary policy.

Keywords:   inflation, Franklin D. Roosevelt, currency stabilization, gold standard, John Maynard Keynes, Irving Fisher, money supply, Federal Reserve System, monetary policy

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