By Mr. Robert P. Bremner
William McChesney Martin Jr. (no relation to me, so far as i do know) is a crucial determine in US heritage. He led the Federal Reserve process from 1951 to 1970, effectively protecting its independence in 5 administrations. this is often the 1st, and thus far the one, book-length biography of him.
after all, the Fed's enterprise is financial coverage, a dizzyingly abstruse topic. yet Robert P. Bremner explains it so lucidly that even I, with just a rudimentary wisdom of economics, used to be in a position to realize it.
whilst the Fed's financial coverage is going unsuitable, the implications are stark: failed companies, misplaced jobs, misplaced rate reductions. not just do abstractions like GDP or CPI elicit consternation, yet actual humans round the kingdom endure crushing reverses. through an analogous token, financial coverage is designed and conducted via actual individuals with actual supporters and rivals, households and careers, rules and goals. Robert P. Bremner attracts sufficient sketches of the most characters in William McChesney Martin's existence and paintings, yet I want he'd rounded them out a piece extra. particularly i believe he is too nonjudgmental approximately Martin's competitors.
to understand Martin's virtues, although, it is not essential to distinction them together with his competitors' vices. Bremner recounts Martin's error in addition to his successes--indeed, Martin himself in 1970 took the blame for failing to dodge what he known as "the wildest inflation because the Civil War." however the individual and public servant who emerges from those pages is unfailingly devoted, courageous--and sincere. these have been the times.
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Extra info for Chairman of the Fed: William McChesney Martin Jr., and the Creation of the Modern American Financial System
Martin decided to deal with the brokers’ bank idea by forming a board of independent financial experts to study the issue. Martin turned to Carle Conway, the industrialist with whom he had worked to produce the widely admired Conway report that had initiated the Exchange’s reform process. Conway helped recruit Roswell McGill, a former undersecretary of the Treasury, as well as two leading commercial bankers. Armed with his committee, officially known as the Public Examining Board (PEB), Martin sought to persuade Frank of the PEB’s independence and that both institutions should abide by its recommendations.
Frank gave new life to the concept of a trust institution, which he called ‘‘brokers’ banks,’’ to hold the cash balances of and provide margin loans to brokerage houses’ customers. This was an issue on which even Douglas had been increasingly inclined to compromise. Frank chose one of the most divisive issues between the SEC and the Exchange as a platform to launch his chairmanship. In a single stroke, Frank had undermined moderate but steady progress toward 44 Augean Stables of Capitalism reform.
But he expressed his reservations about the failure to deal with the far-reaching reforms he had proposed: ‘‘We recognize that this program is an intermediate program to fill immediately a real need . . ’’∞π Douglas’s response to Martin’s program reflected pressure on Douglas from the SEC’s liberal wing to pursue fundamental reform at the Exchange coupled with Douglas’s own sense of urgency to move decisively during the early years of his chairmanship. The relationship between Douglas and Martin started to show the strain of their conflicting priorities.
Chairman of the Fed: William McChesney Martin Jr., and the Creation of the Modern American Financial System by Mr. Robert P. Bremner