On December 6, 2010, George Selgin of the University of Georgia spoke with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 has been a boon or a bust for the U.S. economy. The interview can be downloaded here.
Drawing on a recent paper with William Lastrapes and Lawrence White recently released by the Cato Institute, "Has the Fed Been a Failure?", Selgin argues that the Fed has done poorly at two missions often deemed to justify a Central Bank: lender of last resort and smoother of the business cycle. Selgin makes the case that avoiding bank runs and bank panics does not require a central bank and that contrary to received wisdom, it is hard to argue that the Fed has smoothed the business cycle. Additional topics discussed include whether the Fed has the information to do its jobs well, the role of the Fed in moral hazard, and the potential for the gold standard to outperform the Fed.
For further viewing:
"George Selgin on Free Banking", 8-Part Video Presentation at Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, April 12, 2010