Central Bankers at the End of Their Rope? Monetary Policy and the Coming Depresssion. Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press, 2017; 361 pp.: ISBN 9780986085390, $26.95
In his new book Central Bankers at the End of their Rope, Jack Rasmus analyzes the dynamics of central banking, which are topical, intriguing, and developing in a contradictory way. The book consists of 11 chapters and a conclusion. More than half of the book is devoted to the analysis of the US Federal Reserve System. In the first two theoretical chapters, Rasmus discusses the functions, tools, and contradictions of central banking in a succinct, consistent, and logical way. The author admits that contemporary central banks perform only three functions: the lender of last resort, money supply regulator, and the supervisor of the private banking system. The author discusses the reasons that central banks have difficulties in performing their functions. These include globalization, technological changes, the loss of money supply control (because of the activity of non-bank multinational corporations), the emergence and development of shadow banking, and the frequency of price bubbles.
For his analysis, Rasmus has chosen the 'superstars' of central banking: the US Federal Reserve System, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and the Bank of the People's Republic of China. The motives of the choice are left for the readers to guess (e.g. the Central Bank of Sweden is also the oldest in the world; thus, the question of why it has not been chosen arises). This book also does not contain a separate methodological chapter. Descriptive, statistical, critical evaluation, and logical classification methods have been employed. In Chapter 3, the author has skillfully revealed the emergence of the origins of the central bank. For an expert in the field, this is not new information; however, for students and the general public, this is a very concise and well-structured analysis of central banking evolution. Chapters 4 and 5 are related to the chairmen of the US Federal Reserve System (Burns, Carter-Miller, Volcker, Greenspan, and Bernanke). It should be noted that Greenspans Bank is metaphorically compared with the monster Typhon from Greek mythology. According to Rasmus, 'Typhon Monster is unlimited escalation and acceleration of liquidity growth in the US and the global economy (p. 94)'. The author maintains a critical position and grounds his arguments on...