When the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of England purchased bank and state debt during the 2007–2008 crisis, it became apparent that, when technically divorced from fiscal policy, monetary policy cannot revive but only prevent economic activity deteriorating further. Pixley explains how conflicting social forces shape the diverse, complex relations of central banks to the money production of democracies and the immense money creation by capitalist banking. Central banks are never politically neutral and, despite unfair demands, are unable to prevent collapses to debt deflation or credit/asset inflation. They can produce debilitating depressions but not the recoveries desired in democracies and unwanted by capitalist banks or war finance logics. Drawing on economic sociology and economic histories, this book will appeal to informed readers interested in studying democracies, banks and central banking's ambivalent positions, via comparative and distributive perspectives.
Explains how specific socio-political forces fostered different capitalist economies, democratic states and diverse central banks, and the effects of drastic historical changes
Examines the shifting relations between central banks and their two demanding bank clients, governments and finance sectors, from WW1 to the present
Takes a multi-disciplinary and distributional approach to ill-understood central banks, incorporating economic sociology and economic histories
Jocelyn Pixley is an Honorary Professor at Macquarie University, Sydney, and Professorial Research Fellow with the Global Policy Institute at London Metropolitan University. An economic sociologist, her fieldwork involves interviewing top officials in financial centres. She is the author of Emotions in Finance (2nd ed, Cambridge, 2012), and edited a volume on the same theme in 2012. With Geoff Harcourt, she edited the volume Financial Crises and the Nature of Capitalist Money (2013).
1. Who wanted central banks?
2. War finance, private banks, shared monetary sovereignty
3. Peace finance in bankers' ramps, 1920s–1930s
4. Central banks, democratic hopes, 1930s–1970s
5. Vietnam War, dollar float and Nixon
6. The great inflation scare of Phillips curve myths
7. Pseudo-independent central banks and inflation target prisons
8. The state of monetary sovereignty
9. Searching for the absurd in central banking.