terça-feira, 7 de outubro de 2008

Uma boa história: Austriacos versus Monetaristas (e Keynesianos)

Ou Mises versus Milton Friedman.

Murray N. Rothbard: "There can be no genuine laboratory experiments in human affairs, but we came as close as we ever will in 1968, and still more definitively in 1971. Here were two firm and opposing sets of predictions: the Misesians, who stated that if the dollar and gold were cut loose, the price of gold in ever-more inflated dollars would zoom upward; and the massed economic Establishment, from Friedman to Samuelson, and even including such ex-Misesians as Fritz Machlup, maintaining that the price of gold would, if cut free, plummet from $35 to $6 an ounce.

The allegedly eternal system of Bretton Woods collapsed in 1968. The gold price kept creeping above $35 an ounce in the free gold markets of London and Zurich; while the Treasury, committed to maintaining the price of gold at $35, increasingly found itself drained of gold to keep the gold price down. Individual Europeans and other foreigners realized that because of this Treasury commitment, the dollar was, for them, in essence redeemable in gold bullion at $35 an ounce. Since they saw that dollars were really worth a lot less and gold a lot more than that, these foreigners kept accelerating that redemption. Finally, in 1968, the United States and other countries agreed to scuttle much of Bretton Woods, and to establish a “two-tier” gold system. The governments and their central banks would keep the $35 redeemability among themselves as before, but they would seal themselves off hermetically from the pesky free gold market, allowing that price to rise or fall as it may. In 1971, however, the rest of the Bretton Woods system collapsed. Increasingly such hard-money countries as West Germany, France, and Switzerland, getting ever more worried about the depreciating dollar, began to break the gentlemen’s rules and insist on redeeming their dollars in gold, as they had a right to do. But as soon as a substantial number of European countries were no longer content to inflate on top of depreciating dollars, and demanded gold instead, the entire system inevitably collapsed. In effect declaring national bankruptcy on August 15, 1971, President Nixon took the United States off the last shred of a gold standard and put an end to Bretton Woods.

Gold and the dollar was thus cut loose in two stages. From 1968 to 1971, governments and their central banks maintained the $35 rate among themselves, while allowing a freely-fluctuating private gold market. From 1971 on, even the fiction of $35 was abandoned.

What then of the laboratory experiment? Flouting all the predictions of the economic Establishment, there was no contest as between themselves and the Misesians: not once did the price of gold on the free market fall below $35. Indeed it kept rising steadily, and after 1971 it vaulted upward, far beyond the once seemingly absurdly high price of $70 an ounce.[3] Here was a clear-cut case where the Misesian forecasts were proven gloriously and spectacularly correct, while the Keynesian and Friedmanite predictions proved to be spectacularly wrong. What, it might well be asked, was the reaction of the Establishment, all allegedly devoted to the view that “science is prediction,” and of Milton Friedman, who likes to denounce Austrians for supposedly failing empirical tests? Did he or they, graciously acknowledge their error and hail Mises and his followers for being right? To ask that question is to answer it. To paraphrase Mencken, that sort of thing will happen the Saturday before the Tuesday before the Resurrection Morn."

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário