Developmental Central Banking: Winning the Future by Updating a Page from the Past
Gerald Epstein | 8/5/2013

The ongoing Great Financial Crisis that began in 20072008 has dramatically called into question the previously dominant neoliberal approach to macroeconomic and financial policy. Unfortunately, these lessons are being learned in a highly uneven manner and in some important circles, not at all. In light of this struggle to adopt developmentally friendly financial structures, it is critical that the history and practices of these policies, as well as their costs and benefits, be well understood. There is much rich history of developmental finance and central banking to draw from and many lessons to be found there.

In this article for Review of Keynesian Economics, Gerald Epstein surveys some of this history, focusing on the late twentieth century, including a discussion of policies undertaken following the Great Financial Crisis. The major lesson he draws is that developmental roles of central banks and related financial institutions have been the dominant approach in many periods since the mid-twentieth century at least, and that the neoliberal approach to these policies is much more the exception than the rule. The way forward out of this crisis is to recognize the current policies for what they are experiments in more developmental policy and to build on them for the longer run, rather than see them as exceptional aberrations that should be abandoned at the first opportunity.

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