Guido has had a call round the centre-right think-tanks and found that traditional support for sound money policies is now non-existent. Even the Institute of Economic Affairs’ shadow MPC unanimously supports quantitative easing.
The IEA is London’s spiritual home of Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, and it was the IEA which in the middle of the 1976 global monetary crisis produced a pamphlet by Hayek; Denationalisation of Money. Guido has an original edition, it was in this groundbreaking work that Hayek argued that the government monopoly of money must be abolished to stop recurring bouts of inflation and deflation. How he must be turning in his grave to see the IEA advocate what he spent his life opposing.
Sound money was the traditional cry of conservatives the world over, Cameron even used the phrase in his speech to the Conservative Party conference as recently as last year. It is clear however that Osborne and Cameron have, in the face of a wider intellectual retreat, given up on sound money and are going along with quantitative easing – a mistake as momentous as their acceptance of Gordon’s spending levels. In all of Westminster’s Wonkland surveyed by Guido, only Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute is opposed to QE (also known as printing money). Policy Exchange’s newly hired chief economist, Andrew Lilico, told Guido there was no other choice. Lilico also told Guido that if QE was successful inflation and interest rates would be as low as 10% each in a couple of years – some success.
So Guido is looking forward to James Tyler’s speech tonight at Policy Exchange. Little known outside the City’s money markets – in which he is one of the largest and most invisible players – he is going to sound the cry for sound money in terms that Hayek would approve. All is not lost – Russian and Chinese economic policy makers have read their Hayek – and are said to be preparing to propose a new, more Hayekian monetary order after this credit crisis has abated. Sometimes it takes a crisis to precipitate a solution…