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Helicopter Money: Why Some Economists Are Talking About Dropping Money From the Sky - by Neil Erwin

For years, central banks have been doing everything they can think of to try to get higher inflation and stronger growth. The next step just may be a metaphorical helicopter, high above Tokyo. The Bank of Japan met Friday to decide on the next steps in its long battle against deflation, or falling prices, and analysts had thought it might pursue some coordinated effort with the Japanese government using an idea with a long historical lineage.

“Helicopter money” is the term economists and market-watchers use for an aggressive form of monetary stimulus — the government’s power to print money — to try to spur growth and get inflation higher. There had been buzz that the Bank of Japan could move in that direction, but it elected to take only a smaller action. The bank did say it would do a “comprehensive review” of policy in the months to come that could presage more coordination between the bank and the Japanese government.

It is an idea based on a metaphor used by the renowned economist Milton Friedman nearly five decades ago and given new life in this century by Ben Bernanke. It is also a policy that has echoes of some of the great catastrophes of economic history. And regardless of what, if anything, the Japanese central bank does this fall, if the global economy’s deflationary doldrums continue, expect the discussion around these metaphorical helicopters to get louder. They say desperate times demand desperate measures. Helicopter money is what monetary policy desperation looks like.

Read complete report  - click hrtr Helicopter Money: Why Some Economists Are Talking About Dropping Money From the Sky - The New York Times

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