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May 7, 2010 Reading Time: < 1 minute

“The present financial crisis has set in bold relief the Jekyll and Hyde nature of contemporary central banks. It has made apparent both our utter dependence on such banks as instruments for assuring the continuous flow of credit in the aftermath of a financial bust and the same institutions’ capacity to fuel the financial booms that make severe busts possible in the first place.

Yet theoretical treatments of central banking place almost exclusive emphasis on its stabilizing capacity—that is, on central banks’ role in managing the growth of national monetary aggregates and in supplying last-resort loans to troubled financial (and sometimes nonfinancial) firms in times of financial distress.”

George Selgin (2010)
Central Banks as Sources of Financial Instability
Independent Review, Volume 14, Number 4

Marius Gustavson

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