By Marriner Eccles (translation by Stephanie Kelton)
After I shared a few thoughts on the impending decision to replace Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, I couldn’t help revisiting the writings of Marriner Eccles. Eccles was a Republican and a businessman who, by the age of 22, had become a millionaire with an impressive record of restructuring and consolidating balance sheets (including those of financial institutions) to withstand the turmoil of the Great Depression. In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt tapped Eccles to head the Federal Reserve, a position he held until 1948.
The following memo – written May 19, 1938 – gives you a flavor of the way Eccles thought about important issues related to financial stability and macroeconomic policy. What he doesn’t say is at least as important as what he does. For those who struggle with econo-speak, my own plain-speak is interspersed throughout.