The Rediscovery of the Business Cycle
In 1978, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve made it clear in a publication the Charles C. Moskowitz Memorial Lectures stating:
“The Rediscovery of the Business Cycle – is a sign of the times. Not much more than a decade ago, in what now seems a more innocent age, the ‘New Economics’ had become orthodoxy. Its basic tenet, repeated in similar words in speech after speech, in article after article, was described by one of its leaders as ‘the conviction that business cycles were not inevitable, that government policy could and should keep the economy close to a path of steady real growth at a constant target rate of unemployment.’
“Of course, some minor fluctuations in economic activity were not ruled out. But the impression was conveyed that they were more the consequence of misguided political judgments, of practical men beguiled by the mythology of the old orthodoxy of balanced budgets, and of occasional errors in forecasting than of deficiency in our basic knowledge of how the economy worked, or in the adequacy of the tools of policy. The avant-garde of the profession began to look elsewhere – to problems of welfare economics and income distribution – for new challenges.
“Of course, the handling of the economic consequences of the Vietnam War was an obvious blot on the record – but that, after all, reflected more political than economic judgments. By the early 1970s, the persistence of inflationary pressures, even in the face of mild recession, began to flash some danger signals; the responses of the economy to the twisting of the dials of monetary and fiscal policy no longer seemed quite so predictable. But it was not until the events of 1974 and 1975, when a recession sprung on an unsuspecting world with an intensity unmatched in the post-World War II period, that the lessons of the ‘New Economics’ were seriously challenged.”