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FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS Does Money Matter?

By Laurence H. Meyer

Abstract

is always a pleasure to return to St. Louis and to Washington University and to see so many friends and former colleagues. But it is a special pleasure to be here for this occasion, the Homer Jones Lecture. Homer Jones was still active at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis when I arrived at Washington University in 1969, and his wife, Alice, was a faculty member in the economics department. I had the pleasure of getting to know both. Homer was special in many ways. He was, of course, a leader in building the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and in orienting it toward a monetarist perspective. But there was also the remarkable contrast of his strong convictions and his gentle manner. It was a combination to both admire and emulate. I admit I may have been more successful in emulating the strong convictions than the gentle manner. But that only makes me admire Homer even more. I can remember vividly my first visit to St. Louis and Washington University in early 1969. I was a graduate student at MIT visiting the university in search of an appointment as an assistant professor of economics. I was picked up at the airport and delivered to my hotel, in advance of my seminar at the university the following day. When I walked into my hotel room, a small sign on a desk immediately caught my attention. It read: “Money matters. ” My first reaction was awe at the reach of the St. Louis Fed. They take this monetarism bit pretty seriously, I thought. It turned out in fact to be an ad for a local commercial bank, not for the St. Louis Fed. But the story about this incident provided a humorous opening to my seminar the next day. I was nervous, so getting the seminar off to a good start with an amusing story helped. It gave me momentum. And look where I ended up. So when I considered topics for the Homer Jones Lecture, I thought of monetarism and the role of money. My mind quickly took me back to that incident, and I took as my title, “Does Money Matter?” What I had in mind was an assessment of monetarism’s role in shaping current thinking abou

Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.189.4393
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