Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Think Tank Trying to Overthrow the Federal Reserve?

The libertarian Cato Institute has just established a new institute whose stated goal is to "challenge the Federal Reserve and the financial regulators in a way they haven't been challenged in 100 years."

The new entity, the Center for Monetary & Financial Alternatives, will focus on development of policy recommendations that will create a more free-market monetary system in the US.

Cato also said that the new Center will explore policy options that include the creation of a private deposit insurance pool for small depositors, as well as measures that would expose the largest financial institutions to a genuine risk of failure, and thereby compel them to either acquire more capital or take fewer risks.

Here is more about the Center:
George Selgin, a Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Georgia and one of the foremost authorities on banking and monetary theory and history, gave up his academic tenure to join Cato as director of the new center.
Luminaries from the banking policy world who have signed on to the Executive Advisory Council for the new Center include Richard Kovacevich, Chairman Emeritus of Wells Fargo, and George Melloan, former Deputy Editor of the Wall Street Journal.
The Council of Academic Advisors includes two Nobel Laureates in Economics, Thomas J. Sargent, from New York University, and Vernon L. Smith of Chapman University. John B. Taylor, a professor of economics at Stanford, Richard Timberlake, professor emeritus from the University of Georgia, and Guillermo Calvo, a professor of economics at Columbia University, also serve on the council.
James A. Dorn, Vice President for Monetary Studies and the long-time director of Cato’s annual monetary conference, will play a major roll in management of the Center. Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies at Cato, will also move to the new Center. Before joining Cato in 2009, Calabria served six years as a senior staff member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

A full list of advisors, fellows, and adjunct scholars connected to the new Center can be found here.  Cato is throwing a lot of weight and power into the new Center, which will have no less than 40 affiliated advisors/scholars.

The Wall Street Journal says that Cato's new Center boasts some heavy hitters in the economics world.  It notes that the think tank has raised about $9 million from a "number of independent contributors" for the center, enough to fund it for five years.  The Center will reportedly have 10 full-time personnel.

In related news, Cato will be holding its 32nd Annual Monetary Conference on November 6.

The Cato Institute was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 9th best think tank in the US.