Mostly Economicsフリードマン中央銀行の独立性に関する意外な見方が紹介されている。
ソースは、影の公開市場委員会(Shadow Open Market Committee=SOMC)*1文書サイトにあるアンナ・シュワルツの小論

It may be of some surprise that Milton Friedman, a believer in limited government, proposed subordinating the Fed to the Treasury department not as an ideal but as an improvement of existing arrangements. He contended that it would result in a single locus of power on monetary and fiscal policies, and would establish accountability for mistakes in policy that otherwise leave each institution free to blame the other for policy errors.
According to Friedman, even if there were a central bank that had independence to the furthest extent, it would still be independent only if it had no conflict with the rest of government. If there were a conflict, the bank would unquestionably give way to the fiscal authorities. He goes further, stating that even if a fully independent bank could be established, it would not be desirable to do so for political and technical reasons. The political reason is that in a democracy it would be wrong to place such concentrated power in a group free from any kind of direct political control. “The rule of law rather than of men is hard to reconcile with the approval of an independent central bank in any meaningful way. The kind of limited discretion left by even the best of laws in the hands of those administering them is a far cry indeed from the kind of far-reaching powers that the laws establishing central banks generally place in the hands of a small number of men” (1987, 434-5).
Friedman’s technical reason for opposing central bank independence is that at its founding, the monetary regime under which the Fed operated was the gold standard. The overriding objective of the Fed was to maintain the fixed rate of exchange between the dollar and other countries’ currencies. Central bank independence was a technicality. Once the gold standard lost its dominant features, independence became meaningful.
Friedman points to the fact that in terms of the functions performed, the Fed was hardly ever the sole authority in the government that had essential monetary powers. Before the Fed existed, the Treasury exercised essential monetary powers, and at times similar to those of a central bank. From 1933 to 1941, the Fed was passive and the Treasury predominantly took over monetary powers and engaged in open market operations of buying and selling securities. It created and destroyed money in its gold and silver purchases and sales. It used the Exchange Stabilization Fund as another device for engaging in open market operations. In sterilizing it engaged in monetary actions.
The Fed printed money and made book entries called money, and had control over these limited monetary matters.
Friedman lists three more technical defects of an independent central bank: shirking responsibility in times of uncertainty and difficulty; dependence on personalities which fosters instability; subject to undue influence to the opinions of bankers. The connection between the central bank and the banking community obfuscates the difference between problems the central bank faces in the credit market and the problems of monetary policy.
According to Friedman, it would be much more efficient if the Fed did all the borrowing and all of the managing of the debt and the Treasury, when it had a deficit, financed it by getting money from the Fed, and when it had a surplus handed it over to the Fed.

フリードマンによると、中央銀行が最大限の独立を獲得するとしても、政府の他部門との軋轢が無い限りにおいての独立に留まるべき、とのことである。もし軋轢が生じたならば、間違いなく中銀の方が財務当局に対して折れるべきである。さらに彼は、完全に独立した中銀の設立が可能だとしても、政治的ならびに技術的理由によりそれは望ましくない、とまで述べた。政治的な理由とは、民主主義体制下で、いかなる直接的な政治的コントロールも受けない組織にそれだけの権限を集中させるのは間違い、ということだ。「人治ではなく法治の考えからすると、独立した中央銀行というのは、いかなる意味においても受け容れがたい。最良の法でも執行者の裁量を限定しており、そのことは、中央銀行の設立を定めた法が少数の人間に通常付与する強大な権限と大いなる落差がある」(Friedman, Milton. “Should There Be an Independent Monetary Authority?” In The Essence of Friedman, edited by Kurt R. Leube, pp. 429-445. California: Hoover Institution Press, 1987., 434-5)

最後の文章についてMostly EconomicsのAmol Agrawalは、現在は逆になっている――即ち、FRB(や他の中央銀行)が黒字を財務省に納め、赤字は財務省から補填されている――とコメントしている。


I do not agree with Friedman’s definition of the optimal relationship between the Treasury and the Fed. It concedes supremacy to the Treasury to a greater extent than the Fed accorded voluntarily to it in agreeing to even keel, according to which the Fed refrained from changing credit conditions in the market during the interval when the Treasury was issuing a new security.

I believe the Treasury’s policies during peacetime are not necessarily preferable to monetary policies that give priority to maintaining the purchasing power of the currency over the long run. The Fed is more immune to political pressure than the Treasury is. Political control in the hands of uninformed legislators is hardly the summum bonum of a monetary system that provides financial stability and public trust of financial activity.