chapter  1
Successes and failures of monetary policy since the 1950s
ByDAVID LAIDLER
Pages 31

Of the forty-two countries listed in a recent Economist (23-29 June 2007) ‘league table’ of inflation rates, only two (Venezuela and Egypt) had experienced inflation in double digits over the previous year, and a further nine (Hungary, Russia, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Argentina, Columbia and South Africa) inflation in excess of 5 per cent. To someone who believes that the main thing to be asked of monetary policy is a modicum of price-level stability, the assigned title of this chapter presents a strong temptation to label it as an art that has at last been widely mastered, and, given that this is the Bundesbank’s fiftieth birthday, to add that perhaps this is because so many central banks have recently been following the good example that this institution set for so long.