By Stephen Bell
The Reserve financial institution of Australia (RBA) led a pretty conservative life till the early Nineteen Eighties while the economic climate skilled waves of monetary industry deregulation and basic financial liberalization. This ebook tells the tale of economic coverage and the political position of the Reserve financial institution over the last twenty years. It unearths how the financial institution has been used as a "political football", describes conflicts with the govt. and the dept of Treasury, and the way the financial institution eventually adjusted to political turmoil and controlled to say a degree of independence within the Nineteen Nineties.
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Additional info for Australia's Money Mandarins: The Reserve Bank and the Politics of Money
The economic and financial turbulence of the 1970s, plus the burgeoning growth of the unregulated non-bank financial sector had helped place a financial enquiry on the policy agenda. Neither the Treasury nor the Reserve Bank was keen on the idea of a full-scale enquiry into the financial system and worried about where it might lead. Prime Minister Fraser did want an enquiry but was not an advocate of large-scale financial deregulation; which is what the Campbell Committee ended up endorsing. 72 As we will see in later chapters, Hewson was later to become Leader of the Liberal–National Opposition, a position from which he would launch a series of attacks and reform efforts directed at the RBA.
54 FURTHER INTO THE POLICY WILDERNESS Labor’s expansionary settings (partly inherited from the electorally inspired expansionism of the Fraser government) saw the economy rebound in 1983–84 and the recession ended. Inflation was also coming down and the Accord seemed to be moderating wages. But Labor soon encountered problems. The chief one was that the Accord was a solution to the macroeconomic problems of the 1970s, not the 1980s and beyond. Stagflation and wage blow-outs had been replaced by chronic balance of payments problems – rising national debt and growing current account deficits – together with mounting pressure from financial markets.
By the early 1990s this had created an almost fully liberalised financial system across the advanced capitalist economies, in which the activity of financial markets grew explosively. Financial interests became powerful players in the new deregulated political economy of free market finance. Another major change was the outbreak of inflation. By 1975, a deep recession came with an extraordinary increase in prices. In Australia, the rate of infla- I N T O T H E M O N E TA R Y P O L I C Y W I L D E R N E S S 33 tion surged to almost 18 per cent.