What is 'Monetarism'

A set of views based on the belief that inflation depends on how much money the government prints. It is closely associated with Milton Friedman, who argued, based on the quantity theory of money, that the government should keep the money supply fairly steady, expanding it slightly each year mainly to allow for the natural growth of the economy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Monetarism'

Monetarism had its heyday in the early 1980s, when economists, governments and investors eagerly jumped at every new money supply statistic. In the years that followed, however, monetarism fell out of favor with economists, and the link between different measures of money supply and inflation proved to be less clear than most monetarist theories had suggested. Many central banks today have stopped setting monetary targets and instead have adopted strict inflation targets.

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