Federal Reserve

Should We Abolish the Federal Reserve?

Economists Lawrence H. White and Frederic Mishkin debate whether the Federal Reserve should be replaced with free market institutions.


On January 26, economists Lawrence H. White and Frederic Mishkin debated the resolution, "Replacing the Federal Reserve with free market institutions would significantly improve the economy's money, banking, and financial systems." The debate was held at New York City's Sheen Center and hosted by The Soho Forum, which receives fiscal sponsorship from Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason.

Arguing the affirmative was White, a professor of economics at George Mason University. His forthcoming book Better Money: Gold, Fiat, or Bitcoin? (Cambridge University Press, 2023) compares and contrasts alternative monetary standards. Best known for his work on market-based monetary systems, White is the author of Free Banking in Britain (1984), Competition and Currency (1989), and The Theory of Monetary Institutions (1999), and co-editor of Renewing the Search for a Monetary Constitution (2015). His research has appeared in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, The Economic History Review, and other leading economics journals. He's also a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a distinguished senior fellow at the Mercatus Center.

Mishkin, who argued the negative, is the Alfred Lerner professor of banking and financial institutions at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. From September 2006 to August 2008, he served on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He was previously a senior fellow at the FDIC Center for Banking Research and president of the Eastern Economic Association. From 1994 to 1997, he was executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as well as an associate economist of the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve System. Mishkin's research focuses on monetary policy and its impact on financial markets and the aggregate economy.