mon·​e·​tar·​ism | \ ˈmä-nə-tə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce monetarism (audio) also ˈmə-\

Definition of monetarism

: a theory in economics that stable economic growth can be assured only by control of the rate of increase of the money supply to match the capacity for growth of real productivity

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Other Words from monetarism

monetarist \ ˈmä-​nə-​tə-​rist How to pronounce monetarist (audio) also  ˈmə-​ \ noun or adjective

Examples of monetarism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Only devotees of Friedman’s strict monetarism could deny that the new leaders will have a tough act to follow. Tom Saler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tom Saler: Inflation is a baffling phenomenon," 23 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'monetarism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of monetarism

1969, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

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The first known use of monetarism was in 1969

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Financial Definition of monetarism

What It Is

Monetarism is a well-known macroeconomic school of thought developed by Milton Friedman.

How It Works

The Great Depression and its resulting high unemployment greatly influenced the development of macroeconomics. In 1936, John Maynard Keynes published "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money," which theorized that government spending and tax policies could be used to stabilize economies. This Keynesian school of economic thought argues that an increase in government expenditures or a reduction in taxes will stimulate an economy; likewise, a reduction in government expenditures or an increase in taxes will constrict an economy and reduce inflation.

Later, Friedman developed another well-known macroeconomic school of thought called monetarism, which rejected Keynes's fiscal policy idea and stated instead that regulating the money supply was the key to economic stability. Friedman published several books on a variety of topics, but his most well-known is "Studies in the Quantity Theory of Money," published in 1956.

Why It Matters

Monetarists generally believe that inflation mostly depends on how much money the government prints. The idea is that when more money is available, more people will spend money, which increases demand for goods and services, which drives their prices up. Whether this is correct is the subject of decades of debate, and there is less controversy about whether the theories are right than there is about how much influence the government should have in any economy. Ultimately, the overall goal of monetarism is to maintain long-term economic prosperity or, more cynically, to promote an economy that is in line with the government's political goals.

Source: Investing Answers

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