Anna Schwartz obituary as published by AIER

rcwhalen's picture

Below is the obit for Anna Schwartz writen by my friend Walker Todd of American Institute for Economic Research -- Chris


AIER [website homepage,]

Anna Jacobson Schwartz, 1915-2012


Written by Walker F. Todd, PhD, JD, and Enrolled Agent, Research Fellow


Friday, 29 June 2012


One of the great American monetary economists, Anna Schwartz, died

Thursday, June 21, 2012, in New York City. She was 96 years old.


I first met Anna Schwartz in 1987, and we subsequently became friends.

Anna knew several of the monetary scholars who attended AIER’s summer

programs, and she visited and contributed articles to AIER over the

last 15 years or so.


Anna was best known as co-author with Milton Friedman of A Monetary

History of the United States, 1867-1960 (1963). She also was the staff

director of the United States Gold Commission, 1981-1982. Critics

sometimes misinterpret the Commission’s final report. They say that

the report should have taken a forthright stand in favor of the return

of the gold standard.


In a telephone interview during AIER’s May 2004 conference on the

feasibility of resuming the gold standard, Anna observed that the

staff could report only recommendations that the Commission was

prepared to make. Most members of the Commission were willing to go

only so far as to recommend that the U.S. Treasury issue commemorative

gold coins.


Anna noted that President Ronald Reagan was presumably in favor of the

return of gold and that he appointed several members of the

commission, including members of the executive branch. As she put it,

the Republican appointees were waiting for a signal from the White

House that never came. Her own role frequently was misunderstood, but

she faithfully reported the actual state of mind of that commission,

as was her custom. Rest in peace, Anna, for an intellectual life well



—Walker F. Todd, Research Fellow


Below are links to some of Anna's articles:

    "Globalization"—Sep, 2007

    "What to do About the Dollar"—Jan, 2007

    "The 1981-82 Gold Commission"—May, 2004

    "Risks to the Long-Term Stability of the Euro"—Sept, 2004

    "What to Do About the Dollar"—May, 2005

    "Bailout’s Purchase Plan Remains Unclear"—Oct, 2008

    "Geithner in an Ideal World"—Mar, 2009 • 1 (888) 528-1216 • 1 (413) 528-1216 • 250 Division St

• PO Box 1000 • Great Barrington • MA • 01230-1000


Copyright © 2011 American Institute for Economic Research




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newengland's picture

Anna Schwartz, a truly remarkable woman, intelligent, kind, fearless thinker,  RIP.

ceilidh_trail's picture

Politics aside, kinda sad it took 9-10 days for us to notice that she died. May she rest in peace. Nothing personal against him, but, all I've heard today is that Andy Griffith died and tom cruise is gettin a deee-vorce. We are still too lobotomized to pay attention to any news outside of popular entertainment. RIP Andy as well- you where one of the good ones.

disabledvet's picture

Was it Andy Griffith who had a (brief) TV show about some "regular folks" launching a rocket to get a satellite made out of gold?

AchtungAffen's picture

Friedmanite monetarist... but no, only Keynes is the devil incarnate...

Snakeeyes's picture

RIP Anna. I met her in the 1990s and she was a pleasure/treasure. You may disagree with the Friedman/Schwartz school of thought, but at least they were serious unlike Krugman.

NotApplicable's picture

While Friedman may have been serious, his ideas were no better than Krugman's Keynesian Kool-Aid.

Promoting fraud as a beneficial economic tool is hardly a "study of economics," but rather is to be a foot soldier for the elite. Sure you can get quite serious in its analysis, but the whole idea requires a suspension of reality, replacing it with "theoretical constructs" and other methods seeking to obscure the mythology.

Benjamin Glutton's picture

difficult to imagine an associate of Milton Friedman who deserves respect from the human race.

NotApplicable's picture

Then there's this label of "great American monetary economist." Interesting how many qualifiers it takes to make her a great economist.

Anybody know what Rothbard's opinion of her was (other than destroying her arguments concerning the "Great Depression" )?

Confundido's picture

Fuck monetarists from Chicago! If there's any doubt, here's Anna's thinking, in her own words ("What to do About the Dollar", 2007):


"What to do about the dollar? My answer is, Nothing. If the market has

overstated the decline in the dollar’s exchange rate, the market will correct

the overstatement. In a floating exchange rate system, currencies fluctuate.

Correction of the underlying problem of an imbalance between U.S. national

saving and investment is dependent to a great extent on the behavior

of the United States’ trading partners. (....)..."...The risk of a sudden stop in foreign financing of the current account

deficit, precipitating a financial crisis here, is a scare story. Even if it were

to happen, the size of the world capital market, the ample existing liquidity,

and the ability of the Federal Reserve to provide additional liquidity

defy the prediction of a financial crisis...."


I just want to believe this lady was too old when she wrote this, and could not think clearly...

hbjork1's picture

Mr's Steiner and Croaker,l

Thanks for your positive comment on Anna Schwarz.  Many, including myself, now have a new source of reading material for this difficult time.

Rudolph Steiner's picture

I suggested Jim Sinclair consider planning to escort Anna Schwartz to the annual CMRE Spring dinner held this past May 17th. Jim was to present on this evening and Anna, well, she was but lingering ~ after  decades of genuine attention and service to the dialogue and inquiry of economics. I don't know what might have become of that suggestion in the end, I was otherwise engaged.

The '95 CMRE monograph where she and Chris Whalen share page space.

Her work is well worth your time.

She will be missed.

SWCroaker's picture

Anna Schwartz was one of the few Old School people I seriously respected.  She seemed to take great care in being factual and precise, without crossing the line into pushing her own judgements or conclusions.  I heard her give a radio interview once, and was struck by how her collective body of knowledge and insight seemed to be overlooked by modern economists, because she held herself to a code of correct impartiality.

I'm pretty sure she was the one who pointed out that a pre-50's dictionary definition of "inflation" always attributed it as a symptom of "an increase in the money supply", where modern dictionaries seem to be vaguely confused as to the nebulous cause of "higher prices".  She found that shift deplorable.

Anna played a large role in our ongoing play of human evolution, and we are better off for her contribution.