In just the last ten years we have had two explosive bubbles which have been extraordinarily destructive. The telecom and internet bubble which burst in 2000 and the U.S. housing bubble which burst in 2007. In my view, the record clearly shows that the Federal Reserve should have moved to choke off these euphoric, speculative manias.
They could have done this by aggressively raising interest rates at an earlier date, increasing stock margin requirements and perhaps by also increasing bank capital requirements.
It didn’t happen.
Once again it was the age of deregulation. Let the market take care of itself. It’s been said that one of the primary jobs of a central bank is “to take the punchbowl away just when the party is getting started” which, in retrospect, looks like sound policy.
In short, should central banks target, and rein in, overheated and speculative industry and market bubbles even if it causes a slowdown or a recession – the answer is yes.