The following is an excerpt from The Austrian Theory of The Trade Cycle by Ludwig von Mises
“It is a well-known phenomenon, indeed, that in a period of depressions a very low rate of interest—considered from the arithmetical point of view—does not succeed in stimulating economic activity. The cash reserves of individuals and of banks grow, liquid funds accumulate, yet the depression continues.
Another factor which is helping to prolong the present period of depression is the rigidity of wages. Wages increase in periods of expansion. In periods of contraction they ought to fall, not only in money terms, but in real terms as well. By successfully preventing the lowering of wages during a period of depression, the policy of the trade unions makes unemployment a massive and persistent phenomenon. Moreover, this policy postpones the recovery indefinitely. A normal situation cannot return until prices and wages adapt themselves to the quantity of money in circulation.
“Public opinion is perfectly right to see the end of the boom and the crisis as a consequence of the policy of the banks. The banks could undoubtedly have delayed the unfavorable developments for some further time. They could have continued their policy of credit expansion for a while. But—as we have already seen—they could not have persisted in it indefinitely without risking the complete collapse of the monetary system. The boom brought about by the banks’ policy of extending credit must necessarily end sooner or later. Unless they are willing to let their policy completely destroy the monetary and credit system, the banks themselves must cut it short before the catastrophe occurs. The longer the period of credit expansion and the longer the banks delay in changing their policy, the worse will be the consequences of the malinvestments and of the inordinate speculation characterizing the boom; and as a result the longer will be the period of depression and the more uncertain the date of recovery and return to normal economic activity.
It has often been suggested to “stimulate” economic activity and to “prime the pump” by recourse to a new extension of credit which would allow the depression to be ended and bring about a recovery or at least a return to normal conditions; the advocates of this method forget, however, that even though it might overcome the difficulties of the moment, it will certainly produce a worse situation in a not too distant future.
Finally, it will be necessary to understand that the attempts to artificially lower the rate of interest which arises on the market, through an expansion of credit, can only produce temporary results, and that the initial recovery will be followed by a deeper decline which will manifest itself as a complete stagnation of commercial and industrial activity. The economy will not be able to develop harmoniously and smoothly unless all artificial measures that interfere with the level of prices, wages, and interest rates, as determined by the free play of economic forces, are renounced once and for all.”
Excerpt From: Richard M. Ebeling. “The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and other essays.”