The bottom line is that I think I get Sumner's point. I don't wholly agree or disagree with it. He probably wants people only that wholly agree with it but it is what it is. Sumner basically believes-like any good monetarist-that monetary policy is what it's about. When you consider the sharp recovery of 1933-34 he believes the main cause was FDR getting us off the gold standard.
The original disagreement between him and Kimel started based on a post he wrote criticizing a book about Keynes written by Skidelsky. Skidelsky gave monetary policy, particularly getting off the gold standard very short thrift. Sumner reacted to that and said he was all wet. This was over a year ago, but then Kimel happened to read it recently.
Recently I attempted to get to the bottom of the dispute. Here is my attempt
The trouble is that I still find Kimel's bottom line elusive, ironically as I think I probably agree with him more in principle. He however seems to me to get so stuck into particulars and details that the more I read him the further I feel we are from getting to the point. I was just reading a debate between Keynes and Hayek in "The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek Volume 9: Contra Keynes and Cambridge."
What I appreciate in Keynes is that while Hayek quibbles for page after page (pgs 121-46), Keynes quickly bottom lines the difference (pgs. 147-58). Whereas Hayek endlessly questions the exact meaning of Keynes' terminology-'what do you mean by investments'-Keynes showed that the important difference is not these smaller points but that Hayek's notion of "forces savings" was not shared by Keynes.
The last I spoke to Kimel he says he is coming out with a clarifying post soon. I look forward to it, I don't mean to scorn his style.. I actually suspect he has some real points of substance to make but approaches it in a different way and takes a while to get what I look for-the bottom line.
I also get that he draws a lot on his own experience when discussing the dollar devaluation as someone who lived in South America and is used to currency devaluations and sky high inflation. So the gloss he is taking on FDR's move on gold is quite different. I think it may prove very original and interesting and look forward to it. What I can't get is whether because of this he is very opposed to inflation and whether he thinks monetary stimulus doesn't work at all or-as I and Eggertsson think, it works but, unlike Sumner, fiscal stimulus also has a part to play.
I wonder if he is being targeted by right wing trolls as they were some nasty profanity and slurs in the comments last night and someone kept resending the same profanity laden comments.
For my conversations with him please see http://www.angrybearblog.com/2011/11/gold-index-april-1933-february-1934.html#comment-form
in the comments section