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Shortly after 2008, there were prominent commentators such as Jim Rogers who called Ben Bernanke an idiot and condemn him for printing money. However, there were also articles that suggest quantitative easing is really an asset-swap and not money-printing. On the other hand, there are articles that say the opposite.

http://www.pragcap.com/bloomberg-quantitative-easing-isnt-printing-money/ http://www.bankingmyway.com/save/savings/what-does-printing-money-mean

What exactly is quantitative easing? Asset-swapping or money-printing? Does it raise the money supply? Inflationary or not?

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Seignorage is harmful if it is abused to cause hyperinflation. Without quantitative easing, we probably would've had mass deflation instead (which is arguably worse), and makes the Fed look not credible in striving for its target inflation rate.

There are different ways of implementing quantitative easing in other areas I think, but more or less, it is buying massive amounts of financial assets from banks and other financial institutions in order to lower their yield, which raises the price and increases the money supply. It is supposed to be inflationary, but QE is usually in response to when the short term interest rate approaches zero, and it becomes hard to do that.

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