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Questions We Should Be Asking About Central Banks


US, EU and UK politicians have complained about the central bank decision, but none of these has included interest rates and that it should be put back into politicians’ hands. One of the questions most asked is what do Jerome Powell, Mario Draghi and Mark Carney think about when they go to bed, productivity, GDP growth or perhaps the rate of unemployment?

So, what should the focus of an independent bank be, after lying dormant for several years the question remains quite exploded in an eruption of volcanic debates, but it seems that it started to rumble at last. Labour presented the issue recently together with its publication of a report for the GFC economics, suggesting that the Bank of England ought to modify the mandate to include a 3% annual growth in productivity. It follows Lawrence Summers, US economist that comes close to be Barack Obama’s chair of the US Federal Reserve, the paper of earlier in the month suggesting that the Fed should shift towards a nominal GDP target.

None of the politicians has, actually, called for interest rate decisions even though they all moaned and raged about most decisions made by the central bank. These politicians include those of the EU, US and the UK, as well as Theresa May. None have called for the mandate for changes in the banks, and it’s very much like the press barons of Stanley Baldwin in 1920, they might just prefer the power of intimidation podium without the monotonous accountability to have to do any thinking about the subtle trade-offs inherent to their basic demands.

Debate Is the Only Way to Clarify

Debate can help a lot in clarifying the central banks even despite the impression the populist’s agitators is giving, policymakers don’t randomly choose what is to be avoided and what is supposed to be good for the public, or who ought to be supported and then who deserves to be penalised, who must end up richer and who ought to be poorer.

It would fragment the credibility of the central bank as well as flummox the public if the usual institutional conservative’s response to any mention or idea of increasing the inflation target to around 4%. Yet, in truth, there is little if any evidence to back up such a response. Rational, sensible and judicious disagree about the comparative might of such mandate suggestions an also the innumerable protestations. Yet all level-headed people would appreciate the reverberating of a radical debate.

No one is expecting it as it is unhealthy to expect the central banks to solve the problems of society’s economics. But then these institutions are unable to please all the people at once, but then again it is fruitful to seriously talk, consider and constructively think about what it is each of us wants the central banks to do.

Banks are independent operationally. They work to realise major goals set by the elected governments. It is true of the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, and all the monetary authorities across the Western World from New Zealand, to Sweden and to Canada.