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Article Abstract

RULE, CANADIA! The Bank of England didn't need a search committee to find a Briton to fill the governor's chair of the Bank of England. A more suitable job description would have done the trick. "Wanted," a proper help-wanted notice would have said, "Someone to preside over the exchange of pound notes for gold, and vice versa, at the fixed and statutory rate. Bachelor's degree desirable." More than a few Englishmen could discharge such a concrete and well-defined set of duties. Indeed, they did so for hundreds of years. Simplicity, however, is not the defining feature of the Ph.D. standard of monetary organization. Today's central bank governor must be a market manipulator, central planner and political propagandist, all rolled into one. Naturally, a doctorate in economics, preferably in one of the more recondite and quantitative sub-disciplines, is required. Service with Goldman Sachs is also desirable. Mark J. Carney, the Bank of Canada governor who will presently fly the coop in Ottawa to succeed Mervyn King at the Bank of England, ticks both boxes. As Canada's oligopolistic banking system is famously solvent, the governor-designate is lacking in depth of experience in crisis management. Very likely, however, he will get on-the-job training. In a Tuesday article on the Carney appointment, the Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf deplores the miserable state of Britain's economy. It is "stagnant," he observes, "despite exceptional monetary easing." Reading Wolf's columnar stablemate, John Plender, on Nov. 21, we more than ever believe that Britain is stagnant because of ...

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