Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke walks away from the podiuim after delivering remarks September 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Economics reporter Neil Irwin discusses how, how the leaders of the world’s three most important central banks—Ben Bernanke of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Mervyn King of the Bank of England, and Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank—managed the global economic crisis. He tells of the birth of central banking in 17th-century Sweden, and traces how banks and bankers came to exercise extraordinary power over our collective fate. In his new book, The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire, Irwin gives an account of the most intense exercise in economic crisis management the world has ever seen.


Neil Irwin

Comments [9]

MC from Manhattan

these "complex instruments" are just manipulations made to create short term valuations that can be passed on while profits are made and which quickly dry up and become nothing giving the other end of the scam an opportunity to claim that they "lost money (value) " and need to be bailed out ...

Apr. 05 2013 12:21 AM
antonio from baySide

who invented the "complex financial instruments,/equations..."

Apr. 04 2013 01:30 PM
antonio from baySide

I learned on this show, "complex financial instruments,/equations" attributed to the depression...
Can the guest shed light on this? Were they scientists? Programmers? Former chess grand masters?

Apr. 04 2013 01:25 PM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

So... we seem not to notice we design every business plan as a bomb going off, of exploding wealth..., and duhhh... bombs aren't stable!

Apr. 04 2013 01:25 PM
MC from Manhattan

Making inflation illegal is starting to get there but that in itself does nothing with respect to the true problem.
You have to accept first that economics is about supply and demand and if that is true as we have been taught we have to realize that the root of supply and demand problems are allocation, distribution and management. These are often corrupted by manipulation, politics and reservation of power ($$$) in order to be able to dole it out only to maintain power by those that do the dealing.

The reality of the modern world is that there are no shortages of almost any thing. In fact there are surpluses if you examine it deeply. Only perceived shortages due to misallocation and manipulation.

if that seems confusing remember that in history (or herstory) you can only control women and minorities when you disempower their economic access to the $$$$ and make them dependent on you for "your daily bread" ( the concept is even in your religions)

When they are independent and have economic access they are empowered and you have to make extra special efforts to bind them to you. ( hence, a job market in favor of the "employer", debt and financial manipulation that is not in your favor)

Apr. 04 2013 01:10 PM
Doug from nj

Guest says the US exported its housing bubble created financial system/problems and US paper wound up on Eurpoean banks books - but they created a lot of their own junk housing paper - i/e German Bank's huge exposure to Spain & Italy - huge empty projects in Ireland & Spain - learning the ropes from Wall St

Apr. 04 2013 01:06 PM
MC from Manhatan

Shady lending, market irrationalism etc means that the market is expanding the money supply without a valid economic basis.. on speculation and manipulation. Once the valuations have been extrapolated beyond the current economy .. a so called crash occurs as our inflated expectations do not cancel out our primary fears. to sum it all up it is virtual, a state of mind and like these over valuations not a reality. It should be managed as such. Those that manipulated these expectations should be the loosers not the rest of us.

Apr. 04 2013 12:57 PM
Jf from ny

The question no one will ever answer for me is :
Why not make inflation illegal?

Apr. 04 2013 12:56 PM
Rob from Brooklyn

I'm wondering what Mr Irwin has to say about David Stockman's article in the NYTIMES; concerning the corruption of capitalism.

Apr. 04 2013 12:54 PM

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