On Central Bankers’ Circumspection

Add Bank of England governor Mervyn King to the list of people

thinking that Alan Greenspan should

shut up, already:

Asked during a news conference about Greenspan’s behavior, King said that

he was grateful that his own predecessor has kept silent about the economy

and that he would follow that precedent when he stepped down.

"I am very grateful to Eddie George for not being on the radio or in

the newspapers commenting on what the Monetary Policy Committee is doing,"

King said.

This is, actually, a very good reason for Greenspan to stay silent. But I still


Greenspan’s right to say whatever he likes, and part of the reason comes down

to the differences between Alan Greenspan and Eddie George.

While Greenspan delighted in being cryptic, George was a much more straightforward,

copper-bottomed type of chap. While Greenspan could say nothing at enormous

and mind-boggling length, George was much happier saying nothing by saying nothing.

If Eddie George said something about UK monetary policy, then, it could make

life rather uncomfortable for his successor. Given that Greenspan was never

very good at explaining what he was doing when he did have power, it

would be harder for him to be very convincing in terms of second-guessing his

successor now that he doesn’t.

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