Annals of Central Bank Transparency, Federal Reserve Edition

John Lanchester reviews Liaquat Ahamed’s Lords of Finance:

America’s first modern central bank was established in 1913, in the teeth of strong populist suspicion of bankers. The men who conceived it were worried about the perception that they were forming a cabal, and so did what you naturally do when you’re worried about that: they travelled by private train, under pseudonyms, to a top-secret meeting at a private island off the coast of Georgia.

The institution they envisioned became the Federal Reserve.

Worth bearing in mind, next time Congress or a news organization tries to get the Fed to reveal exactly what assets it’s holding on its balance sheet.

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