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Danny Bernankflower?

BlanchflowerB.jpgSo who is the world’s best central banker? According to widely read Forex Live, the heavyweight champion of the world of finance is none other than the College’s Danny Blanchflower.

In 2008 Danny had the courage to go against the conventional wisdom both in the private deliberations of Britain’s Monetary Policy Committee (the U.K.’s equivalent of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee) and in public, too. His unflinching prediction that the U.K. faced the mother of all recessions — and therefore interest rates should be lowered, even though inflation seemed to be on the rise — was initially viewed skeptically. But he was right, and for his prescience and nerve Blanchflower earned superstar status in the U.K. and a medal from the Queen.

Today he is all over the media: he writes a weekly column in The Independent, a bi-weekly column in The New Statesman, and he offers commentary and analysis on Bloomberg TV on a regular basis. Blanchflower’s reputation is such that Bloomberg’s Tom Keene recently suggested that if the U.K. could choose Canada’s central banker Mark Carney to determine its monetary policy, then the U.S. could well pick Danny — a Brit — to replace Ben Bernanke at the Fed. Here’s Forex Live’s commentary:

1. BOE MPC member David Blanchflower (2006-2009)

It’s tough to love a dove.

Hawks get all the respect in central banking; they are the ‘adults’ who warn about the long-term effects of looser policy now. Being a dove is equated with a panicky, worrisome personality.

Enter the crisis: The global financial system was collapsing yet so many central bankers were looking at lagging CPI numbers, warning about inflation. Most of them should have been dragged out of office years ago for their ineptitude.

Blanchflower was voting for rate cuts for a full year before the Bank of England finally figured out the global economy was in trouble (after Lehman collapsed).

He is a poor diplomat and has made enemies by repeatedly criticizing the Mervyn King-led Bank of England but he is out there (on twitter) telling it the way he sees it.

On my list, a central banker is like a foreign exchange trader — credits for style are secondary, being right is what counts. Not many central banks saw the crisis as clearly as Blanchflower.

I agree that Danny is a poor diplomat. We certainly can’t have people like him criticizing our leaders in public, no matter how inept they are and how damaging their actions. I mean, really! Who does he think he is? As readers of this space well know, the values of circumspection and politesse should always trump telling the scratchy truth.

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