The World's Best Central Bankers Don't Do QE3

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 9/16/2012 04:07:00 PM
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results - Albert Einstein
Here in the rest of the world, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is regarded somewhere between a joke and a menace. It thus comes no surprise that the world's most infamous central banker is nowhere to be found among this year's rankings of the world's top practitioners in this art. As observant American T-shirt makers have noted, "let them eat cash" is not quite an economically progressive move either at home or abroad.

On its present trajectory, the US escaping the "new normal" of 1-2% annual growth is a distant pipe dream. Various QEx stimuli--there will probably be more Stupid American Monetary Tricks--have done nothing to improve US economic prospects as Americans still won't believe in America if you actually paid them to spend increasingly worthless dollar-denominated detritus. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is girding up for another round of dollar devaluation via the latest US salvo in "international currency war."

Dear readers, there is no real skill involved in giving money away for free...and not achieving any sort of economic growth sufficient to reduce mass unemployment in the process. Any half-wit could do that. The only reason why Ben "Choplifter" Bernanke managed to get a grade of "B" this year instead of last year's "C" is because he didn't embark on QE3 prior to the announcement of the 2012 rankings. So roll on 2013 and possibly even his replacement by another hapless figure if the Republicans win. One thing's for sure, though: the (dark?) arts of central banking can do next to nothing to reverse America's slide into its sunset years.

But, enough of lousy central banking. To paraphrase another set of (misguided) American leaders, the high art of central banking is pivoting towards Asia, where people learned from their crisis while the haughty Yanks didn't. Instead of throwing away unlimited amounts through buying mortgage-backed securities and whatever else the Fed is purchasing nowadays, Asian countries structurally adjusted themselves--as the Americans used to prescribe to errant economies. When faced with their own crisis, the Americans have of course chosen to double down on things which have led them astray alike trying to revive the moribund housing market and running up unprecedented fiscal deficits. As it so happens, two of the worst crisis-affected countries in Malaysia and the Philippines now have two of the world's six top central bankers, while half of those taking home As including them are from Asia.

Actually, this year's "A" list is identical to last year's, bar one change: Australia's Glenn Stevens, Canada's Mark Carney, Israel's Stanley Fischer (formerly the IMF's No 2 man), Malaysia's Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the Philippines' Amando Tetangco, and Taiwan's Fai-Nang Perng. The criteria are: inflation control, economic growth goals, currency stability and interest rate management

Sound money principles in central banking. What a revolutionary idea as we contemplate QE77 a few years down the line. Some people just don't get it, and probably should get to writing "How to Lose an Economy and Offend Other Central Bankers," pronto instead of sticking around in a job they obviously gave no skill in. A mandate of full employment? Don't make me laugh. If today's best central bankers are not delusional enough to think they can achieve it through monetary shenanigans, then I think it's high time the Fed amateurs followed suit.