Andrew G Haldane: A little more conversation - A little less action

Speech by Mr Andrew G Haldane, Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Bank of England, at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Macroeconomics and Monetary Policy Conference, San Francisco, 31 March 2017.

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Bank of England or the Monetary Policy Committee.  I would like to thank Shiv Chowla, Jeremy Franklin, Jonathan Fullwood, Chloe Gilbert, Leanne Leahy, Michael McLeay, Michael McMahon, Sam McPhilemy, Chris Peacock and  Paul Robinson for their help in preparing this text.  I would like to thank Mike Anson, Tom Belsham, James Benford, Rachel Botsman, Nida Broughton, Kristin Forbes, Keir Haldane, John Lewis,  Clare Macallan, Mike Peacock and Eryk Walczak for comments and contributions. 

It is a great pleasure to be here at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco conference on "Macroeconomics and Monetary Policy".  I am grateful to my old friend John Williams, President of the  San Francisco Fed, for the invitation.  And for one night only, John, where better to channel my inner-Elvis.

Back in 2004, Benoit Mandelbrot observed:  "So limited is our knowledge that we resort, not to science, but to shamans.  We place control of the world's largest economy in the hands of a few elderly men, the central bankers".  You could quibble with the detail here - a few central bankers these days are women and a few are not old.  But the general sentiment is not one which would be entirely out of place today.