Bernanke spoke! Yes, he held a press conference. Why would the world want a press conference from a central banker? Ah…good question. Because he’s a celebrity… He’s powerful. He moves and he shakes. He’s as popular as William and Kate put together.
In the past, a central banker was meant to be anonymous…quiet…hidden away somewhere so far in the background that the ordinary man wouldn’t know his name or recognize his face. A good central banker was one you never heard of. He did his job. He made sure that the country had enough gold to cover its foreign debts and domestic currency issuance. He did not worry about full employment. Nor did he concern himself with “growth.” His job was to make sure the money was good. That’s all. If he did it well, he was practically a nobody.
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If he did it badly, on the other hand, he might be castrated. Or, at least he would be disgraced.
Times have changed. Alan Greenspan turned central bankers into celebrities. He stood with Hillary Clinton at her husband’s State of the Union address…thus signifying the union of money and power, much like the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor standing together on the balcony of the Vatican.
And now, who wouldn’t recognize Ben Bernanke’s mug?