Balance of Power: Central Banks and the Fate of Democracies

Univ. of Chicago. Apr. 2024. 264p. tr. from French by Steven Rendall. ISBN 9780226834139. $25. ECON
Economist Monnet (Controlling Credit) continues his years of research on European financial systems, central banking, and the international monetary system in the 19th and 20th centuries with this impressive history of how central banks have become political superpowers of modern societies. The book focuses on the “super banks,” including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, whose fundamental role is to implement national monetary policy, manage the currency of a country (or a group of countries), control the supply of money, act as social insurance for credit, and be a lender of last resort when financial systems turn sour. Monnet argues that central banks’ monetary policies should be subject to democratic control, as the banks’ current powers are too significant to be solely managed by independent authorities operating as inward-facing technocrats. The book provides reform proposals and recommendations that would harmonize central banks’ activities.
VERDICT A meticulously sourced, complex academic work that’s essential for university libraries. It shows how central banks’ ill-defined balance of power with little oversight can threaten democracies. Give to readers familiar with Joseph Stiglitz’s Making Globalization Work, Morgan Ricks’s The Money Problem, or Lev Menand’s The Fed Unbound.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing