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The Bank of England stands pat as its inflation hawk dissents. | Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Bank of England stands pat as its inflation hawk dissents.

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With Mr. Haldane’s departure, the monetary policy committee will lose its most hawkish member as it has to decide how to emerge from its pandemic response measures. Even while Britain was enduring a strict lockdown through a cold and dark winter, Mr. Haldane kept up his confidence in the economy.

In February, he said there was “enormous amounts of pent-up financial energy waiting to be released, like a coiled spring.” Since then, that spring has turned into warnings about the “beast of inflation.”

Now central bankers face their “most dangerous moment” since the early 1990s, when policymakers began using targets for inflation to guide decisions, Mr. Haldane recently wrote in New Statesman magazine. “While nothing is assured, acting early as inflation risks grow is the best way of heading off future threat.”

Mr. Haldane’s imaginative language and directness has been a consistent feature of his time at the Bank of England, which he joined in 1989. He became a member of the policy-setting committee and became chief economist in 2014.

After the 2008 financial crisis, he was outspoken about the risks banks and large asset managers could pose to national economies, sometimes making him a pariah in the financial sector. But he just as eagerly addressed what he believed was a crisis in economics that left his profession blindsided, and has warned against groupthink in central banks. He has also voiced his support for the Occupy movement, and worked with students determined to reform economics education to make it more intellectually diverse.

In 2009, Mr. Haldane founded the charity Pro Bono Economics, which sends economists into charities to help them use data to measure their impact, and while also advocating higher levels of math skills across the country. Although he has said economics needs to be more easily accessible, Mr. Haldane has also insisted that economists need to better understand the public. He has crisscrossed Britain meeting community groups and school students to discuss topics including homelessness and mental health.

“Technocratic institutions require the continuous consent, not just of Parliament, but of the wider public,” Mr. Haldane wrote in the forward to “The Econocracy,” a book by ex-students on reforming economics.

Mr. Haldane’s successor has not been named.


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