New Bank of England Govenor is a gamble

For the past few years the prospects for the economy have been bleak. Yet could this all change with the introduction of Mark Carney as the new Bank of England governor?

Surely it can’t be any worse, right? With what the Guardian are calling ‘years, if not decades, of underachievement’ and ‘a string of catastrophic performances’ for the English economy it seems that Carney can only go up from here.

Of course George Osborne appointed him with good reason. Carney has worked on the Financial Stability Board, been the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada and worked for Goldman Sachs for a grand total of 13 years.

There is no doubt then that he has the experience. In fact many believe that Carney has done wonders for the Canadian economy with inflation below target and a ‘recovery stronger than all bar Germany’, a sharp contrast with the painful recovery of the UK.

However this decision to appoint Mark Carney sees the first foreigner to ever lead the bank and with the City having backed the Bank of England’s deputy governor Paul Tucker, Carney may not be the best man for the job. Indeed George Osborne has not been known for his brilliant recommendations in the past, with Andy Coulson being one of his less favoured proposals. It also can’t be denied that Carney has a lot of work to do.

The Financial Times spoke earlier in the year of Carney’s like of an ‘open and resilient financial system’ and the need for ‘capitalising on the immense opportunity that emerging market in general and China in particular represent’. This could mean little change for the British economy.

A business-as-usual stance is definitely not what the country needs and with little to promote domestic markets, constrain the city and prevent the next collapse of the financial system the British economy has a real chance of simply stagnating, or even getting worse.

Even The Guardian emphasises that none of Carney’s policies ‘indicate the real economy’. The new brief for this Bank of England governor has undeniably placed emphasise on overseeing the country’s banks and yet this is not seen as one of Mark Carney’s strengths. It has already been mentioned that he has the experience both in the private and public sector.

Perhaps many experts worry that he simply will not be able to cope with this expanded responsibility. Ann Pettifor, Director of Prime, has been noted as saying that his view that the ‘threats to the economy from the banking system are systemic’ is nothing less than ‘alarming’, a phrase which is certainly not ideal in describing such a key figure in the economy.

Ultimately then should we ourselves be ‘alarmed’ at Osborne’s decision or see it as a welcome change to the running of the country? Perhaps we won’t really know the answer for a few years.

Certainly we at least won’t know until next July when Carney officially takes over the post. Perhaps the real question with the economy is always how much can really be done internally and how much is simple left to external forces. Indeed as a culture perhaps we ask too much of our officials.

Only a miracle worker could turn around Britain’s woeful track record and various deep-rooted problems in a mere five year period, right? If anyone knows this, Carney does. He speaks of a ‘limit…to what any one individual can do’ and sees England as ‘where the challenge is greatest’, feeling he can only ‘try [his] best’.

Perhaps this is all we can ask for. Yet we can’t help but hope that miracles will happen and really why shouldn’t we? Other countries have managed and with all this experience and key support maybe Carney is just what we need.



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