Henry Donald/Getty Images

Portare la politica monetaria alle persone

LONDRA – Il Regno Unito è arrivato in ritardo nell’adottare l'indipendenza della banca centrale, perché l'allora primo ministro Margaret Thatcher si oppose fermamente permettendo ai banchieri non eletti di controllare i tassi di interesse. Lei ha affermato che non avrebbe mai lasciato andare quel controllo e la Banca d'Inghilterra non è stata indipendente fino al 1997, quando venne eletto il primo governo laburista di Tony Blair.

La Vecchia Signora di Threadneedle Street, come è conosciuta la BoE, aveva 303 anni prima che le fosse permesso di fare le proprie scelte - e i propri errori. Mentre sia la Federal Reserve che la Bundesbank tedesca erano state a lungo indipendenti, la maggior parte degli altri paesi europei hanno seguito l'esempio solo nel periodo che precede l'istituzione di un'unione monetaria. Da parte sua, la Banca di Francia era stata, dai tempi di Napoleone, lasciata "nelle mani del governo, anche se non del tutto".

Negli ultimi 20 anni, l'indipendenza della banca centrale ha segnato una sorta di "fine della storia" per la politica monetaria, dopo che molti altri regimi hanno provato e fallito. Negli anni precedenti la crisi finanziaria globale del 2008, le banche centrali indipendenti erano considerate un caso di successo nel controllo dell'inflazione; e paesi con disavanzi di bilancio considerevoli erano particolarmente entusiasti dell'indipendenza della banca centrale, perché hanno tratto beneficio dai tassi di interesse a lungo termine più bassi. Alle banche centrali che regolano anche il settore bancario sono state poste domande difficili circa la loro indifferenza di fronte alla rapida espansione del credito, ma sono state ampiamente lodate per la loro risposta pronta e decisa quando erano nei guai.

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