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Erdoğan’s Authoritarian Quackery

Turkey’s currency is plunging, yet the central bank has been all but prohibited from raising interest rates, because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan believes that raising interest rates actually causes inflation. What is it about dictators that leads them so consistently down the rabbit hole of charlatanism and conspiracy theory?

TBILISI – Why do conspiracy theories and general charlatanism so often receive their strongest support from the world’s dictators? Sure, dictators are almost always oddballs themselves, but that cannot be all there is to it. In fact, it is worth asking whether quackery is a necessary feature of authoritarian rule.

The latest evidence that it is can be found at the heart of Turkey’s current economic crisis. Turkey is saddled with debt and its currency, the lira, is plunging, yet the central bank has been all but prohibited from defending the currency by raising interest rates, because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan believes that raising interest rates actually causes inflation.

The economics profession would beg to differ. But Erdoğan, as with much else, is not inclined to listen. On the contrary, to force the central bank to pursue his bizarre monetary policy, Erdoğan has installed his utterly unqualified son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as the country’s Minister of Finance and Treasury.

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