Matthew O'Brien: How Much is a Good Central Banker Worth?

This is a very interesting article. In relation to what Matthew writes, let me say that Ben Bernanke is a superstar central banker in my book. It is a mistake to judge central bankers by a standard of perfection. Central banking is too hard for that. Ben has done a great job in difficult circumstances, as can be seen in David Wessel’s book In Fed We Trust. My guess is that Ben’s biggest mistakes as a central banker have come from deferring too much to other views that were less on-target than his own. Although making monetary policy decision-making less centered on the Chairman of the Fed is the right thing for the long-run future, I think we would have had better monetary policy in the last few years had Ben trusted his own judgment more and asserted himself more strongly. Ben’s mistakes of intellectual humility are the kinds of mistakes a serious seeker of the truth makes.