The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

RBA revisionism and an idea for McKibbin

First, if you want to read a wonderful essay on RBA revisionism, which used to be a bit of a curse at the central bank under the previous regime, try this 2007 piece by the CIS's Dr Stephen Kirchner, who really is our best RBA commentator, and an especially deep thinker on the subject of monetary policy.

Having said that, it should be noted that Glenn Stevens is a first-rate regulator (of the price of money and financial stability), and deserves immense praise for the way he has revolutionised the conduct, communication, and accountability of monetary policy in Australia.

And these are not just my own views: they reflect the opinions of those who have served on the Board under both Stevens and his predecessor.

On this note, outgoing Board member, Warwick McKibbin, would do the community a service if he were to put pen to paper and summarise his experiences on the RBA Board, and his suggestions as to how the institution's operations and governance might be further improved.

McKibbin's insights cannot wait for another biography written in 10 years time. The RBA is arguably the single most influential, month-to-month arbiter of economic activity in this country. Taxpayers deserve a thorough analysis of how the institution's functions could be enhanced from an insider who has both worked there as an executive (in the 1980s) and served as an independent member of the Board.

And while I am on this subject, I hope the Coalition offers to reappoint Professor McKibbin to the Board--should he be so disposed--if only to reassert the RBA's political independence and further buttress the technical competence of the taxpayer's Board representatives.