Why you should care
Because it’s nothing less than your wallet.
First things first: Get to know the new breed of central bankers. Traditionally, central bankers were hometown kids who grew up to become professional money geeks. But today, central bankers are increasingly foreign to the country whose purse strings they’re playing puppeteer with. It’s that old “fire the boss, bring in an outsider” tactic more common to football teams than monetary policy. But here they are: the new central bankers — like roving samurai warriors. From Britain to Japan, everybody’s doing it.
Perhaps one of the most important people in today’s global economy is the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, who’s become known for his brand of policy, “Abenomics.” Earlier this year, OZY’s Emily Cadei profiled 77-year-old ex-Yale professor Koichi Hamada, whom Abe called up to shape the policy. For Hamada, the opportunity came at what he thought would be the end of his career — but turned out to be a whole new beginning.
And don’t forget Wall Street. You know about Elizabeth Warren and her true love of regulating big banks, but you might not yet know the next Warren, a diminutive 50-year-old woman whose size masks her viciousness when it comes to keeping the big banks on task. Meet Kara Stein, who self-identifies as financial “crisis-scarred” and helped author the language that went into the Dodd-Frank Act.
Last but not least comes a duo of Europeans trying to make their continent functional. There’s Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister slash Angela Merkel’s “Euro Fighter,” who promises reliability and stability with trademark German efficiency. There’s also Jens Weidmann at Europe’s Central Bank, who’s lovingly (or not) known as Herr Nein (Mr. No) and has been at the forefront of the battle against low inflation rates on the Continent.
Go ahead: geek out.