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mystic hand

How Central Banks Shaped the 21st Century Global Economy
The Mystic Hand
Johan Van Overtveldt
By acting courageously and creatively, the major central banks of the world avoided a repetition of the Great Depression in the slipstream of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 and of the Covid 19 pandemic of 2020-21. However, consistently low interest rates and massive asset buying programs (quantitative easing) have resulted in several unintended consequences, impacting financial stability, economic growth, investment and employment in a negative way. With the sudden outburst of inflation in the course of 2021 a reversal of the very accommodative monetary policies has become imperative.

The Mystic Hand guides the reader through the build-up of these unconventional policies and their negative consequences. To aid understanding, the book provides meaningful historical context to this period of exceptional monetary policies. The book also offers a prescription for what needs to be done next to put monetary policy on a more structurally sound basis.

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Advance praise for the book

"The Mystic Hand is both lucid and wise, explaining the influence and policies of [Central Banks] with the greatest of clarity. The author combines his skill as a politician, his experience as an economist and the lightness of touch of a journalist to write an invaluable, essential and enjoyable book."
Pascal Donohoe
President of the Eurogroup and Minister of Finance (Ireland)
"A fascinating Brussels insider’s view on monetary policy."
Axel Weber
Chairman of the Board of Directors, UBS Group and Former President of the German Bundesbank
"The Mystic Hand demystifies central banking in accessible and provocative ways. Its call for a rethinking of recent orthodoxy deserves attention."
Anil Kashyap
Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
"The hand is quicker than the eye, say the magicians. Van Overtveldt shows that the public and the press and the politicians have since 2008 stood gape-mouthed at the “mystic hand” of the central banker. One can doubt that central bankers are quite as clever as their reputation. But if you want to spot their tricks, which for example encourage loony investment worldwide, read the book , and weep."
Deirdre McCloskey
Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
"Their response to the Coronavirus pandemic has left the world’s central banks supporting the global economy in a way which leaves asset prices intricately linked to their future actions. Johan Van Overtveldt has written a compelling account of the negative implications of this policy and ponders how they can escape the hole they have dug for all of us."
James Nixon
Head of Thematic Research, Oxford Economics

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