Central banks are powerful but poorly understood organisations. In 1900 the Bank of Japan was the only central bank to exist outside Europe but over the past century central banking has proliferated. John Singleton here explains how central banks and the profession of central banking have evolved and spread across the globe during this period. He shows that the central banking world has experienced two revolutions in thinking and practice, the first after the depression of the early 1930s, and the second in response to the high inflation of the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, the central banking profession has changed radically. In 1900 the professional central banker was a specialised type of banker, whereas today he or she must also be a sophisticated economist and a public official. Understanding these changes is essential to explaining the role of central banks during the recent global financial crisis.
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'A worldwide journey into the policies and politics of central banks in the twentieth century. Clear, informed and wide ranging, Singleton's book is an essential historical reflection on this highly topical issue.' Youssef Cassis, University of Geneva and Visiting Research Fellow in the Business History Unit, London School of Economics
'This book provides a very useful examination of the twentieth-century history of central banking. At present, central banks are in the spotlight of culprits to blame for the recent financial crisis. A book like this puts the present re-evaluation of central banking's role in the post-crisis environment in a balanced historical perspective.' Michael Bordo, Rutgers University
'In a different and most welcome approach to the subject, John Singleton has provided a grand sweep across the world of central banking in the twentieth century. He shows how personalities and events contrived to effect two revolutions in that world.' Forrest Capie, official historian of the Bank of England
Central banking has proliferated and radically changed over the past century. John Singleton here explains how and why this evolution has taken place and, in doing so, demonstrates that an understanding of these changes is essential to explaining the role of central banks in the recent global financial crisis.
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