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British House of Lords inquiry into the Bank of England’s performance is a confusing array of contrary notions

On November 27, 2023, the Economic Affairs Committee of the British House of Lords completed their inquiry into the question – Bank of England: how is independence working? – by releasing their 1st Report after taking evidence for several months – Making an independent Bank of England work better. The report is interesting because it contains a confusing array of contrary notions. On the one hand, the witnesses to the Inquiry claimed it was “Groupthink” in operation that prevented the Bank from raising rates earlier and that it was obvious the inflationary pressures were traditional excess spending driven by excessive monetary supply growth (classic Monetarism). That assessment is contested by the alternative, which I adhere to, that the inflationary pressures were supply driven and not amenable to interest rate shifts. And the Groupthink arises because these economists consider interest rate changes would solve the inflation irrespective of the contributing factors. While the Report is sympathetic to the mainstream view as above, it then launches into a critique of the mainstream forecasting approaches. A confusing array of notions.

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