David Kynaston's Till Time's Last Sand: A History of the Bank of England, 1694-2013: A Review Essay
Charles R. Bean
- Journal of Economic Literature (Forthcoming)
This essay reviews Till Time's Last Sand, David Kynaston's history of the Bank of England from its foundation in 1694 to the present day. I focus on three themes running through his narrative. First, for much of that time the Bank was a private company playing a public role; how did it manage to do this and why was it eventually brought into public ownership? Second, I examine the various attempts to constrain the Bank's monetary policy to follow a simple rule; these almost invariably proved unsustainable unless the rule provided enough room for discretion. Finally, I cover the Bank's journey to becoming the lender of last resort, together with its evolving attitude to the associated risk of moral hazard.
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