But the sweep and aim of Value(s) remains magnificent. It will help arm the best in business, finance and government and disarm the worst. The progressive cause has been advanced. The boy from Canada’s Northwest Territories, still slightly incredulous at his own phenomenal career given his modest beginnings, done good.
Carney is very interesting on the dynamics of financial instability and on the possible implications of cryptocurrencies and stable coins, seeing the former as sources of financial instability, while suggesting that central banks might think about issuing their own digital currencies as a stable future-proof form of money. However, this first section is quite dense and readers with less interest in what economists think could jump to the second part, which begins with the financial crisis and subsequent efforts to create a safer and fairer financial system.
When reading this dense – often muddled – book, which touches on everything from Bitcoin to climate change in extraordinary detail, I couldn’t help wondering whether Carney’s central argument was less a principled objection to our “marketised society”, more a tirade of frustration that our current freely made economic and political choices do not conform to the preferences of Mark Carney.
Even if we do reform what we value, it is depressing to think that too many of us will grab the short-term cash no matter what. In any case, as Carney himself asks: “Why does someone have to be paid not to be a jerk?” And there is always something slightly funny about urgent demands for change from formerly very powerful people.
Hmm, one thinks, if only Mark Carney had ever been in a position of authority where he could have influenced the banking industry…
Cheap cracks aside, this is an important book. It would be helpful if the right people read it.