Unelected power: a discussion with Paul Tucker

24 February 2021

By Paola Manes, Lawyer, Full Professor at the University of Bologna and Member of the Board of Directors of BBS.

“For centuries, we thought about which place the central banks occupy in our democracies: the main error was to give the chance to answer this question to the non-experts”. Paul Tucker

On November 27th 2019,  Bologna Business School hosted Paul Tucker, the former Vice-governor of the Bank of England, who presented to the BBS Community his latest book “Unelected Power: The Quest for Legitimacy in Central Banking and the Regulatory State”.

An event that saw the participation of Salvatore Rossi, TIM President and former Senior Vice Governor of the Bank of Italy; Elena Carletti, Bocconi University and UniCredit; Erik Jones, Johns Hopkins University and SAIS Europe; Roberto Nicastro Senior Advisor Cerberus and Alessandro Merli, Johns Hopkins University and BBS. The event has been opened by Cesare Bisoni, UniCredit President.

Tucker’s book is a lucid analysis of the values that guide the international economic system: “When a part of the government disappoints us, as has happened during the last financial crisis, we will no longer vote for the same politicians. But we must be aware that voting is a sort of safety valve that helps us to express more what we feel about a given situation, rather than to guide our choices”.

Tucker emphasized how the approach of Western countries towards international central banks has changed. The independence of the banks – according to Tucker – guarantees that monetary policy takes into account only the economic conditions of the country, without lending itself to the logic of building consensus. The project to present Paul Tucker’s book “Unelected power” in Italy was presented at the beginning of 2019 by Paola Manes to Fabrizio Saccomanni, the then Chairman of Unicredit, who was a close friend of Tucker’s and enthusiastic about the idea of giving the due significance to a publication that had so animated the international debate. The ideal venue for this debate was suggested to be Bologna Business School of the University of Bologna, first of all for its standing and international reputation and furthermore for its ties to Unicredit, its founding partner, whose Chairman is a member of the advisory board of the School.

Adverse fate led to the premature loss of Fabrizio Saccomanni in August 2019. However, this did not extinguish the original idea but fuelled it.

Therefore, the event also intended to commemorate Fabrizio Saccomanni, through a discussion that combined the perspective of the supervisors (Rossi and Tucker) with that of the banking world operators (Bisoni, Carletti, Nicastro) and completed by the economic policy perspective (Jones and Merli from Johns Hopkins University).


Download Paola Manes’s publication in pdf.

Published by Il Mulino – Bologna


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