Tuesday, 13 October 2015

OPINION: The Economic Team President Buhari Deserves

Finding his country in 1932 at the same economic crossroads we find ourselves today, rather than the newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt going the same old-fashioned way of assembling the usual so-called best economists, professors, and textbook scholars, known for their economic convention-pushing and strict theory-adherence, this commonsense obsessed president, preferred going for bizarre Americans. In other words, his team was made up of men and women with uncommon visions and passions for America’s greatness, whose unheard-of multifaceted mental rigour, patriotic toughness, and broadly-based peak-performers made them second-to-none. Their participatory-spiritedness and nonpartisan preferences put them in the same economic and political mood with the rest of people.
In such a search for America’s action-driven, solution-oriented practical fanatics, Roosevelt appointed Mariner Eccles, a rural Utah banker, with only a secondary education as the omnipotent chairman of the Federal Reserve System—America’s governor of the central bank. As if not enough taboo, ignoring all renowned MIT, Harvard, and Yale professors of economics, he went ahead to appoint Henry Morgenthau, a second year architecture dropout from Cornell University who had no basic knowledge of economics as the treasury secretary (finance minister and head of the economic management team). With this, Americans were made to believe that Roosevelt had finally done the unpardonable.
As difficult as assembling the best team could be, also he knew that more challenging would be getting the kind of extraordinary teamwork. Therefore, in an effort to have the team engage in such entrepreneurially persistent nonstop brainstorming in search of unconventional and untested solutions to deal head-on with the Great Depression, he knew leadership was the greatest challenge. To get such a result, the master politician decided he should personally supervise the team’s work. And being solution-obsessed himself, Roosevelt turned each cabinet meeting into the fiercest solution battlefield.
Soon, with Eccles patriotically leading the monetary policy team, the first monetary policy coup became America’s unbelievable exit of the century-old gold standard. Until this coup stirring monetary policy taboo, nations’ currencies could only be printed based on the amount of gold in their governments’ vaults backing it. It was this insistence on matching money in circulation with the amount of gold in government’s vault that precipitated the entire western economies into the sweeping Great Depression, because lacking the ability to expand their gold vault, forced them not to increase their system liquidity.




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