BY JANA MITTERMAIER

When Alan Greenspan was chairman of the US Federal Reserve, visitors to his office were confronted with a sign on his desk which said “the buck starts here.” It was a wry reminder of the power that the Fed wields in the world’s largest economy – the power to print money.

It is the defining power of central banks the world over and the main reason that they jealously guard their independence from political pressure. One just has to look at hyperinflation in Zimbabwe to see what happens when central bank policies are dictated by political expediency.

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