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July/August 2012, 
Vol. 94, No. 4
Posted 2012-07-01

Evolution, Impact, and Limitations of Unusual Central Bank Policy Activism

by Mohamed A. El-Erian

In the United States and Europe, central banks have essentially been the only policymaking entities consistently willing and able to take bold measures to deal with an unusually complex set of national, regional, and global economic and financial challenges since the onset of the Great Recession and financial crisis. The author advocates for other agencies, in both the public and private sectors, to urgently work in conjunction with central bank policies. He states that it is critical that policymakers, business leaders, investors, and researchers alike understand better why so many unthinkable events have become facts, why the outlook remains “unusually uncertain,” and what changes are needed to limit the risks of further disruptions and bad surprises down the road. Central banks may find themselves facing one of two extremes: complementing policies by other agencies that put the global economy back on the path of high sustained growth and ample job creation or cleaning up in the midst of a global recession, forced deleveraging, and disorderly debt deflation.