U.K. Taps Canada's Mark Carney To Run the Bank of England

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 26 2012 11:04 AM

U.K. Taps Canada's Mark Carney To Run the Bank of England


The United Kingdom has done something interesting and tapped Canadian central bank honcho Mark Carney to be the next governor of the Bank of England.

I think it's a great idea. When you're hiring for an entry-level job at a magazine, you generally like to see an applicant who's done some internships and written articles for campus publications. Members of Congress typically have experience in lesser elected offices. Major League Baseball players prove themselves in the minor leagues, and pro football and basketball players demonstrate skills in faux-amateur college leagues. There's no substitute for on-the-job experience and demonstrated performance. But the logic of that is that smart academics should set central bank policy in small countries—like Stanley Fischer's move to the Bank of Israel—and central banks in big countries should be run by people who've successfully run central banks in small countries.


So good precedent.

Now on to the speculation. The fascinating thing about Canadian banking is that it's run as an old-school cartel. The banks are supervised quite strictly compared to U.S. or U.K. banks, but they're also sheltered from competition. The idea is to have a nice, cozy monopoly situation where everyone gets paid, everyone has a really nice desk, and everyone is very risk averse. In American or English banking, you worry that your competitors are going to eat your lunch. In Canadian banking, you're basically guaranteed that you'll be fine unless you make bad bets and go bust. It's a model that looks appealing in many ways post-crisis but also sounds kind of odd when described in broad terms. And it's also by no means clear how you'd go from here to there.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.