The Staggering Incompetence of the European Central Bank

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 7 2012 11:19 AM

The Staggering Incompetence of the European Central Bank

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, (ECB) addresses the media during a press conference following the meeting of the Governing Council in Frankfurt/Main, on December 6, 2012.

Photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images

It gets boring to write this kind of stuff every month or so, but it really is worth taking note of the stunning ineptitude of the European Central Bank. Earlier this week they published new forecasts revising their projections for growth and inflation downward but taking no action on interest rates "because of concerns about the negative signal a cut might send."

Imagine you're piloting a ship. You think you're in good shape. But it turns out you misestimated the currents and now with your revised estimate you see you're going a bit further north than you'd thought and are probably going to arrive late. Then you decide to refuse to change the heading of the ship because steering would send a bad signal about your likely trajectory. But then you publish the revised estimates anyway. And then leak that you're refusing to steer because you don't want to send a negative signal.


It's bizarre. It's insane.

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



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.