20 December 2016 marked the 165th anniversary of Johan Gustav Knut Wicksell’s birth. One of the world’s most prominent economists. But, in all probability, the most underrated one as well, as some argue, myself included. His work is important for understanding both inflation and monetary issues and public finance-related matters. There are, however, two enormous contributions that Wicksell has made to the economic research method and that, to my knowledge, no one has highlighted so far.

It is broadly accepted that the success of monetary policy comes from the CBs ability to manage effectively market expectations. But without being credible, a central bank cannot properly manage expectations. Mario Draghi, the ECB president, reiterated in April 2016 how important is for a CB to be credible: “any time the credibility of a central bank is perceived as being put into question, the result is a delay in the achievement of its objectives, and therefore the need of more policy expansion.” In other words, in order to achieve effectively its monetary policy objectives, a CB must be fully credible.

Steve Jobs brought us the Vibe and is keeping us connected even after he joined the angels. How did he charm us? By making our hearts sing! So did Nelson Mandela, whose art of touching hearts, rather than minds still resonates.

Emotion versus reason – are they both sides of a coin? How can one reach someone else's heart with rational words, when emotion prevails? A vibe of words touching our hearts…

The financial cycle has ended up in a very deep financial crisis. Very low interest rates, ultra-low, even negative, policy rates epitomize this crisis; they have raised concerns about the global economy and  have triggered heated debates among economists, decision-makers. Central banks, especially those which set the tone in financial markets are under scrutiny taking the center-stage of debates. Top ECB officials cite structural conditions in the European and the world economy as an explanation for the very low interest rates. In essence, these conditions refer to the balance between investment and saving[1]. The IMF also got involved in the debate by saying that ultra-low rates (even negative) are not unjustified in the current context[2]. The BIS, instead, warns repeatedly about side-effects of non-standard measures.
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