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Almost three decades after an influential academic paper started a worldwide movement to give central banks more independence, the tide has turned against the idea. Many people now argue that monetary policies should again be subject to democratic processes, as is the case with decisions to tax and spend. The consensus is shifting back towards more public control over central banks. This would be a welcome development in SA, where the country needs additional policy tools to confront the triple crises of unemployment, poverty and inequality. From the US to the UK, India and Turkey, politicians have recently locked horns with central bank governors over monetary policies. The public has also questioned the powers given to unelected and sometimes arrogant bureaucrats in the wake of the global financial crisis. In the US, President Donald Trump has criticised Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell over the Fed’s decisions to hike rates in 2018, and pushed for the appointment of two friend...

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