MARTIN WOLF: The timeless lessons of Paul Volcker
The former US Fed chair believed in good government, international co-operation, fiscal discipline, sound money and finance that is a servant, not master, of the economy
“Paul Volcker is the greatest man I have known. He is endowed to the highest degree with what the Romans called virtus (virtue): moral courage, integrity, sagacity, prudence and devotion to the service of country.” Thus did I open my review of his memoir, published in 2018. As Hamlet said of his father, “He was a man, take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again.”
That book was Volcker’s counsel to the world. It embodied the former US Federal Reserve chair’s virtues and his values. With his passing this week, we need to dwell on both, while recognising how different the world is today.