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Listening




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Central Banking

Gabriel Mangano is an economics research student, specializing in monetary policy. You will hear him outlining the functions of a central bank, and discussing whetherit should be independent from the government, and run by bankers, or under the control of the government.

Ex. 1. Discuss the following problems.

1. Do you know whether the central bank in your country is independent?

2. What about these banks? Do you know if they are independent?

§ the Bank of England

§ the Federal Reserve Board (USA)

§ the Bundesbank (Germany)

§ the Japanese central bank

§ the Chinese central bank

Ex. 2. Listen to Part One of the interview, about the functions of a central bank, and fill in the gaps.

The first one is actually to implement monetary policy. There are roughly three ways to do it. First (1a)______________________________, which means limiting, upwards or downwards, the fluctuations of the interest rate.

The second way to implement monetary policy is simply (1b)____________________________________ – coins, banknotes.

The third one, which is a bit more modern, is those (1c)___________________________, which are simply buying and selling government bonds to and from commercial banks.

So that was the first main task of a central bank. The second one is (2)_____________________________, I would say. […]

Third main task, yes, (3)_______________________________ I would say – make sure that the commercial banks have enough liquidities, for instance, to avoid any bank run. [...]

The fourth main task of the central bank would be to (4)_______________________________, in case, actually, one of these commercial banks goes bankrupt and the investors, the people putting money in the bank, have to get back their money.

Ex. 3.Read the six sentences below, which also summarize central banking functions, but slightly differently, and match them up with the six expressions you have written in Ex. 2.

A. controlling the amount of banknotes in circulation

B. establishing maximum and minimum lending rates, thereby controlling the credit system

C. ensuring that banks have a sufficient liquidity ratio to allow customers to withdraw their deposits when they want

D. intervening on foreign exchange markets, buying or selling large amounts of the national currency, to prevent major fluctuations

E. lending money to a commercial bank in danger of going bankrupt

F. selling government bonds to commercial banks or buying them back, in order to alter the amount of credit the banks can offer (and thereby alter themoney supply)

 

Ex. 4. Listen to Part Two of the interview and answer the question ‘What is Gabriel Mangano’s opinion concerning central bank independence, and why?’.

After listening once, look at the following statements. Listen to the extract again, and decide whether the statements are TRUE or FALSE. Correct them if they are false.



1. Gabriel Mangano says that governments tend to increase the money supply in the months before an election, which helps reduce unemployment.

2. Mangano says that the central bank should be the branch of the government thatimplements monetary policy.

3. Mangano says that the central bank should be the branch of the government that implements budgetary policy.

4. Mangano suggests that governments always have a budget deficit.

5. Mangano says that the US FederalReserve is not concerned with price stability

6. Mangano says that there should be a limit to the central bank's independence.

 

Ex. 5. Discuss the following problems.

§ Does (or would) the government in your country exploit the ‘political business cycle’ by increasing the money supply or government spending, or lowering taxes, in order to increase economic activity in the months before an election, despite the long-term inflationary consequences?

§ Do you agree that central banks should be controlled by (unelected) bankers rather thanby elected governments – which will often do everything possible to get re-elected?

§ Do you agree that price stability (i.e. keeping inflation low) is more important than other economic aims, such as attempting to reduce unemployment?

 

 


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