The MPC's worry-wart?
Indeed. The minutes of the March meeting of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, published yesterday, revealed that Mr Posen again voted for an extension of the quantitative easing policy, so concerned is he about the chances of a double-dip recession.
And does he have allies?
Not on the MPC. He has been in a minority of one for some time now inpushing for more QE. Everyone else wants to raise interest rates, or at least leave policy on hold.
It must be lonely?
That doesn't seem to bother him. Besides, he's just doing his job – one of the reasons that Alistair Darling, back when he was still Chancellor of the Exchequer, asked Mr Posen to serve on the MPC was his reputation for independent thinking.
Has he lived up to that?
And then some. As well as taking the contrary position on policy at MPC meetings, Mr Posen has made a series of speeches criticising the position of his colleagues. He also had the nerve to sit next to Mervyn King at a Treasury Select Committee hearing and publicly accuse him of being too political.
That can't have gone down well?
The Governor is used to being criticised, though not usually quite so publicly to his face. But then Mr Posen is an American, and he does seem to have brought some of the more confrontational style of USpolitics to this role. It is certainly fair to say that not everyone thinks it is always helpful.
But he's well-qualified?
Arguably, there is no one better. Mr Posen made his name as an academic studying Japan's "lost decade" – the period that saw the economystagnate following a financial crisis. He wants to ensure that Britain does not suffer the same fate.
What does he suggest?
Well, in addition to QE, he would like to see fiscal action too, plus a tougher line on the banks. There is plenty for the 45-year-old Harvard-educated economist to do before he heads home to Massachusetts with his wife.Reuse content