Pop central banking? Bernanke takes the Fed to the town hall.

July 27, 2009

Ben Bernanke’s recent town hall style meeting with Jim Lehrer, where he fielded questions from the audience,  raises discussion that, like no previous chairman, he’s on a mission to make central banking make sense to ‘regular people’.  The souvenir offered to the audience by the FRB staff to thank them for attending?  Shredded cash.

The merging together of Wall Steet and Main Street, the rise of credit cards and mutual funds, have been reported on by journalists like Joe Nocera in A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class.

Is popularizing how the Federal Reserve works the next wave of this trend of ‘financialization’ – the intertwining of everyday life and financial institutions – and if so what is the significance of this latest development?  What does it mean to persuaded people that “the central bank is here to help, and it is not as mysterious or menacing as people might think” [NYTimes]?

The complete town hall discussion with Bernank will air in three parts on “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” starting today…

Video excerpts here.

NYTimes article here.

NPR report here.

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