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Book review: Shirakawa, the last shogun of hard money

Memoir by former Bank of Japan governor warns of financial crisis ahead

In his newly published 530-page memoir, former Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa makes it clear that when it comes to the economy, he thinks we are all going to hell in a handbasket. (Nikkei montage/Source photos by Yale University Press, Reuters)

"What will unfold might be inflation, a financial bubble and subsequent financial crisis, social discontent due to widening inequalities in wealth, a continuous decline in the growth rate or some combination of these factors. ... There is pressing need for change. I believe everything starts with recognizing clearly where we are and where we are destined to go unless we change course."

This is the doom-laden prophecy with which former Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa ends his newly published 530-page memoir "Tumultuous Times: Central Banking in an Era of Crisis." Although his criticisms of the super-low interest rate and quantitative easing policies deployed by central banks are diplomatically expressed and never personal, it is clear that he thinks we are all going to hell in a handbasket.

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