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50 People Who Matter 2011 | 13. Ben Bernanke

Money bags.

Few speeches this year will have been awaited more anxiously by the markets than the address by the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, to central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at the end of August. In the event, it was something of a damp squib: hopes on Wall Street that Bernanke would announce another round of quantitative easing, giving the ailing US economy a much-needed shot in the arm, were disappointed. The man called "Helicopter Ben", on account of his view that liquidity crises can be solved by dropping money from the sky, had decided to wait and see. In the meantime, the US recovery is faltering: in the first quarter of 2011, the economy grew by just 1 per cent. Bernanke said that the recovery had been "much less robust" than he had hoped. You can say that again.

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This article first appeared in the 27 September 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The 50 people who matter