This book is an original investigation of the language strategies used by central banks to inform markets about interest rates and the styles (and related idiosyncrasies) of many central bank governors. The text explains how the idea of trust and its association with the symbol of money have generated a new language of “word acts” that change mere prose into facts, mere announcements into material reality, Delphic oracle communication cloaked in esoteric obscurity into a new form of “democratic” press conference statements. The author highlights the functional ambiguity of central bank language and the pedagogy of “forward guidance”, describing future steps in advance in order to influence market expectations. Such language doesn’t involve economics as much as sovereignty, insofar as it influences and even alters governments’ economic policies. Moreover, central banks use specific language strategies to react to other institutions’ demands for “accountability”, but above all to cater to new global public opinion. In sum, the book is a study of the effects that central bankers’ words have on markets in a context governed by few if any rules.
Alberto Orioli is the deputy editor-in-chief and a columnist at the financial daily newspaper “Il Sole-24 Ore”.