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Paul Volcker

Paul Volcker

International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

 

Experience

In the course of his career, Paul Volcker worked in the United States Federal Government for almost 30 years, culminating in two terms as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979-1987. He divided the earlier stages of his career between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Treasury Department, and the Chase Manhattan Bank.

Mr. Volcker retired as Chairman of Wolfensohn & Co. upon the merger of that firm with Bankers Trust. From 1996-1999, Mr. Volcker headed a committee formed to determine existing dormant accounts and other assets in Swiss banks of victims of Nazi persecution. From 2000-2005 Mr. Volcker served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Accounting Standards Committee overseeing a renewed effort to develop consistent, high-quality accounting standards acceptable in all countries. In 2003, he headed a private Commission on the Public Service recommending a sweeping overhaul of the organization and personnel practices of the United States Federal Government.

In April 2004, Mr. Volcker was asked by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to chair the Independent Inquiry into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program. The report on the Inquiry was published in October 2005. In 2007, Mr. Volcker was asked by the President of the World Bank to chair a panel of experts to review the operations of the Department of Institutional Integrity. A report was published in September 2007. In November 2008, President Elect Obama chose Mr. Volcker to head the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Pursuing his many continuing interests in public policy, Mr. Volcker is associated with the Japan Society, the Institute of International Economics, the American Assembly, and the American Council on Germany. He is Honorary Chairman of the Trilateral Commission and Chairman of the Trustees of the Group of 30.

Educated at Princeton, Harvard and the London School of Economics, Mr. Volcker is Professor Emeritus of International Economic Policy at Princeton University and was the first Henry Kaufman Visiting Professor at the Stern School of Business at NYU.

In 2013, Mr. Volcker launched the Volcker Alliance to address the challenge of effective execution of public policies and to help rebuild trust in government. As a nonpartisan, non-profit organization based in New York City, the Volcker Alliance aims to catalyze new thinking and action with respect to federal, state, and local government in the U.S. and abroad.

 

 

By Date

 

2012

February 14, 2012

"Foreign critics should not worry about ‘my’ rule"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

I confess total surprise about the complaints by some European and other foreign officials about the restrictions on proprietary trading by American banks embedded in the Dodd-Frank Act – now dubbed the “Volcker” Rule.

 

2011

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

September 19, 2011

"A Little Inflation Can Be a Dangerous Thing"

Op-Ed, New York Times

By Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"IN all the commentary about Ben S. Bernanke’s recent speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo., little attention has been paid to six crucial words: in a context of price stability." writes Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve and member of the Belfer Center's International Council. "Those words concluded a discussion by Mr. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, of what tools the central bank could consider appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery."

 

 

AP Photo

June 11, 2011

"A Real Debate About Drug Policy"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By George P. Shultz and Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world."

That is the opening sentence of a report issued last week by the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Both of us have signed on to this report. Why?

We believe that drug addiction is harmful to individuals, impairs health and has adverse societal effects. So we want an effective program to deal with this problem.

 

2010

AP Photo

January 31, 2010

"How to Reform Our Financial System"

Op-Ed, New York Times

By Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"What we do need is protection against the outliers. There are a limited number of investment banks (or perhaps insurance companies or other firms) the failure of which would be so disturbing as to raise concern about a broader market disruption. In such cases, authority by a relevant supervisory agency to limit their capital and leverage would be important, as the president has proposed."

 

2009

AP Photo

June 16, 2009

"Moral Hazard and the Crisis"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

We can, and we should, take steps to limit the need and possibility of official "bailouts." One approach would be to set clear policy limits to access to the "official safety net." Deposit insurance and central bank liquidity facilities are properly confined to deposit-taking institutions. It is, after all, those institutions that remain the backbone of the financial system. They provide basic essential services, meeting the needs of households, businesses and other institutions for credit, for a safe and liquid repository for their funds, and for both everyday and complex payment services.

 

2008

AP Photo

October 14, 2008

Paul Volcker: Bailout “Distasteful” but Necessary

News

By Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Paul Volcker, speaking at a lecture in Singapore, said the U.S. economy faces a "considerable recession."

 

 

AP Photo

October 10, 2008

"We have the tools to manage the crisis"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Paul Volcker, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Fortunately, there is also good reason to believe that the means are now available to turn the tide. Financial authorities, in the United States and elsewhere, are now in a position to take needed and convincing action to stabilize markets and to restore trust.

 

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