The Business Times

Karl Pohl's guide to central banking

Six lessons from the late legendary Bundesbank president and his spirit of nonchalant hedonism.

Published Wed, Dec 17, 2014 · 09:50 PM
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KARL Otto Pöhl, president of the German Bundesbank for more than 11 tumultuous years between 1980 and 1991, who died last week, was a man who deserved the epithet "legendary". He crisscrossed the worlds of politics, finance, academe and the media, while managing to remain somehow above them all. His spirit of nonchalant hedonism was partly a reaction to, and escape from, a miserable childhood. Born in December 1929 just weeks after the Wall Street crash, Mr Pöhl saw his family suffer from the international depression and then the Second World War, as the bombs rained down on his native Hanover in northern Germany.

Both Mr Pöhl and Helmut Kohl, who later became an adversary, witnessed as 18-year-olds the June 1948 currency reform that ushere…

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