Economics is a weird science. “Weird” has an informal and an archaich meaning. Both of them apply.
Prediction is also a non-perfect science. However when it comes to forecasting, I am pretty good. Incapable of telling beforehand if it’s going to rain or shine, my best quality is to predict stuff that I am very distant from and that I have little chances to influence.
Last year, approximately 14 months ago, I was sitting in the rear seats at a Monday staff meeting at the Atlantic Council in Washington, where I served as an intern on Eurasian energy. Still I am a European citizen so when the topic addressed concerns “home”, my attention level rose. Two European members of the staff were talking about the successor at the chair of the European Central Bank after the end of Trichet’s term. Having Germany a big leverage on European economy at large, they both sensed Axel Weber’s nomination as the most plausible. Frankfurt hosts the headquarters, Germany was at the time the strongest European economy, while Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy were struggling. Yet, a doubt came to my mind. I almost rose my hand and stepped up to the floor to say what I was thinking. But I didn’t, I felt too “little” and young to have a relevant word on the matter.
Nevertheless, I knew history would have taken a different path. I knew there was a quiet and well-prepared economist who felt like a stranger in Via Nazionale in Rome, where he was heading the Italian Central Bank since 2006. His studies and experiences in Italy and in the US seemed impressive and therefore almost ruled him out from any respectful position in post-1992 Italy.
The quiet one, however, keeps winning over petty political battles both in Italy and Europe. Now he’s going to sit on the most independent chair in European economic affairs. A reward for his preparation, a compensation for what Europeans had been suffering with their trifling bar fights while the globe keeps spinning.