Ben Bernanke is an American economist, who’s work on monetary policy and macroeconomics earned him positions as a professor of Economics at Princeton, Stanford, and MIT, as well as led him to become Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014. He was tasked with navigating the housing crisis and recession of 2008, a task which many experts believe he performed well.
The 2008 banking crisis led to a lack of confidence in the banking system as a whole, but Beranke’s aggressive and largely experimental approach to the crisis helped restore confidence to the financial system, as seen by the longest expansionary market in US history following the crisis. One of Bernanke’s most notable moves was to slash the interest rates to almost 0%, allowing banks to lend to each other and customers at lower rates, stimulating the economy.
Besides his policy moves, Bernanke made a highly controversial decision to bail out a few of the huge financial institutions that were about to go bankrupt during the crisis, fearing their failure would only serve to worsen the crisis. For example, the Fed incentivized companies like JP Morgan to take control of Bear Stearns or Merrill Lynch. Bernanke wrote about how close the global economy came to collapsing in his 2015 book, which would have occurred if not for the Fed’s moves. However, contrarians believe Bernanke should have foreseen the crisis and is in part responsible for the events. Overall, Bernanke was the most influential person in the US during the crisis due to his control over Fed policies, which is a place that naturally brings critics.
Bernake's control over Fed policy highlights the room for interpretation created with a discretion based monetary policy. With the housing crisis, people and policy makers showed that it is very possible for those in charge to miss markers that point towards the downfall of a market and it is very clear that they can fail to act in time to prevent or reduce the impact of downswings. With Ampleforth, the protocol acts on market forces in a rules based format, removing the likelihood of human emotion, biases, and political alignment in times of crisis. Rules based systems are not without their challenges. However, if a rules based system like Bitcoin or Ampleforth were used as a globally prior to 2008 the great recession may have played out much differently.