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The state of global monetary policy, in one sentence

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Stanley Fischer, vice chairman of the US Federal Reserve, former chief economist of the World Bank and head of the Bank of Israel, isn't a person whose name will pop up on the top news feed of most Americans. But his straightforward speech on the history of monetary policy deserves your attention, especially if you want insight into how policymakers address crises in, say, Greece or Puerto Rico.

Here's the one sentence that will catch you up on the state of monetary policy in 2015:

In other words, monetary policy isn't a one-size-fits-all approach -- exactly what happened in the case of Greece's currency. Timothy Lee explains:

If Greece wasn't in the euro, it could have boosted its economy by printing more of its currency, the drachma. This would have lowered the value of the drachma in international markets, making Greek exports more competitive. It would also lower domestic interest rates, encouraging domestic investment and making it easier for Greek debtors to service their debts.

But Greece shares its monetary policy with the rest of Europe. And the German-dominated European Central Bank has given Europe a monetary policy that's about right for Germany, but so tight that it has thrust Greece into a depression.

Fischer believe that, at least on the international stage, nuance matters a great deal, and points to the IMF as an example of how policy has evolved. This last part about not putting horses before carts is key for countries like Greece.

...The ambitions of developing countries to modernize their monetary policy frameworks have to proceed in parallel with further efforts to develop the market institutions necessary to conduct monetary policy in a conventional way.

Don't take this to mean that Fischer doesn't support more traditional tools, such as pegging currencies to a fixed value (which he mentions in his speech). There are factors which apply to one country, but may not apply to another.