THE BIGGEST, most immediate obstacle to a vigorous recovery for the U.S. and global economies is the disastrous monetary policies of the major central banks, most notably the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the Bank of England (BOE). Their policies of quantitative easing (QE) and zero interest rates have massively distorted global credit markets and severely hobbled recovery from the 2008–09 economic crisis. Their actions have not only stood in the way of a genuine economic revival but also persuaded governments to put off badly needed structural reforms, because stimulus from easy money would do the job instead!

The manifest failure of these institutions to spark a genuine economic revival has finally begun to generate a much-needed examination of what has gone wrong. Recognizing that there’s a major problem is the first essential step in coming up with solutions and reforms.