Mr. Padoa-Schioppa reviews his experience in central banking over the last thirty years
(Central Bank Articles and Speeches, 7 Apr 97)
Mr. Padoa-Schioppa reviews his experience in central banking over the last thirty years Text of the remarks by Dott. Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, a Deputy Director General of the Bank of Italy, at the Governors' Dinner held in Basle on 7/4/97.
"...12. Although I started to attend BIS meetings well before this tower was constructed (in the old hotel building of the Centralbahnstrasse), it was only when you called me to the Basle Committee that I fully realized how strong this soft approach could be. Lawyers say that the Basle Committee “does not legally exist”. When I was appointed to its chair, my secretary had to take my word for it because she could not find any written evidence of the decision. Yet the Committee rules, once endorsed by you, are adopted by the markets, followed by national legislators and spread to all countries worldwide.
When considering the working methods of the Basle Committee, I have often thought that international cooperation among central banks can be compared to Italo Calvino’s “Nonexistent Knight”. When Charlemagne, reviewing his paladins before the battle against the Infidels, reached the last knight, Agilulf, clad entirely in white armour, the cavalier refused to show his face to the emperor. The explanation he gave was simple: “Sire, because I do not exist”. Charlemagne insisted and when the knight finally raised his visor, the helmet was empty. “Well, well! Who’d have thought it!” exclaimed Charlemagne. “And how do you do your job, then, if you don’t exist?”. “By will power and faith in our holy cause!” said Agilulf. He fought with valour and bravery. His special status assisted him in the accomplishment of his duty and indeed he proved to be one of the best paladins."