Mervyn King

Published on
January 5th, 2018
65 minutes

Mervyn King

The Jim Grant Series ·
Featuring Mervyn King

Published on: January 5th, 2018 • Duration: 65 minutes

Former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King takes a seat with Jim Grant as the legendary financial writer brings the biggest names to Real Vision, with the candor to elicit the insights that you won’t see anywhere else. Mervyn King, Baron King of Lothbury, navigated the financial crisis during his decade at the helm of the UK central bank. Now he reflects on the absurdity of market models and widespread blindness as to what created the financial crisis, which impedes both the recovery and efforts to prevent another crisis in the future. Filmed on November 15, 2017 in New York.


  • DM
    Douglas M.
    16 July 2019 @ 00:54
    A smooth and informative interview.
  • RD
    Rahul D.
    2 December 2018 @ 05:56
    Great interview. Jim Grant is witty and knowledgable, but he should allow the guest to complete their chain of thoughts.
  • DY
    Damian Y.
    31 July 2018 @ 07:08
    Great interview. If you haven't read Mervyn's book, The End of Alchemy, then try and find some time to read it as it's full of very interesting information about the economy and banking. After reading Mervyn's book I couldn't help but have a very high respect for the man. There's one part in his book where he talks about QE. Which he states that centrals banks have been doing QE since the 80's and the financial commentators who thought QE started with the GFC either have short memories or they don't know their history. The end of Alchemy is a very easy to read book that's not some boring, dry, academic book on banking. It's great to see a central banker with an open mind and is man enough to admit mistakes in the banking system but also offers insightful solutions. Well done to RV and Jim for making this wonderful interview possible.
  • IM
    Istvan M.
    30 July 2018 @ 21:42
    class act!
  • CS
    CMC S.
    2 July 2018 @ 08:35
    Jim is masterful, most knowledgeable and I enjoy his witty sense of humour. Look forward to more with him. Mervyn King, while he does come across as humble, lets not be fooled by that and keep in mind whom he really serves. Jim did elicit good answers from him and well worth a watch.
  • JD
    Jonathan D.
    10 February 2018 @ 15:29
    Interesting enough but how is it possible Jim didn't throw 1920/21 at him?
  • KS
    Kathleen S.
    8 January 2018 @ 22:07
    After watching this all I have to say is buy bitcoin --- the only way this world is going to survive is through decentralization. Central Banks and big government need to go - they have given a very dangerous unstable volatile world.
    • CR
      Charlie R.
      9 January 2018 @ 00:27
      BTC among other real assets
    • ww
      will w.
      9 January 2018 @ 12:24
      @ Charlie R - wouldn't it be more accurate to say other 'hard' assets, instead of 'real'? Something as non-material as a cryptocurrency seems difficult to consider as a 'real' asset. BTW, Kathleen - have you had a chance to read Erik Townsend's (Macrovoices podcast founder/ host) very thought-provoking essay on BTC, which he released late last week on the MV website?
    • CY
      C Y.
      10 January 2018 @ 18:21
      oh gosh. correct thesis - wrong conclusion
    • WM
      Will M.
      27 January 2018 @ 14:43
      Bitcoin is neither real nor hard. It is a speculation as any good history book will tell you. Now does crypto have a place? I think so. However not in its current bubble form.
  • JS
    John S.
    27 January 2018 @ 03:32
    I request Roger Ver to talk about bitcoin cash.
  • JS
    John S.
    27 January 2018 @ 03:31
    As soon as bitcoin was brought up, King got super lively.
  • MB
    Matthias B.
    22 January 2018 @ 19:50
    very candid discussion with many interesting anecdotes, I wished though that Jim would have dared to venture about balance sheet netting or debt jubilee.
  • ON
    Orla N.
    17 January 2018 @ 19:06
    I was really impressed by Mervyn King. Jim is a very talented interviewer but I wish he would allow the exceptional people he is interviewing answer the questions and give their insight.
  • FM
    Fraser M.
    16 January 2018 @ 13:16
    Mervyn King very impressive - Jim Grant rather annoying in trying too hard to display his knowledge.
  • MB
    Michael B.
    16 January 2018 @ 11:34
    Jim Grant conducted the interview well but as others have suggested, Jim Grant should let his subjects answer questions lest he get the same reputation as Alex Jones who is always butting in because he wants his voice heard. Perhaps Jim Grant desperately wanted to impress Mervyn King. Real Vision has improved in leaps and bounds since its inception and it is a very worthwhile investment for information, keep it up and get even better!
  • JV
    Jason V.
    15 January 2018 @ 06:10
    Entirely brilliant. A masterpiece.
  • dm
    dude m.
    15 January 2018 @ 01:21
    I was really impressed with how Mervyn King appears so down to earth. Another great interview; but Jim Grant really ought to let his interviewee finish their sentence and pause for thought. And reflect on their response. I felt that Jim was masterfully prepared for the interview. But got the impression that he needed to prove his knowledge in front of his interviewer. Nevertheless, an impressive interview!
  • DS
    David S.
    6 January 2018 @ 22:17
    What a pleasure! The high point for me was Governor King's new approach to addressing the constant bailing out of the financial markets by governments, i.e., the taxpayers. We are at the point of collusion between the financial markets and a majority of legislators - neither of whom can see beyond personal self-interest. Mr. Grant would prefer a free market approach, but those solutions may be "Gone With The Wind". New practical thinking needs to be applied since "economic theory" is used to forward self-serving agendas instead of improve the economy. DLS
    • TS
      Thomas S.
      13 January 2018 @ 03:53
      That is why no financial institutions should be able to access public markets. They should all be partnerships.
  • CY
    C Y.
    10 January 2018 @ 18:20
    for a central banker he is surprisingly humble.
    • CS
      Colton S.
      11 January 2018 @ 15:05
      Ex-Central Banker. Just like Ex-Fed Chairs, they seem to find religion after they leave office.
    • TS
      Thomas S.
      13 January 2018 @ 03:47
      Not Bernanke
  • JO
    Joseph O.
    12 January 2018 @ 20:03
    "And I see that you, sir, are fully clothed" Laughed audibly. Quip rating: 9/10.
  • MZ
    M Z.
    11 January 2018 @ 16:01
    Bravo Mr King, no small feat, you are in a rare class to have turned JGs own introductory remarks back on him - my heart skipped a beat, had to rewind @ 28:43ish when JG says "I don't know that one. What's that?" seemed funny to me considering the encyclopedic reputation of Jim Grant when his opening remarks he says, "I hope to elicit from them new thoughts, and frank admissions of things they have not previously admitted to..."
  • ST
    Simon T.
    10 January 2018 @ 03:18
    This is why I subscribe to real vision, have already listened to these two articulate erudite men a number of times. Such a great service to provide access to this quality of thought...
  • KS
    Kim S.
    10 January 2018 @ 01:53
    So much brilliance wrapped into one interview! I could watch this 10 times before I would find a typical "trading" interview interesting.
  • TS
    Tim S.
    6 January 2018 @ 02:17
    Stellar. Jim Grant delivers the goods. Quibbling over his style - which I find amusing - misses the point. Mervyn King agreed to the interview because of Jim Grant. I, for one, am not going to interrupt Da Vinci while he is painting to suggest another brush shape or a slightly different hue from the palate. And, in Jim Grant's rhetorical style - "I'm pretty sure Da Vinci is dead anyway". Looked forward to Jim's interview all week long. :-)
    • TS
      Tim S.
      7 January 2018 @ 06:11
      It is even more fun to watch this a second time. There are very subtle nuances to the facial expressions and body language that is as telling as the words they speak. Mr. King leans forward often and several times has a twinkle in his eyes that convey his delight in answering very precise and thoughtful questions. Mr. King said he would return, again a twinkle, and I for one would welcome his comments as the central bank hazard unfolds.
    • rr
      rlw r.
      9 January 2018 @ 04:22
      Yes exactly. This interview IS a classic example of why we subscribe. RV with Jim Grant, have a tiger by the tail. Do not relent.
  • JO
    Johnny O.
    8 January 2018 @ 16:37
    "The toxic nexus between limited liability, deposit insurance and lender of last resort" is a most elegant summation of the problem, and he follows that by asking why had the US socialised its housing market. This generous interview is golden.
    • CR
      Charlie R.
      9 January 2018 @ 00:28
      The most elegant definition of moral hazard!
  • VS
    Victor S. | Contributor
    8 January 2018 @ 15:57
    Gents it seems you missed the forest from the trees -Central Banks are Quasi Govt institutions. In all these talks -what about the TRENDS OF GOVT SYSTEMS? The UK voted for “Brexit” where is it ? If Govt’s political systems are what dictate outcomes -see Cuba vs Singapore -why not ANY mention of the world trends of Socialism Vs Capitalism and the lack of the Rule of law? Your missing the point gents. Central Banks are pawns of the Black Hand ie Gov’t.
  • LG
    Leonard G.
    8 January 2018 @ 09:10
    What an interview! Such high educational, historical and comedic value all rolled into one. Jim Grant is one of my fav.
  • MC
    Michael C.
    8 January 2018 @ 08:45
    Another fabulous RV interview. More a conversation than an interview but all the better for that. Both characters are fascinating and have amazing insights. Well done.
  • JT
    Jimmy T.
    8 January 2018 @ 05:02
    Love love love Jim Grant and his thinking. Nice short little podcast too.
  • JS
    Jim S.
    5 January 2018 @ 18:25
    A full hour of intellectual modesty from two highly intelligent & accomplished individuals, either one in a position to be entirely condescending to mere financial mortals - what a wonderful rarity in today's world. I could listen for days. Well done, RV.
    • TF
      Tia F.
      8 January 2018 @ 04:17
      Modesty? Did we watch the same interview? Jim Grant's constant use of esoteric phrases and pedantic tendancies—along with his frequent interruptions of his guest—were anything but modest to my mind. I still enjoyed the interview, but "modest" is one of the last words I would use to describe the interviewer.
  • JS
    James S.
    8 January 2018 @ 03:07
    Jim Grant drove some interesting questions to a former central banker. Weaving in history and a bit of humor never hurt an interview. Actually kept a central bankers answers down to reasonable tim
  • Nb
    Nathaniel b.
    8 January 2018 @ 02:33
    You Sir are a gentleman and a scholar.
  • TB
    Tad B.
    8 January 2018 @ 00:41
    Great interview... Merv is fascinating ! What a dude. Who'd have thought it. Good work Jim & RVTV. Would be great to get Mervin back again when the next crisis is underway ....... perhaps check his diary for this coming autumn.
  • AP
    Alistair P.
    7 January 2018 @ 23:34
    Absolutely excellent.
  • RS
    Robert S.
    7 January 2018 @ 20:57
    Enlightened, Enjoyable, Excellent. Thank you Jim/RealvisionTV
  • LP
    Lynn P.
    7 January 2018 @ 18:46
    Recalling my days as a commercial banker and having to go before a "credit officer" in order to get a loan approved, King's suggestion strikes me as a return to this model, with someone at the Fed making the credit decision as to how much the Fed is willing to guarantee against the collateral banks bring before it. I only hope that the credit guru at the Fed is as tough as the person I had to face. It made me a better banker.
  • PV
    Peter V.
    7 January 2018 @ 18:45
    What a great interview... Jim’s input and framing are the added sauce. Thank you all.
  • PB
    Pieter B.
    7 January 2018 @ 17:40
    Amazing interview! Thanks a lot Jim & Mervyn!
  • GA
    Gustavo A.
    7 January 2018 @ 13:58
    Missed opportunity. Jim talked to much and was disorganized. There so much more we should have gotten from this unique opportunity to interview Mervyn King
  • RE
    Rachel E.
    7 January 2018 @ 13:26
    Jim is a brilliant man. He should let his guests talk more.
  • MR
    Marten R.
    7 January 2018 @ 10:40
    Wow, I wasn't expecting much from an ex central banker, but Mr King was surprisingly candid, honest and entertaining. Another great job by Jim Grant... a real pro... The true highlight for me was the discussion on the Weather Vane located at the Bank of England. Both hilarious and poignant at the same time... Fancy tying the value / quantity of money to the physical universe in that way (or in any way these days)... Sigh... without sound money there can be no sound society. And... welcome to the present day. MR
  • CB
    Chuck B.
    7 January 2018 @ 09:53
    Bravo. Thank you for this.
  • WS
    William S.
    7 January 2018 @ 03:51
    Simultaneously a somewhat frustrating interview to absorb and yet so revelatory on so many levels. Order of the Garter, indeed! In any case, I give it as my decided opinion that, were the truth known in no uncertain terms, we would learn that, at this point in time, given the nature and inherent volatility of the global monetary system as it presently exists, Lord Mervyn King is almost unquestionably a personal holder of a substantial quantity of what is, always has been, and will always be the only Tier One currency, and the only one worthy of ultimate trust, come what may.
  • MH
    Michael H.
    7 January 2018 @ 03:34
    Real Vision: thanks for publishing this interview. Twitter lets people claim "stable genius," while your platform lets your guests demonstrate it.
  • BB
    Brent B.
    7 January 2018 @ 03:24
    I remember watching Jim Grant on Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street Week. I just loved listening to him then and the feeling is still the same. My father, now a retired lawyer, had and instilled in me a respect for the importance of words and we both delighted in the way Jim, as a panelist, would comment on the current condition of the state of economic affairs. A wonderful interview that leaves me with continued concern over the structure and incentives of our current financial regime and hope that some recognize that models are fallible.
  • HJ
    Hiran J.
    6 January 2018 @ 08:49
    Yet another interview with a self congratulatory elite. Thank you RV for changing into incoherent mess.
    • HJ
      Hiran J.
      6 January 2018 @ 12:16
    • EF
      Eric F.
      6 January 2018 @ 21:33
      Really? And who exactly would you have them interview? My guess is these jobs are harder than they look (office politics amplified). I think it's only once they are out of office / have distance you can get anything approaching the truth out of them. Does anyone really think Yellen really believes her own current rhetoric? That said, she can't afford to say we / you are all fucked either as that would be widely irresponsible in terms of damage / panic done. No, I don't think they're doing a good job, but like running the country you start with a pretty bad hand to begin with. It's a bloody near impossible job, really a case of doing the least bad you can.
    • HJ
      Hiran J.
      7 January 2018 @ 00:01
      Firstly Lord King, you partially responsible for causing the mess then you profit from a book telling everything in Economics is bulls***. All the while where we have real wage deflation, asset price appreciation which only benefits the rich. So my question is why did he implement QE?
    • EF
      Eric F.
      7 January 2018 @ 02:41
      Did you actually listen to the interview? He was quite clear that QE was a necessary emergency step but not from 2010 onwards. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I don't think it would have been wise to do nothing, the system could have imploded. But the abuse of QE has caused more problems than what it solves. Lord King is clear that it also send out the wrong messages / incentives as it looks as though a permanent safety net is in place. I think your criticism is harsh and I personally found this an enjoyable and thoroughly educating interview. Both gentlemen are intelligent and articulate and I feel / hope a little has rubbed off on me from watching this. I only hope RV can keep up the high bar. Excellent material.
  • JH
    Jesse H.
    6 January 2018 @ 18:19
    Absolutely fantastic interview. This interview was so good that I ended up recommending it to a colleague of mine who moves in the circles of central bankers and central bank governors. Thank you, RVTV and Jim Grant - thoroughly enjoyed this one, and very refreshing to find central bank governors (or former ones) who are so thoughtful and incisive. Would be very interesting to see Jim Grant interview Mark Carney as well.
    • JH
      Jesse H.
      6 January 2018 @ 18:38
      And a very insightful point about Bitcoin / digital currencies - my read on his comments: do not invest in something you do not understand and cannot vouch for (algorithmically). And also, the current level of volatility of Bitcoin makes it a useless medium of exchange or unit of account.
  • GR
    Guido R.
    6 January 2018 @ 15:28
    Is it me or did Grant just give Mervyn a piece of his mind? Grant and Raoul - in this type of interview, it would be desirable to have an overall view of the body of the interviewee. Some of us enjoy deciphering body language and, in the few shots showing his hands, Mervyn did not disappoint.
    • WM
      Will M.
      6 January 2018 @ 15:48
      Its just you Guido. I heard or saw nothing that could be construed as criticism of King. King himself has been very clear about worries approaching the crisis, learnings from the crisis and concerns on post 2009 crisis handling. Read his book.
    • GR
      Guido R.
      6 January 2018 @ 16:20
      William M. I remember, amongst many others, this crocodile tears article about Mervyn King: My take is that Jim eloquently and elegantly chastised central bankers... of which Mervyn was one... Too, Mervyn does appear rather apprehensive and anxious with hints of remorse. Only during his explanation of the order of the garter is Mervyn genuinely comfortable and does he take pride in what he says. As I said. My take
  • WM
    Will M.
    6 January 2018 @ 15:41
    King was arguably the second most powerful banker in the world. His experience and commentary should be very carefully considered indeed. Have read his book, some excellent chapters, a few turgid chapters, but a clear warning that the GFC is NOT over. We are simply teeing up for GFC 2 which must occur and the implications of which will be DIRE.
  • AS
    Arthur S.
    6 January 2018 @ 13:58
    Great Interview. I highly recommend Mr King's book....Mervyn King has a great deal of Integrity....plain and simple. One of RVTV's best Interviews....
  • IP
    IDA P.
    6 January 2018 @ 11:05
    Dear Milton, I have a topic which i hope you may address soon: the Fed's massive short vix position. What does it mean really, that sell off won't be allowed (closing markets, or forbidding sales orders?), because it would cause them a huge loss? so they have to close it now that they say they are shrinking the balance sheet? can they roll it over? can they just keep pushing the VIX down? I really don't understand the implications, because the FED and BCE wants us to believe they have our backs, but I don't think this is so, I think it is so as long as everyone believes they have our backs. Please address this question because they are destroying money management and risk management most of all.
  • JN
    Jill N.
    6 January 2018 @ 07:56
    Oh wow !!! An absolute treat ! Real Vision , Real Insight , a Cut above ..
  • WB
    William B.
    6 January 2018 @ 07:55
    Amazing people. Wish They could have been my economic profs in the ‘60s. Knowledge, grace, dignity and completely lacking of egotism. I sincerely hope to see another episode with these two which digs
  • DG
    Don G.
    6 January 2018 @ 03:19
    Jim Grant's intelligence is terrifying high level of knowledge with jokes. You can always tell a genius because they can act like a regular guy. Excellent interview.
  • DG
    Don G.
    6 January 2018 @ 03:19
    Jim Grant's intelligence is terrifying high level of knowledge with jokes. You can always tell a genius because they can act like a regular guy. Excellent interview.
  • ma
    mary a.
    6 January 2018 @ 01:34
    It strikes me as curious that there was no acknowledgement of the role of the US Central bank's lack of enforcement of regulations which probably would have mitigated the crisis. This was the ultimate hypocracy: "the free markets work best left alone...until they don't.
  • DC
    Daniel C.
    6 January 2018 @ 01:29
    Great Grant and The King speaks!
  • JL
    John L.
    6 January 2018 @ 01:09
    I wish I had more hands, so I could give that interview four thumbs up
  • JS
    John S.
    6 January 2018 @ 00:01
  • PT
    Paul T.
    5 January 2018 @ 23:26
    As for interruptions I think they each did their share. More importantly the substance and history of central bank operations was presented in a clear enough fashion so that even I could understand it. I thought it was an excellent piece.
  • DD
    Daniel D.
    5 January 2018 @ 22:04
    Love the interview. Would like to hear Jim less and Mervyn more. Jim loves to use his esoteric and idiosyncratic quips, cliches, etc. to prove how smart he is. We get it. Let your guest finish his answer before you begin your tirades. Is it Rants Interest Rate Observer?
    • DT
      Douglas T.
      5 January 2018 @ 23:01
      Jim is a VERY WELCOME antidote to endles self-serving drones in the fiancial world. Thank god somebody has a sense of humor. I think Jim felt the need to set an ireverant tone, knowing his audience would be delighted. Mervyn is used to avoiding conflict, and might have need permission to speak truth us, if not power.
  • JM
    John M.
    5 January 2018 @ 21:45
    I would love to see Jim Grant interview Ben Bernanke...that would be something!
  • PV
    Peter V.
    5 January 2018 @ 21:13
    A good interview, excellent comments by Lord King. I just wish that Jim Grant would not have interrupted so often and kept his questions somewhat shorter. That would be achieved be omitting the hundred of "em" sounds and repetitions of words.
  • JL
    Johnny L.
    5 January 2018 @ 20:59
    this is the dialog you will never see on CNBC or Bloomberg as it gets in the way of DOW 50,000 or S&P 4000 or gold 900, etc. They'll air something like this on a WTF happened episode after their viewers are obliterated chasing DOW 50000
  • NT
    Norman T.
    5 January 2018 @ 18:29
    Two smart rational men in conversation is worth an infinite number of speculative economic models. But is the right audience paying attention?
  • CS
    Carey S.
    5 January 2018 @ 17:45
    I thought his answer to 'would you buy gold' said it all.
  • KB
    Kreso B.
    5 January 2018 @ 17:11
    A perfect example of what's wrong in this world: Total unaccountability. This Merman comments on 2008 as if he was not bloody in charge.
  • JG
    John G.
    5 January 2018 @ 17:03
    Excellent interview of a fascinating man about whom I did not know much. A very good use of an hour. One of the best interviews on Real Vision. Thanks, Jim Grant. I look forward to the next one.
  • GH
    Gary H.
    5 January 2018 @ 15:07
    Perhaps my favorite piece on real vision. Excellent
  • Nv
    Nick v.
    5 January 2018 @ 14:13
    Delightful. Great job
  • MG
    Mohamed G.
    5 January 2018 @ 13:42
    Jim Grant needs to calm down and allow his guest to FINISH his comment. So eager to hear himself speak and talk over the speaker. He’s smart I get it but don’t force it.
  • PU
    Peter U.
    5 January 2018 @ 11:05
    Simply outstanding! The viewer who gave a thumbs down needs to provide an explanation, otherwise, you are a bloody idiot!
    • PU
      Peter U.
      5 January 2018 @ 12:05
      I am glad the viewer has since revised his/her thumb down to a thumb up for this interview.
  • FM
    Federico M.
    5 January 2018 @ 11:37
    This is why I subscribed; no fancy stuff, no music, no animations, just two smart guys in a room having a proper conversation.
  • TS
    Tim S.
    5 January 2018 @ 11:36
    Jim Grant for God, or Dog, his choice. Mr. Grant sealed my love for gold when we had four former chairs in one newsie paper image above the "all is well" article. Nobody says "don't worry" unless there is an issue to worry about. Suffice to say I am betting on the inherent befuddlement and incontinence er incompetence of these overeducated bozos. A slight against clowns if there ever was one.