Grant Williams in Conversation with William White

Featuring William White

Grant travels to Toronto to meet Bill White, whose experience at the Bank of England, Bank of Canada, BIS and OECD spans five decades.

The two talk about the changes in central banking that Bill has witnessed over his career, the potential for an unruly outcome, the dangers unleashed when unfairness erodes trust, and how central banks really think about gold.

Filmed on July 31, 2018.

Published on
17 August, 2018
Monetary policy, Career, Financial System
90 minutes
Asset class


  • JF

    Jennifer F.

    19 10 2018 02:47

    0       0

    I hope you keep this series up. They are very insightful. And i love the perspective everyone brings in these interviews. It makes you view things from a new angle. Hopefully I will learn to view ideas from a multi directional view in the future.

  • CW

    C W.

    13 10 2018 16:52

    1       0

    I am inclined to side with Mr White that there wasn't any active collusion between the central bankers. More likely their subscription to the mainstream economic orthodoxy was what caused their actions to appear collaborative.
    Btw I initially thought this would be a boring piece. After all whadya expect from an ex-central banker/BIS economist type. But how wrong I was. To Grant's credit he managed to tease out interesting, thought provoking yet personal and authentic insights from a thoughtful and independent "insider." Bravo!

  • JL

    James L.

    20 9 2018 14:41

    1       0

    I always enjoy Bill White especially in the context of an interview by Grant. I have to disagree with Mr. White on the idea that central bankers have not really coordinated. Yes, interest rate policy has diverged, particularly between the US and EU/Japan, because of different formal goals of monetary policy and, equally important, domestic political considerations. However, the use of monetary policy as a reflation tool is uniformly accepted and coordinated. Moreover, once the effects of diverse interest rate policy began to impact currencies, the central banks coordinated using "swap lines" of dubious legality to prevent the currency markets from exposing interest rate (and fiscal) policy errors. Finally, the central banks, via the BIS, have clearly coordinated policy as to gold, as the BIS has both sold and loaned large volumes of gold to manage currency implications.

  • LT

    Lucas T.

    14 9 2018 00:00

    1       0

    The Federal "hold my beer" Reserve, muddling around with stuff circa 1913.

  • BL

    Bruce L.

    9 9 2018 13:33

    0       0

    Wonderful conversation. I am and have been a pretty constant critic of the Fed and other central banks. But I must admit that this conversation and my personal experiences with a few other former Fed governors have always left me impressed with the intelligence and positive intentions those individuals.

  • OD

    Orin D.

    4 9 2018 09:57

    0       0

    phenomenal interview, William's brief summary of the policy frameworks central bankers progressed through was fantastic

  • AK

    Andreas K.

    30 8 2018 20:12

    1       0

    one of the best in this series. More Canadians please.

  • DY

    Damian Y.

    29 8 2018 07:39

    2       0

    This interview was the reason why I signed up to RV. I don't need trade ideas I want knowledge so I can come up with my own ideas. It's great to listen to people who have actually worked inside the central banking system and the BIS. Most of the information we get is from people who look from the outside in and then come up with their grand delusional theories about what the central banks are doing. The interview with Mervin Kings is another great interview from RV.
    If you want to learn a little about the BIS then the Tower of Basel by Adam LeBor is a good start and is an easy read.
    For me this is one of the best interviews that RV has done this year. There was so much interesting information in this interview that makes it a real gem. Great work, ten out of ten.

  • KS

    Kathleen S.

    27 8 2018 15:30

    2       0

    I think William White should pick up a copy of Nomi Prins new book - "Collusion, How Central Bankers Rigged the World" and read it right away!!! Prins is an excellent writer and journalist whose book is full of foot notes to back up all of her evidence.

  • GO

    Gary O.

    26 8 2018 23:17

    1       0

    The line "The Central Banks must have coordinated some policies" looks like we / you have given them too much credit for. The guys in charge now, and then, are on the dark side of the moon with no communication tools available. Masters of "Their" universe.
    Another great interview! Thank you!

  • CG

    Christine G.

    26 8 2018 04:26

    0       0

    I would like to see Bill White and Grant in conversation with Jim Rickards. Rickards has argued that we are dealing with state debt as well as corporate and individual debt, and who believes Plan B has already started, though no one yet sees it or its consequences, which are unfolding.

  • MA

    Mitsos A.

    26 8 2018 02:03

    0       0

    So good. So so so so so soooooo good.

  • MM

    Mak M.

    24 8 2018 09:46

    1       0

    I just loved him!

  • MM

    Mak M.

    24 8 2018 09:46

    0       0

    I just loved him!

  • ZH

    Zayd H.

    22 8 2018 19:57

    3       1

    By far the smartest person ever on RealVision.

  • PJ

    Peter J.

    22 8 2018 10:49

    1       0

    One of the best.

  • FA

    Frank A.

    21 8 2018 19:18

    1       0

    Bill is always great to listen to.......

  • GF

    George F.

    21 8 2018 14:33

    1       0

    " And the Supreme Court said, the gold clause is no longer valid."

    In the US the gold clause might be valid once again:

  • CS

    Carey S.

    21 8 2018 12:14

    2       0

    "Keep buggering on", a maxim of Winston Churchill.

  • SF

    Simon F.

    21 8 2018 07:19

    1       0

    Ok, if you enjoyed this (and if you didn’t, my mind is boggling...) you must go and watch the earlier interview of June 15. It is, like this one, RV gold, and it could have been recorded today it is so fresh, relevant and most importantly so insightful as to where we are, what “we”should expect, and “they” should do.

  • GF

    Gordon F.

    21 8 2018 03:46

    1       0

    Excellent interview. However, they talked about how "we've been here before" without acknowledging where the Great Depression led, which was WWII. I think the probability of a repeat is higher than we are willing to face, because it would now be existential. Like central bankers, politicians and diplomats think they can control situations and avoid catastrophe. History does not support their optimism.

  • AC

    Andrew C.

    20 8 2018 03:40

    6       0

    my takeaway from
    “there is no coordination” and “they’re just muddling along”
    No reset, no SDR reserve, just more of the same muddling. And this can go on for easily another 10years, especially with small tweaks and “reflexivity” - just look at the 2018 SP500, onwards and upwards!
    Timing and thus a profitable trade/investment is next to impossible. Hence, just make sure when it does happen, you personally have to make sure you aren’t carried out in a body-bag. (financially-speaking and in reality!)

  • yd

    yon d.

    20 8 2018 01:49

    2       0

    Brilliant!!! RealVision viewers have voted and we all agree...this is the quality programming RealVision delivers! Thank you for bringing us a truly thought provoking interview. Grant mentioned an 'earlier' interview with guest and I'll surely try to find it. A link to that would be sweet. Thanks so much, RealVision!

  • my

    markettaker y.

    20 8 2018 00:50

    2       0

    the bit about debt-equity swaps in a credit based monetary system is a little terrifying. So in that case the financiers close to the monetary spigot just end up owning everything after they create a nation of debt slaves? Surely that's not what he meant. Gold seems obviously the answer to the conundrum and yet you can see the difficulty (or unwillingness, or disagreement though it wasn't explored) of a fellow like this to embrace it as a solution. Guess when the market moves to that point it won't matter anyway.

  • my

    markettaker y.

    20 8 2018 00:31

    0       2

    Amazing interview. Shaky camerawork at 36:56 *highly distracting*!!!

  • PW

    Phil W.

    19 8 2018 19:37

    0       0

    Always great to hear from W. White. Great down to earth interview!!!!

  • MS

    Marius S.

    19 8 2018 17:39

    2       0

    The style and depth of this interview is not to be found anywhere else. Truly priceless!

  • SB

    Stewart B.

    19 8 2018 16:13

    0       1

    Great video. I wish there were more Bill Whites.

  • GS

    Gerold S.

    19 8 2018 13:50

    1       0

    Helps me to stay tuned. Great stuff. Please mor off that kind

  • PN

    Philip N.

    19 8 2018 13:45

    2       0

    While I greatly enjoy his candor and his sense of perspective, Mr. White leaves me feeling that the central bankers truly are the Greek gods of our day.

  • SH

    Steve H.

    19 8 2018 09:40

    10       1


    It's beyond me what the 34 folks (at the time of writing) who hit 'thumbs down' could possibly find to upset them. Makes me think Greenspan et al must be Real Vision subscribers.

  • DS

    David S.

    19 8 2018 00:45

    5       0

    I really enjoy listening to Mr. White and look forward to his next interview. It was interesting that central bankers tried floating rates in the past, but it just did not work(?). It certainly will not work when you are trying to force the outcome. It would be great to get back on a gold standard, but no politician or government can resist buying votes and/or power with fiat currency. Luckily, we can still buy gold ourselves. Hide it fast! We can try SDRs but they cannot work either. Hedge funds, investors, and other governments will be shooting at them from all sides. Floating rates are the cleanest shirt in a filthy hamper. The genie is out of the box. FX will fluctuate all over the place, but it is at least the investors that will win or lose not citizens bailing out the losers while the winners walk away. DLS

  • DS

    David S.

    19 8 2018 00:23

    0       0

    I really enjoy listening to Mr. White and look forward to his next interview. It was interesting that central bankers tried floating rates in the past, but it just did not work(?). It certainly will not work when you are trying to force the outcome. It would be great to get back on a gold standard, but no politician or government can resist buying votes and/or power with fiat currency. Luckily, we can still buy gold ourselves. Hide it fast! We can try SDRs but they cannot work either. Hedge funds, investors, and other governments will be shooting at them from all sides. Floating rates are the cleanest shirt in a filthy hamper. The genie is out of the box. FX will fluctuate all over the place, but it is at least the investors that will win or lose not citizens bailing out the losers while the winners walk away. DLS

  • JF

    Jennifer F.

    18 8 2018 23:06

    7       0

    Fantastic interview . And I like the humility of Mr White .

    Intriguing to hear him describe his inability to pick the right frame work when he was working with the central bank in Cananda.

    But he scared me when he thought a global body would be best if we went to the SDR . Isn’t that just asking for more guess work ??? Dangerous

  • PV

    Peter V.

    18 8 2018 18:53

    0       0

    Great stuff!

  • TJ

    Tay J.

    18 8 2018 17:23

    3       0

    You nailed it with those final six words Grant.

  • CM

    C M.

    18 8 2018 16:27

    2       0

    Excellent interview to give the viewer an insight on how central bankers think. White brings a perspective from his decades of experience of working within "the system". In managing through the next downturn, the challenge will be anticipating the new, inventive things the central bankers will conjure to fix the problems they created. How will gold play a role? According to White, CBs don't talk about gold as playing a role in the global monetary system (though some governments are loading up on gold). Will investors see it as a store of value or run to equities again betting on the Fed put.

  • WM

    Will M.

    18 8 2018 15:38

    3       1

    Great discussion with an experienced financial expert. No real discussion about gold, but thats ok. I do think RV needs to rethink its rating system, the thumbs up / thumbs down is too vague and not really providing an accurate understanding of whether a thumbs down means "I disagree" or "This segment isn't really for me".

  • HM

    Hugh M.

    18 8 2018 14:13

    0       0


  • SF

    Simon F.

    18 8 2018 09:15

    11       0

    One of the nicest, most interesting and wise people being interviewed by another

  • CN

    Charles N.

    18 8 2018 06:26

    7       0

    If I could watch conversations like this one all day every day, I would. Bravo, gents. Many gems in here

  • GS

    Greg S.

    18 8 2018 05:38

    5       0

    Thanks for bringing Mr White back to RealVision. This interview with him is even more thought provoking than the last. I'm not alone in thinking that we have lost our way and that we may just have to "muddle through" to some sort of conclusion - satisfactory or not.

  • BS

    Bill S.

    18 8 2018 04:04

    6       1

    Great piece. Well done. An economist that actually speaks to power. Rare.
    So....where does this financial tinkering take us and...what happens to
    a generation of savers and more to come who are disadvantaged by
    political inaction as a result of the haves lobbying on their own behalf?

    When the Global debt bubble bursts - doubt any amount of “ diversification “
    or “non-correlation” is going to work. No place to hide. But the haves will
    survive but the number of have nots will shift exponentially skewing the
    political landscape. We are seeing tiny bursts of it now. Nationalism,
    me first then, maybe others.

    Again well done. Bill White was absolutely exceptional...hard to believe
    such sage advice was ignored...but then again not really.. Par for the
    Political course...muddle on!

  • HJ

    Harry J.

    18 8 2018 00:41

    2       0

    Thank you.
    Very good discussion. I do wish it were required reading for the members of the FED.

  • WS

    Will S.

    18 8 2018 00:01

    18       0

    These deep dives with Grant are my favorites. Outstanding.

  • PB

    Pieter B.

    17 8 2018 23:39

    1       0

    I really enjoyed this conversation Grant and Bill! Thank you very much!

  • FC

    Fractal C.

    17 8 2018 22:44

    16       1

    Can we have Dan Tapeiro, Mark Hart, Kyle Bass, Alan Boyce, Alex Gurevich back please?

  • J

    Josh .

    17 8 2018 19:47

    2       0

    I was lucky enough to have lunch with Bill last year. Refreshing!

  • SS

    Sam S.

    17 8 2018 19:29

    3       0

    Grant looking dapper for sure. Wish more talk on Gold and why not on CB's radar screen, especially since we constantly are sold on the idea that CB's and Governments are trading and hoarding Gold all over the globe. Also wish more conversation by Mr. White on Dodd-Frank and how it will trickle down to the consumer/public. The academic thoughts and ideas were excellent, but listening between the lines, no discussion on the fallout and turmoil by making real reforms which is far more serious rhetoric. Definition of "minor surgery" (reforms) is surgery happening to someone else. All the best!

  • LV

    Liam V.

    17 8 2018 18:45

    2       0

    Interesting how Mr. White didn't touch on Canada at all. BIS has written some good pieces on corporate debt and early credit indicators that highlight Canada as being right up there with China. Great interview!

  • MM

    Mike M.

    17 8 2018 16:58

    0       0

    Grant very good. Strong dollar works for those who own them. Those chasing momentum versus growth for yield are the one's at risk. Who wants to own cheap paper? A world power should have a strong dollar and not be debtor nation.

  • CC

    Christopher C.

    17 8 2018 16:21

    11       3

    Great interview Mr. White and Mr. Williams. Thank you both for sharing your time, thoughts, expertise, and experience with us on RealVision. Your brilliant, esoteric conversation has helped me more fully assemble many data points that I knew were relevant but that I had not yet been able to identify as edge or corner pieces of the puzzle. One corner piece for me is the lurking idea that something wicked this way comes. But it is only with the other corner pieces of the linear thinking of central bank policy makers, the idea that phase changes are massively energetic and explosive by nature, and that the pressure building up in the system cannot be ultimately contained by what I now know to be a loose confederation of convenience between the major central banks that I more fully understand the implications and can accurately frame the picture from a sensible perspective. I see the currency markets now as the relief valves on the system, but flawed ones manned by independent parties with an inability to maintain let alone reduce pressure on the system, for they are an order of magnitude wanting in capability in order to ensure the integrity of the system itself. No one knows when the system integrity will fail, nor what the consequences will be once it does. But the pressure and energy building in the system can only correctly be identified using geometric progression. This system definition, that of a containment device with limited constraints containing a relentless energy source being applied to contained medium which is pre-phase change, describes exactly a pre explosive volcano. I expect ancient golden scraps of wisdom which have been much disregarded as flotsam and jetsam, a sagacity long ago which crossed the intellectual border from banality to an object of loathing by most in an attempt to forget facts which dissent from notions born of hubris, will resurface as the flood of reality cleanses our collective global social consciousness of the miasma of innanty we have collectively built for ourselves. The devil will take the hindmany.

  • GH

    Gary H.

    17 8 2018 14:29

    6       0

    Outstanding. Worth the price of admission all by itself

  • LN

    Lucy N.

    17 8 2018 14:08

    4       2

    he never answered the gold question-Where is Chris Cole.

  • V!

    Volatimothy !.

    17 8 2018 13:51

    6       4

    I like that Bill is respectful to central bankers. Although wrong, they are people doing their job. Better than the idea of a secret cult society on a mission to destroy.

  • HS

    Hendrik S.

    17 8 2018 13:49

    15       1

    William White is one of those rare authentic characters the world desperately needs more of.

  • PD

    Peter D.

    17 8 2018 13:27

    6       0

    During his time at the Bank for International Settlements William White became the most candid of top tier establishment economists about the disasters they have fomented.

    A paper he did for the Dallas Fed six years ago predicted much of what is occurring today.

    Great catch.

  • MW

    Mike W.

    17 8 2018 10:51

    6       0

    Great discussion - Negative interest rates and currency wars sections were very good!