Book review: Unelected Power by Paul Tucker

Unelected power: that is how, starting with the title to his book, Paul Tucker describes central banking and a whole «constellation», from the American administrative state to the European regulatory state.

This power, according to Tucker, should be made accountable and ways to do this are what he proposes in his book. One of the first and most important corrections for all unelected powers would be «marrying values to institutions and thus to incentives».

Technocracy and populism are two of the dangers of today’s world, and the choice might end up being, states Tucker, between undemocratic liberalism and illiberal democracy. The author goes back to the Great Depression, in a few pages.

History is however only a way of talking about institutions, their importance and how they should be involved. Prominent is the debate concerning the role and legitimacy of independent agencies, useful to answer a few of the questions the author poses.

Besides the first part, Welfare, the problem and possible solutions, Tucker tackles the administrative state in the real world, therefore explaining its incentives and values.

In the last part, his focus is on overmighty citizens, who, he concludes, should be in service, not in charge.