When the drugs stop working, try a different one or increase the dose. Most central bankers are well aware that their black bag of monetary medicine is running short of remedies to overcome the continuing aftershocks of the 2008 crash.
Brexit is the latest seismic convulsion. And the Bank of England duly handed out the financial equivalent of blue, yellow and pink pills to soothe the fevered brows of consumers and businesses alike.
It’s true, as Brexiters contend, that the dire warnings of the International Monetary Fund and George Osborne’s Treasury that Britain’s economy would fall off a cliff in the event of a vote to leave the European Union have been proved wrong.
It was always unlikely the vote would trigger a repeat of 2008, which was a global financial collapse that dragged the entire developed world down with it. Remainers might want to put their head in the sand, but the vote itself has not caused a 20% drop in property prices or most of the other scary things on the roster of gloomy predictions.
But it is also true that the bounceback in consumer spending and business activity has only recovered some of the ground lost over the preceding six months. More than that, the recovery is largely a result of the devalued pound and the Bank of England’s promise to stimulate the economy with another adrenaline shot.
In the same vein as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi’s “ready to do whatever it takes” speech in the summer of 2012, which soothed the nerves of eurozone investors as Athens burned, the Bank of England made it clear in February, as soon as the vote was called by David Cameron, that it stood ready to give the economy a boost, and duly delivered on 4 August.