Conspiracy Theories and the Fed

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Why is the Federal Reserve the subject of so many conspiracy theories? That is one of the favorite research topics of Peter Conti-Brown, a financial historian and legal scholar at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and this week’s guest on Masters in Business. He also researches central banking, financial regulation and public finance, with a particular focus on the history and policies of the Federal Reserve System. His most recent book is “The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve.”

During our conversation, Conti-Brown also discussed the turmoil at Wells Fargo & Co., and the terrible incentive system that had predictably disastrous results. He is encouraged by the new Wells chairwoman, former Fed board member Elizabeth Duke. He notes this is likely an turning point, and suggests that the board is very serious about changing the corporate culture at Wells as part of a turnaround plan.

His favorite books are here; our conversation transcript is here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on iTunesBloombergOvercast and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Howard Marks, founder and chairman of Oaktree Capital, and author of the new book “Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side.”

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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