"Less is more": Is this the real reason the Bank of England hasn't hiked interest rates?

 
Edith Hancock
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Bank Of England Governor Mark Carney Presents Inflation Report
Does Bank of England governor Mark Carney meditate at lunch? (Source: Getty)

Have we all just been given an unusually candid insight into the mindset of the Bank of England's notoriously dovish monetary policy committee?

An economist at the Bank has revealed that it has been offering its employees trendy mindfulness courses - and its mantra is "less is more". Is it a coincidence Mark Carney hasn't raised rates for almost three years? The Capitalist thinks not.

Employers from Goldman Sachs to Google to TfL have jumped on this Buddhist-inspired mindfulness bandwagon, which essentially promotes “awareness”, or the ability to focus on the present moment, as a way to reduce stress - and now the central bank has joined the ranks.

Read more: What is mindfulness? And why does your office need it?

Dan Nixon, an economist at the BoE, has written a post on the firm's Bank Underground blog site, debunking the myth that "more consumption means greater happiness", instead proposing a "less is more" approach to finance.

Nixon says: "Practising mindfulness has been found to reduce the incidence of depression, stress and anxiety and it is now widely used by mental health practitioners."

"But the uptake is far broader than this, with courses on mindfulness increasingly offered in schools, the armed forces and workplaces including the Bank of England and many commercial banks."

Nixon suggests focusing on the present moment has far bigger implications than reducing sick days and improving office culture. He claims mindfulness has "huge implications" for the way we think about economic consumption.

"We can be happier by seeking to simplify our desires rather than satisfy them; the result is less consumption yet more utility.

"The 'less is more' theory contests the fundamental notion that, beyond a certain level at least, utility increases with consumption. This is pretty profound."

The Capitalist has approached the Bank for comment - but none has been forthcoming yet. Perhaps they are in a meditative state?

Read more: Six ways to keep calm when work stress piles up

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