The Prince lauded by for­mer bank chief

Regina Leader-Post - - Working - SCOTT HAMIL­TON

LON­DON — Mervyn King, the for­mer Bank of Eng­land gover­nor who served un­der three prime min­is­ters, chose Nic­colo Machi­avelli’s The Prince as his favourite book and said it of­fers lessons for to­day’s rulers.

“It’s a tremen­dous read” and “a won­der­ful trea­tise on po­lit­i­cal state­craft,” King said in an in­ter­view. “It is an ex­tra­or­di­nary book be­cause of its time­less­ness.”

The Prince, writ­ten in the 16th cen­tury as a guide for those in power, in­spired the term “Machi­avel­lian,” de­fined by the Ox­ford English Dic­tio­nary as “prac­tic­ing du­plic­ity in state­craft or in gen­eral con­duct.” King, who left the U.K. cen­tral bank in June, said he dis­agreed with neg­a­tive in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the text.

“What I liked about The Prince is that far from be­ing cyn­i­cal, in my view, it ex­hibits what John Maynard Keynes once called ruth­less truth telling,” King said. “He’s be­ing ex­traor­di­nar­ily clear and ob­jec­tive about what is re­quired to ob­tain and stay in power.”

The work is a “fore­run­ner” to to­day’s pol­i­tics and politi­cians “do need to un­der­stand what it takes to win power and why they’re do­ing it,” he said.

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