From Prof Ira Sohn.

Sir, While scholars will argue for years over culpability for the housing market meltdown (“The Bernanke years”, Analysis, December 16), America and the world were fortunate at the time to have Ben Bernanke at the helm of the Fed, arguably the most knowledgable person on the planet on the Great Depression. While the economy has stabilised, and even shows tentative signs of life, the patient is still on life-support.

The long-term effects of the powerful experimental drugs that are still being administered – a $4tn (and growing) Fed balance sheet and years of “free” money for those who have been able to access it – are unknown and will take years to identify and treat.

In extreme environments such as polar exploration, as the successful though ill-fated South Pole expedition of Captain Robert Scott of a century ago teaches us, reaching the pole was only half the job: they still had to get back to “base camp”, and they didn’t.

Ira Sohn, Professor of Economics and Finance, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, US

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