Paul Volcker, who has died aged 92, was one of the most important figures of modern economics.
He first served under John F. Kennedy – part of his task force to keep the dollar afloat as the president attempted to pay for Vietnam.
He was recruited by Nixon to run international economics for the US.
He was the man who took the decision to take the US off the post-war gold standard (the Bretton Woods system).
It was perhaps the single most important economic decision of the post-war era.
It brought an end to fixed exchange rates and ushered in a new era, where a government’s currency was worth what people thought it should be worth, rather than a certain weight of gold.
It was the beginning of a great shift in deregulation that contributed to high inflation, more unstable markets and vast deficits between countries around the world.
Many believe that was the moment that sowed the seeds for the great inflation of the 1970s and the financial crisis of 2008.
Volcker was then brought in to clean up both messes.
He was appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve by Jimmy Carter.
During the late 1970s and through most of the 1980s, he brought inflation under control.
He became the most respected Fed chairman in modern history – but constantly clashed with President Reagan.
He helped safeguard the independence of the central bank, but it was a tough fight.
After the financial crisis, Barack Obama appointed Volcker as the man to lead his charge to bring the financial sector back under control. He introduced a rule called the Volcker rule, banning banks from speculating.
His life was in some senses the story of the 20th century economy.
Born just before the Great Depression and World War Two, he witnessed first hand the financial crisis and aftermath of the 1930s, then the war, then the creation of the economic structures designed to ensure history would not repeat itself.
He was involved when those systems fell apart and was a key figure in the consequent fight against inflation.
When Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 he was called upon to try to create a set of rules to prevent banks misbehaving in the future.
Even after he retired from full time economic policy Mr Volcker also led international missions to combat corruption, including at the UN Oil for Food scheme.
He is believed to have died following a recurrence of prostate cancer.
The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said: “Paul Volcker was a towering figure among the central bankers of his generation.
“The integrity and independence he showed in his battle against inflation helped lead the United States – and with it, the world – through some of the most testing times of the modern era.
“He was also an inspiration for generations of public servants who all aspired to his examples of intellectual rigour, determination, and integrity.”
His counterpart at the Federal Reserve, Jap Powell, said: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Volcker.
“He believed there was no higher calling than public service. His life exemplified the highest ideals-integrity, courage, and a commitment to do what was best for all Americans.
“His contributions to the nation left a lasting legacy. My colleagues and I at the Federal Reserve mourn this loss and send our condolences to his family.