“But we are not confident in this view and rising uncertainty around their reactions to supply shocks that lower growth and raise inflation increases near-term recession risk,” they said in a report on Wednesday.

The Fed chief warned of a “re-division of the world into competing geopolitical and economic camps, and a reversal of globalization” that could result in lower productivity and growth.

The risk of longer-lasting scarcity as the world reorders can already be seen. Inflation rates in the U.S, U.K, and the eurozone are far above their targets and the worry is that they could be persistently so as global trading and production patterns reconfigure.

“It’s how you deal with a series of large supply shocks with no air gap between them, which of course feeds through into expectations,” Bailey said. “Put them all together, they’re not transitory in the traditional sense of the term.”

For decades, advanced economies enjoyed a tailwind from globalization. In the terminology of central banking, inflation expectations were anchored and that allowed central banks to allow labor markets to run hotter. Access to off-shore labor also gutted worker bargaining power, further undercutting inflation but at a social cost as wages stagnated.

“The last ten years were so far the height of the disinflationary forces that we faced,” Powell said. “That world seems to be gone now at least for the time being. We are living with different forces now and have to think about monetary policy in a very different way.”

The Fed in 2020 reorientated its policy approach to tackle the problem of too-low inflation, adopting a strategy that committed to not reacting preemptively to forecasts of higher inflation as the labor market tightened and redefining the full-employment side of its mandate to be broad and inclusive.

Powell acknowledged that the current environment raised questions about whether this approach was still fit for purpose.

“If you want to know the lessons to be learned of the last ten years, look at our framework. Those were all based on a low inflation environment that we had. And now we are in this new world where it is quite different with higher inflation and many supply shocks and strong inflationary forces around the world.”

Central bankers worry that unrelenting price increases could shift households and businesses into a state where expectations are based on more recent inflation experience.