With the media circus focused on the pointy shoes at the Fed this week, we thought it would be fun to follow suit and do something a bit different. Today, we’re dusting off a fictional piece Chris wrote many moons ago — a central banker’s diary entry. Enjoy!
Life Through the Lens of a Central Banker
I am a central banker. Let me tell you my story. I look presentable, nice suits, am well spoken, I have impeccable credentials. I wear a vacuous stare, though I like to think of it as a stern expression. My most honest feature, other than low wattage IQ, is that I am a complete a-hole. Imagine Tucker Max meets Paul Krugman, a cocktail if ever there was one.
I am, unsurprisingly, a self-serving, arrogant pr!#k. I am unencumbered by a working knowledge of arithmetic, all of which are prerequisites for the job I hold.
Work, if you could call my disguised witchcraft that, is ridiculously easy. It involves the creation of trillions of digital blips, humorously referred to as “money”. I do this with vigour and sometimes, especially after a stiff scotch, with wild abandon, whoopee!
Just because I don’t need to work, that doesn’t mean that everyone else enjoys such a reprieve, in fact my activities actively ensure that all those around me have to work twice as hard. I told you I was an a-hole.
The process of my creating “money” out of thin air is a little complicated…to fool the hoi polloi of course. The process involves issuing debt and then buying it myself. Nifty little trick really, quite genius stuff and the vast majority of the populace don’t seem to mind it one bit. In fact, the financial markets want more of it. Wonderful stuff!
In order to pull it off I enlist economists whom I ensure my mates at the Nobel committee award prizes to. These charlatans are trolled out to sing the praises of me and my fellow colleagues “work”, and together with the Lame Street media they peddle the required message like a well-dressed crack dealer peddling his latest laboratory concocted death vice to impressionable school kids.
This is not enough…oh not nearly enough. My buddies, whom I’ll likely join when I “retire” from my current position all work at a wonderful place called Goldman Sachs. This is where I will go on to do “God’s work”.
I realise that to complete the process of paying myself and my buddies on Wall Street with the proceeds of citizens’ hard work, I need more than simply smoke screens, academic “thought leaders”, Lame Street media and congressional parasites, I need enforcement. This is just in case any of the plebes decide they’ve gotten wise to my gig.
This of course is where legislature comes in. In order to “enforce” one needs some jack-booted thugs. These are easily recruited from the sub-educated classes who rally to the cry, “I’m a patriot”. Military minds, easily counted on. Getting them to do the dirty work is cheap and surprisingly easy.
The hoi polloi, for reasons that I cannot fathom, love to look toward a leader. Being the complete prat that I am, I together with my banker buddies have concocted something called democracy. On the outside it’s designed to look like “the people” are choosing their favourite leader. It’s an elegant solution and keeps me in full control at all times. I trot out a few podium doughnuts to appease the masses and voilà, they follow like rats to a flute.
The fact that I, and my buddies are actively turning what was the world’s most favoured, and prosperous nation into a giant leper colony doesn’t matter to me. Few see it, and those that do have likely already left for greener pastures.
Those who don’t know what they’re talking about rail against my work, calling it some “crazy experiment” which they profess would have ended long ago if it weren’t for a strange anomaly. Every other developed nation on this planet is doing exactly the same thing as I am, causing a gigantic, artificial sea of liquidity.
These ignorant fools suggest that like all things artificial, someday our tinkering will backfire. What they fail to see is that we’ve created a cohesive solution to not only our problems, but those of all indebted western economies.
I can get away with this since my competition, namely the developed worlds other central bankers, are all doing the same thing.
Not all is well though. Apparently there exists growing discontent, mass unemployment, social exclusion, rising ethnic tensions due to inequality, deepening poverty and rising despair. I look around at my friends while sipping a ridiculously expensive whiskey and have to disagree. The stock market is up, the dollar is strong(ish), government issued bonds are the strongest they’ve ever been…things are just dandy.
If this world seems surreal it shouldn’t. You have yourself a front row seat…we all do.
Have a great weekend!