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From Bust to Boom

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07/22/2007

Seventy-odd years ago, Patrick Barrington penned a humorous debunking of Keynesian mythology (presumably while the General Theory was still being given its final polish).

Today, at the tail end of one of the most spectacular and widespread credit expansions ever experienced, attitudes are a little different, though human fallibilities remain the same. From the Depression:

'And what do you mean to be?'

The kind old Bishop said

As he took the boy on his ample knee

And patted his curly head.

'We should all of us choose a calling

To help Society's plan;

Then what do you mean to be, my boy,

When you grow to be a man?'..

..'I want to be a Consumer

And live in a useful way;

For that's the thing that's needed most,

'I've heard the Economists say.

There are too many people working

And too many things are made.

I want to be a Consumer, Sir,

And help to further Trade.'

Patrick Barrington, Punch, April 1934

 

To the Bubble:

'And what do you mean to be?'

The kind old Bishop said

As he took the next boy on his knee

And patted his curly head.

'You, too, should be choosing a calling

To help Society's plan;

So what do you mean to be, my boy,

When you grow to be a man?'

 ...'I want to work for a hedge fund

"unbundling risk" all day.

"Alpha's" the thing that's needed most,

I've heard Pension Consultants say.

There are too many Chinese working

for less than I wish to be paid,

so rather than be a Producer:

I want to earn fees as I trade.'

Sean Corrigan, May 2007

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