Greenspan is Not the Most Important Person in Economics

There is a puckishly entertaining piece in today’s S.F. Chronicle on Alan Greenspan’s yearly visit to Jackson Hole. It contains the following musing about how wire service reporters are actually the most important people in economics:

It’s [wire service reporters’] job to muddle through the monetary morass, deciphering [Alan Greenspan]. Friday was a classic example of the game.

Over the rambling road that is a Greenspan address, the chairman spoke of yield curves, protectionism, M1 and even M2. Most of the wires glommed on to the protectionism and trade deficit angle early, a safe play because Greenspan has said the same countless times. The reporters were pretty sure they understood what he meant.

But then it happened. One of the pool, and I’m not sure which, latched on to the following words: “Our forecasts and hence policy are becoming increasingly driven by asset price changes.”

Wham! A nation awakens. Bulls take cover. Bears emerge from their dens. Worry is in the air.

As a side note, the piece also contains two economist jokes. How often do you find that in a family newspaper?


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