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What Will Fed Heads Do at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium?
August 23, 2010 12:03 PM
Every year since 1978 the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has sponsored a symposium on economic issues. Today, all you need to say is "Jackson Hole" and people in finance know exactly what you mean. After moving there in 1981, the symposium has now come to be associated with its location, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
For a fascinating look at the history of monetary policy, check out the papers for past events
. A couple of interesting papers to get you started are the 1978 "
World Agricultural Trade: The Potential for Growth
" -- which actually has some interesting nuggets on competition for bank deposits at the time -- and the 1982 paper "
Monetary Policy Issues in the 1980's
" -- which today reads like, "Whoops! We didn't mean to do that!".
For the first three years the symposiums were more modest affairs held in Kansas City, or Denver. It only took three years to figure out that symposiums are best held in luxurious mountain resorts.
The symposium this year is being held at the
Jackson Lake Lodge
in Grand Teton National Park. Let's take a look and see what these cats from the Fed and global central banks are going to be doing out there in Jackson Hole.
After landing at the small airport located in the middle of the Jackson Hole valley, our central bankers and economists will be whisked away via vans to the Jackson Lake Lodge located some 24 miles away.
Once at the lodge, they'll check in here...
... while people dressed as cowboys will unload all their luggage, fly fishing gear, golf clubs, rifles and flannel shirts.
Someone, probably one of the attendees from the European Central Bank, will immediately try and solicit a massage from the staff and will be gently but firmly told, "This is not that kind of resort, sir." Someone else, realizing he forgot to pack his flannel shirts, will mosey over to a store at the Jackson Lodge to purchase these outfits.
Once dressed appropriately, a man will offer the symposium guests a Belgian waffle.
They will just laugh and push past him to the banquet tables where they will dine on raw bison meat and deep fried American Eagle wings.
After eating their fill, someone will get up and say stuff about the economy and inflation expectations and blah blah financial reform blah and blah blah preventing deflation blah blah blah. Sometime later, a horn will sound, probably one that has been fashioned from an animal's bone. It's the symposium's Call to the Wild! Conference attendees are urged to explore the natural environment surrounding the lodge and to interact with the animals!
Inevitably, someone will take interacting with the animals too far, which will go unnoticed until the following morning because, "Hey, where's Harold?"
A search party will form to try to find Harold before his wife gets here on Saturday.
After three hours of searching for Harold, a new search party will form to find Don and Fredric, who we must have lost back at the Snake River crossing.
Just down the valley from the lodge near the Colter Bay RV Park, an innocent picnicking family will be forced to pack up and flee when Harold and the bison he's taken up with rampage through their camp site, over-turning their picnic table and smearing barbecue sauce all over themselves in a totally disgusting and unnecessary display of man-bison affection.
Meanwhile, back at Snake River, we have a problem. Not only are Don and Fredric missing, now we can't find Elliott, Grover, Phil, Ben, Gerald or Roger. We found their canoes, but no sign of them anywhere.
We did, however, find this... a black Florsheim Richfield model dress shoe in size 7.5, extra wide.
Later, back at the banquet hall, the remainder of the attendees will hear more economics stuff right after the symposium chair tells people to "shape up!
I mean, c'mon guys! Don and Frederic are gone. Elliott, Grover and the guys from Richmond and Atlanta are missing. Harold was last seen running naked through the RV campground with a bison, for chrissakes! Oh, and the resort is saying they're going to make us pay for the pontoon boat Alan sunk last night. This is ridiculous!"
Just as he finishes saying this, some of the guys from Europe start laughing and pointing out the window. "Look," someone says. "Call Nassim! It's a black swan! Hahahaha!"
That's pretty much it. After that, the conference kind of just peters out.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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