Well that’s a bit irritating, I thought to myself.
“Pling! Pling! Pling!”
Someone’s a bit keen on getting the attention of a stewardess.
“Pling! Pling! Pling!”
We haven’t even taken off yet.
“Pling! Pling! Pling” it went on incessantly.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as you can hear we have technical fault with one of the call buttons above one of the seats. We are sorry for the inconvenience. The Captain will have to reset the aircraft and we hope that that will fix the problem and we can then take off,” said the cabin attendant.
My first thought upon hearing this was: we’re all going to die! My second thought was: what did you expect, you’ve flown with this lot before? In order to save the airline in question any embarrassment I won’t mention their name... other than to say it rhymes with “thin hair”. With my fate now decided upon, my third thought was - logically enough - about central bankers.
Remember the Fed rate hike in December? Around that time there were quite a few articles written about how there was a whole generation of finance professionals who had never in their careers experienced a rate hike and how would they deal with it. A fair enough question methinks. Continuing along that line of thought, the same generation of up and comers have never experienced a market that is… well… a proper, working market. To them the whole market is like living with their parents, forever: when trouble comes mum and dad will always bail you out.
But can they and will they?
If we look at the market action in the past years it’s obvious that anytime we have a wee moment of worry, or a bit of a shudder, then expectations immediately turn to central bankers to “fix stuff”. I don’t for one moment doubt the abilities of these bankers, but putting the hopes of our very way of life in the hands of a few individuals sounds like a bit of a dicey proposition.
Don't get me wrong, central bankers play an important role and sometimes (in a time of crisis) they can be the last resort in calming the markets, but should they always be the only resort? I don't know anymore, call me old fashioned, I just think if the markets are busted, then the markets need to fix themselves. You know, like the airline that cannot be mentioned: the plane needs to be reset, so we can take off into the wide blue yonder once again.
But what does an old fogey like me know? This time it’s different, right? Well it must be, it’s been going on for so many years now.