The Three Kings (and One Queen)

Merry Christmas from The Cobden Centre!


With apologies to the spirit of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Three Kings came a-riding from far, far away,

Draghi and Carney and Kuroda-san,

Joined by Queen Janet, held all in their sway.

Markets sat breathless, awaiting their say,

All four of them following much the same plan.


This scheme was quite simple: for all of our sakes,

Shooting two arrows straight up in the sky,

Playing the game for the highest of stakes,

Promising boldly, ‘Whatever it takes’,

By might and by main to increase CPI.


No gold did they carry – O perish the thought!

No frankincense pungent, soothing the soul,

Just myrrh for embalming rentiers caught

When all int’rest rates were driven to nought,

The ruin of savers comprising their goal.


All dauntless, the Quartet, their star overhead,

Solit’ry beacon to where they should go,

Rushing where angels had first feared to tread,

Heads filled with tales of Depression misread,

And frantic to see prices rise two-point-o.


No real estate bubble, nor ‘unicorn’ boom,

Deflects Sages Four from the path they pursue.

Bankers’ and governments’ loops into doom,

Zombification and auto loan VROOOM!

Dismissed by appeal to untried Macro-Pru.


Asked by what sanction they purport to act,

For reason, for custom to which they adhere,

The answer returns, all matter-of-fact:

‘Defunct Economist brokered our pact’

‘And Thirty-Se’en’s spectre is that which we fear.’


‘All banks are strategic and nonesuch shall fail,’

Monet’ry Magi their mantra relayed.

‘Us shall no rules in the slightest curtail’

‘And “mandates” be damned! – our will must prevail’

‘So government debt might not e’er be repaid.’


With balance sheets bloated and rates less than none,

Seven years’ journey and still on the quest,

On copper and cotton started a run,

Plunging West Texas their work had undone,

‘Unanchored’ the outlook, the Four hence distressed.


If shepherds watch prices of winter wheat fall,

No cause for delight; no cherubim choir.

Appetite waning, consumption would pall

Driving all enterprise straight to the wall.

Instead must the cost of all else be sent higher.


Or so the Kings argued, a Foursome entranced

By Keynesian dread that tastes will be sated,

Workplaces shuttered, no wages advanced,

Mill towns fall silent, investments unchanced,

The moment inflationary thrust is abated.


O pity the Wise Ones, one string to their bow,

No baby in manger; parents turned grey,

Societal ageing, grindingly slow.

Stagnation the prospect, nothing to grow,

QE no solution, but no other way.


Then came the bright seraph, their gloom to dispel.

‘Money illusion nor state overspend’

‘Can once more the patient hope to make well,’

His voice, like the clarion, did the Kings tell.

‘’Tis micro, not macro, the means to the end.’


He spake like the thunder: ‘Do not interfere!’

‘Savers and borrowers set free to deal.’

‘Cease all suppression and markets will clear,’

‘Commerce will prosper and labourers cheer,’

‘The bounty to follow both lasting and real.’


To bright Herald, chastened, the Magi gave hark:

Yellen desisted; Kuroda let go.

Carney smiled smoothly but made no remark,

While Draghi’s brows beetled, his mien turning dark,

Cried, ‘Sempre avanti mai indietro!’


‘Thou may’st be a messenger sent from on high,’

‘Mine though a mission touches me nearer!’

‘Markets know Mario never to lie,’

‘Ev’ry security’s ready to buy,’

‘’Til one day the euro resembles the lira!’


Then Wise Ones departed, their visit complete,

As gently lowed kine, content in their pens,

Crowded the shepherds to embers’ glad heat.

Gabriel went with a sigh of defeat,

Salvation he left to a Huntsman named Jens.