Dear reader, I recently conducted the most important interview of my nascent journalistic career. The information I uncovered in my interview will, I suspect rival Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate revelations. My interview with Gustavo Laframbroise-Pierre, newly promoted Director of Statistical Creation, at the learn more about miracle sheets European Central Bank [ECB] will surely earn me a Pulitzer Prize. I will share the information I gleaned in this interview. I caution you, dear reader that the topics discussed in the interview will challenge the very core of your understanding of economics and the role of government. As well, it will clarify in your mind, the likely resolution to the world’s debt crisis.
My access to a personal interview from the usually reticent Mr. Laframboise-Pierre was the happy result of my recent trip to Paris combined with Mr. Laframboise-Pierre’s legendary affinity for French wine. Oh, and did I mention that Mr. Laframboise had been my bookie until a bad bet by a senior member of the ECB left my former bookie in the curious position of accepting a high paying job at the ECB to settle the debt. As soon as I arrived in Paris I looked him up. He suggested we meet at his favorite wine bar, Le Verre Volé (The Stolen Glass) near the Quai de Valmy.
As we sipped our wine, [Domaine Jolly Ferriol – Chai Moi, a nice mix of syrah, Grenache, and carignan that is always ready to drink] I took out my notepad, and steeled myself to ask Gustavo the really tough questions that needed answers. I started the interview by asking Gustavo to explain what exactly a ‘Director of Statistical Creation’ did? With great pride Gustavo indicated that unlike statistical analysis and regression analysis, Statistical Creationism was the process of, first determining a conclusion and then creating statistics that support the conclusion. Statistical Creationism has three important components, volume, velocity and variance. I must have looked puzzled because he went on to say, “Let us assume that a Central Bank wants to prove that their actions are not devaluing their currency. My job is to circulate a blizzard of created statistics that make the issue seem
hopelessly complex. That is the volume. Furthermore I need to circulate the statistics through the media, the analyst and economic community, and of course the general public. That is the velocity. The next step is to change some of the numbers and re-circulate the numbers so that any meaningful discourse becomes mired in series of conflicting comparisons that make thoughtful analysis and discussion almost impossible. That is the Variance. It is quite straightforward, Volume Velocity and Variance. Finally I need to ensure that the numbers are released at an ever increasing speed to amplify the volume of the discussion to the point where the confused conflicting and contradictory discussion of the issue and statistics leaves the general public covering their ears as the white noise of the discussion becomes so loud the human brain can no longer process the information.
Amplification of any or all of the velocity, variance and volume of statistics helps to ensure successful obfuscation of any message. At that point the general public will accept what they are told based on the color of the tie or scarf worn by the ECB member who is presenting the information.”
I took a sip of my wine. [Truthfully I also reached into my pocket and pulled out my flask. I drained the flask its contents, Jack Daniels, of course.] Gustavo was making me very nervous. “Not to put too fine a point on this Gustavo but isn’t what you are doing disingenuous at best or lying at worst.” “You are very unfair and naive David” Gustavo responded, “Statistical Creationism was first discovered on Wall Street in the mid 80’s as analysts evolved from being research technicians to rock stars. Over the last 20
years it has been, refined and adopted by Central banks, politicians and corporations. Just listen to the discussion taking place in the American election. Every debate or speech includes statistics that are released in high volumes with periodic variation and with an astounding velocity. Despite two years of discussion the public has no understanding how either party will spend or save money over the next four years. The next president will be elected based on the easier to understand issues of likeability, snappy non sequitur sound bites and the color of their tie.
My journalistic DNA made me realize that I was on the verge of breaking the ‘Story of the Century’ The headline would be ‘Statistics Manipulated to Medicate the Public’. Gustavo must have read my mind, he flipped his lap top around and showed me a chart of the Debtor’s Merry-go-round. “David, these numbers are relatively accurate and might alarm people. Fortunately my department has created enough statistics on this topic, to ensure that the issue will be relegated to the recycle bin of the public’s mind.” At this point I started to drink directly from the bottle of wine on our table.
Gustavo, “Why are you doing this? Why can’t you be honest with the public?” He looked at me as if I was insane. “If we did that people would panic, they would stop buying things, they would throw their politicians out of office, there would be anarchy. Our strategy is to medicate the public, print money, expand debt and most importantly, pray for a miracle at some point in the not too distant future to solve the crisis. We feel, this is a much more responsible course of action.”