A Better Class Of Idlers

It is well established that the SEC staff spends much of its time viewing online pornography while waiting to leave for their lucrative sinecures at the firms that they are supposed to regulate. But I have wondered what the huge research staff at the Fed does, since it cannot possibly  cling to the shibboleths of Bernanke’s economic doctrine and deal with reality. Well I have an answer. Since the Fed does not want to know how modern banks work (because such knowledge would conflict with said doctrine) it is studying the banking of ancient Rome.

I suppose I am glad that my tax dollars are supporting historical scholarship rather than licentiousness and I must say that the Fed piece linked above has given me more genuine amusement that any other. It contains an extract from, and a link to, a wonderful translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love.) The translation dates from 1907, and is colloquial in the English of that time, giving it a quirky charm to the modern reader. I strongly recommend reading it through, just for enjoyment. Clearly, little has changed in the intervening thousands of years. For those without the time to read the whole, I pass along a slightly longer extract on the subject of a lady’s birthday:

But than her birthday seldom comes a worse,
When bribes and presents must be sent of course;
And that’s a bloody day that costs thy purse.
Be stanch; yet parsimony will be vain:
The craving sex will still the lover drain.
No skill can shift them off, nor art remove;
They will be begging when they know we love.
The merchant comes upon th’ appointed day,
Who shall before thy face his wares display.
To choose for her she craves thy kind advice,
Then begs again to bargain for the price;
But when she has her purchase in her eye,
She hugs thee close, and kisses thee to buy;
“‘Tis what I want, and ’tis a pen’orth too;
In many years I will not trouble you.”
If you complain you have no ready coin,-
No matter, ’tis but writing of a line;
A little bill, not to be paid at sight:
(Now curse the time when thou wert taught to write.)
She keeps her birthday; you must send the cheer:
And she’ll be born a hundred times a year.
With daily lies she dribs thee into cost;
That ear-ring dropt a stone, that ring is lost.
They often borrow what they never pay;
What e’er you lend her, think it thrown away.

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