Back when I was a wee nipper, an ice-cream van came to my school.
Schoolchildren routinely fed lumpy mash, overcooked veg, gristly meat and then lumpy custard, were understandably wound into a state of almost supernatural excitement by the chimes that signalled something far better was available.
A wave of seething and bescabbed humanity poured out of the dining hall onto the playground, and formed the most disorderly queue that still meets the definition.
Within that queue, playground rivalries emerged or deepened – alliances formed and dissolved, all at a bewildering speed. Lifelong friends became lifelong enemies in exchange for forgoing a delay of perhaps thirty seconds. The driver of the van furiously dumped Margaret Thatcher’s finest creation (arguably) into cones and defensively shovelled them out the serving hatch as fast as he could, lest he be gnawed to a skeleton by the school of piranha toddlers snapping inches from his face.
And of course this reminds us of modern central bankers.
For a decade now they have shovelled free money out into the markets via their proxies and the participants have decided that this free money is far sweeter than their usual fare, where profits must solely be made by taking risks.
Unsurprisingly, market participants have became just as voracious as my chums and I, and are no more keen to return to their previous diet of gristle that we were.
And so news that central banks may be running out of the good stuff has periodically caused panic in their ranks, and their delighted faces have stretched into grimaces of horror, like a Bloomberg version of the famous Sound Garden rock video.
The panicky money man is now trapped in his vehicle, aware that to pause even for a moment will cause his bloated and worthless carcass to become the meal.
And cornered there, shovelling cash out the hatch, time seems to slow for him as the end of his life approaches – the furious scrabbling crowd slow and become ranks of zombies, slowly reaching for his treats.
He hands over his last inventory and closes his eyes, waiting helplessly for the insistent touch of their tiny needle-sharp teeth on his throat.
Our central bankers now slump hopelessly in their monetary clown car – they have turned our markets into a scramble for the sweet QE treats, and without an endless supply the crowd of excitable investment children will eventually turn feral. They cannot ever be satisfied now their hunger is aroused.
A few questions remain.
Will the money men sit still as the monetary spigots run dry, and let the ravening markets descend upon them?
Or will they manufacture a crisis to distract the crowd, in the hope they can make a break for it?
If the latter, what sort of crisis could be manufactured, and who could be blamed for it?
Worse – what fresh horror will their manufactured crisis enable them to foist on us?