My Day at the Fed


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My Day at the Fed

I was on the road yesterday for a visit to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The Atlanta Economic Club had invited me to speak to them at their weekly luncheon meeting which is held inside the Fed. The topic of my talk was “How I Got the Skyscraper Curse Wrong.”

The first thing I was aware of after turning into the parking lot is the high level of security which included tank proof barriers and a thorough search of my car.

The second thing I noticed was the large amount of construction that was taking place in downtown Atlanta in the vicinity of the Fed. Large construction cranes were in view in all direction and the volume of construction noise was deafening.

The luncheon was held in the Jekyll Island Room. After lunch and club business I addressed the audience. The basis of my talk was a recently published paper that supposedly refuted my theory of the “skyscraper curse” with empirical evidence that was favorably reported on in the Economist magazine. My presentation included a description of what the “skyscraper curse” was and then I showed that empirical evidence actually supported the case for the skyscraper curse.

Following my presentation there was a lively Q&A period in which several real estate executives supported various aspects of the theoretical components of the skyscraper curse with experiences from their careers.

A crowd that arrived with a business-as-usual mindset left the event with a ringing skepticism of the foundations of the economy. I never mentioned the Fed during my talk, except to say that the Panic of 1907 is usually credited as the event that help establish the Federal Reserve in 1913.

However, I guess the message came through because as the event ended the President of the club offered his apologies that the “thank you” gifts I was about to receive were not intended as an insult. He then handed my a Federal Reserve baseball cap and notebook.

Recordings and photography are not allowed inside the Fed.


October 21, 2015

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