THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO
03 SEPTEMBER 2013
ThingsThat Make You Go
"What's more fun than a Barrel of Monkeys? Nothing!"Not my words, but those of the Milton Bradley Co.,
which still produces under license a game rst created
by a gentleman named Leonard Marks, who sold therights to his simple but addictive game to Lakeside Toysin 1965.
It would be difcult to imagine a simpler premise for a
game than that of Barrel of Monkeys. The rules of thegame, printed on the bottom of the plastic barrel inwhich the monkeys are contained, are simplicity itself:
Dump monkeys onto table. Pick up onemonkey by an arm. Hook other arm through a second monkey's arm. Continuemaking a chain. Your turn is over when a monkey is dropped.
Easy!Each barrel contains 12 monkeys but can accommodate, at a push, 24, which makes thegame so much more enjoyable. What could be better than assembling a long chain of tangledmonkeys, each reliant on those either side of it for purchase, with just the one person holdingonto a single monkey's arm at the top end of the chain, responsible for all those monkeys
dangling from his ngers.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility; and that lone hand at the top of thechain of monkeys has to be careful — any slight mistake and the monkeys will tumble, and that,I am afraid, is the end of your turn. You don't get to go again because you screwed it up and themonkeys came crashing down.On May 22nd of this year, Ben Bernanke's game of Barrel of Monkeys was in full swing. It hadbeen his turn for several years, and he looked as though he'd be picking up monkeys for a longtime to come. The chain of monkeys hanging from his hand was so long that he had no real ideawhere it ended.That day, in prepared testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress inWashington, DC, Bernanke stated that the Fed could increase or decrease its asset purchasesdepending on the weakness or strength of data:
The program relates the ow of asset purchases to the economic outlook. As theeconomic outlook — and particularly the outlook for the labor market — improves in areal and sustainable way, the committee will gradually reduce the ow of purchases.