“That it should come to this!”
Hamlet, Act I, Scene II
Any student of Shakespeare will recall that Hamlet’s procrastination did not bode well for Denmark.
Centuries later, the Scandinavian country has Tivoli and perhaps the world’s best ice cream, but it’s not exactly a world power. It may not be Hamlet’s fault–after all, Denmark is even more socialistic than the U.S. and Canada–but his hesitation was not a good thing for him or his country.
So what does this have to do with Janet Yellen? She chairs the Federal Reserve Board, which, like Denmark, has wielded its power clumsily, although it doesn’t even produce ice cream. And, like the tragic prince, she will likely be remembered more for her inaction than for her action.
Even Hamlet didn’t procrastinate for years, although it may seem that way if you watch a poor production of the famous play. Also, like the melancholy Prince of Denmark, Ms. Yellen seems to be collapsing under the weight of the world and fretting over the potential consequences of her actions. And so, like Hamlet, she does nothing.
Her words before the New York Economic Club last week could have come straight out of Hamlet. Princess Yellen may be far less eloquent than the young prince of Denmark, but the parallels between what she said and what he said are significant. (more…)