The Leading Indicator of Laughter
January 22, 2012 8:15 AM   Subscribe

i'd laugh too!
posted by facetious at 8:27 AM on January 22, 2012

Gives new meaning to the phrase "laugh 'till it hurts."
posted by compartment at 8:37 AM on January 22, 2012

Greenspan: We told them it would trickle down. [laughter]
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:06 AM on January 22, 2012

Ron Paul is right twice a day, it's a travashamockery that the Fed OMC transcripts are released on a FIVE YEAR delay. Non-elected oligarchs should not have that kind of unchecked power in a democratic system. Which give up the ghost, it's not a democracy, pull back the curtain and these are the guys in the smoke filled room laughing at all the cash they're pocketing while the clueless people suck down credit cards, overpriced cheaply built mcmansions and federally backed back-breaking student loans for cooking school.

That the supposed masters of the universe apparently based their decisions on outsourced anecdotes and little else, and were fixated on nonexistent inflation threats while the housing bubble grew out of control says all you need to know about how in control of the direction of the economy they really were. Congress needed to know what the fuck these clueless idiots were doing before during the 2008 collapse, and for that matter so did everyone else.

The audit the Fed bill might be the most important perennially dead on arrival bill around, but far be it from Congress to upset their real employers by doing something so worthwhile for the country.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:44 AM on January 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

Interesting. Maybe laughter is a good indicator of groupthink: that is, if you notice that your team laughs a lot together they are probably agreeing too much about things, and you need to set up some conflict or appoint a court jester or a devil's advocate or something.
posted by alasdair at 10:17 AM on January 22, 2012

Wait, so meetings are lighter and more fun when things are going well? This is surprising?
posted by VTX at 10:19 AM on January 22, 2012

Congress needed to know what the fuck these clueless idiots were doing before during the 2008 collapse, and for that matter so did everyone else.

They did know. At least, they knew that the Fed's policy since the 1980s was for ever cheaper money. They liked it. Everybody liked it.

The obvious conclusion that it was eventually going to bite us in the ass was the province of cranks and depression era veterans. But, you know, no excuse for not figuring this one out. There was no way it could not have ended badly.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:46 AM on January 22, 2012

Laughter can be reflective of people referring to things that can't - or shan't - be spoken out loud. The laughter indicates mutual recognition.

Laughter can also indicate underlying stress, again one that would be mutually shared.

I am reminded of something I read years ago, that the incidence of whistling on cockpit voice recorders 30 minutes prior to an air incident or accident occurring was somehow statistically higher than normal. ( I don't know how much stock I would put into that, simply because what, they have people reviewing tapes where nothing happened?) Nevertheless, it's an interesting idea.

I wonder if the stenographers or transcribers changed over time, with later ones more apt to record [laughter] than the previous ones.
posted by Xoebe at 3:13 PM on January 22, 2012

Irrational exuberance, indeed.
posted by carter at 4:25 PM on January 22, 2012

From January 31, 2006.
Needless to say, it’s fitting for Chairman Greenspan to leave office with the economy in such solid shape. And if I might torture a simile, I would say, Mr. Chairman, that the situation you’re handing off to your successor is a lot like a tennis racquet with a gigantic sweet spot. [Laughter]
posted by mariokrat at 12:28 AM on January 23, 2012

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