Analysing the formula for love and marriage
Last week, I had the pleasure of taking a short trip back to the UK for a banker friend’s wedding. The weather was as perfect as a London spring day can be, and I was happy to get away from the usual work grumblings of bankers at the pub.
The wedding was beautiful — until the best man’s speech. The chap, who is an economist at my friend’s bank, pulled up a 120 page PowerPoint presentation outlining the keys to a good marriage, from a detailed description of best practices for personal hygiene to budgeting for a small family — much to the horror of everyone in the room, including the bride and groom.
Most people were either yawning profusely or necking champagne by the time he got to point 3a of sub-section 2.2, titled “How to achieve harmony in marriage”. But the economist had no intention of stopping there. He took us to the 1929 Wall Street Crash and back, just to make a point that a newly wedded couple should not put more than 10% of their savings in stocks.
It’s no surprise that this economist has little experience with romance. The groom told me later that the chap went straight to Wall Street after graduating from an Ivy League school. His fascination with economics left him with little time to explore the very relationships he claimed expertise in.
As a former UK chancellor once quipped when criticised by a bunch of economists: “An economist is a man who knows 364 ways of making love, but doesn't know any women.” He may have been joking at the time, but it seems there was some truth in his claim.