27 May 2009

Ten-year-old mystery solved

Thanks to Michael Brush at MSN (and the Economist), we now know the answer to a question that has been outstanding since December 1998.

Greenspan reasons that because hardly anyone actually sees a guy's undies, they're the first thing men stop buying when the economy tightens. (He told this to National Public Radio's Robert Krulwich years ago.)

By extension, pent-up demand means underwear sales should be among the early risers when growth returns and consumers feel confident enough to shrug off "frugal fatigue," says Marshal Cohen, the chief industry analyst with NPD Group, which tracks consumer behavior.

So now we know:

1. Collect underpants
2. Examine their condition, and use the degree of wear as a leading indicator of the price of risky assets, guiding your investment decisions.
3. Profit!

Thank you.

1 comment:

Mark Wadsworth said...

So it isn't house builders, car sales, white goods or airlines that are affected by recessions, but places like Primark?

Jesus wept, how did Greenspan stay in the job so long?