At dusk, an eerie silence settled over the town. In the highest chamber of the tallest tower the Council of Elders convened. They met to discuss the series of misfortunes that had befallen the town. For some time, the initiates whispered anxiously amongst themselves. Eventually, the High Mage stood up and the whole room came to attention. He leaned on his tall staff and looked slowly around the room.

'The course of action is settled then. All those in agreement say yea.' His words echoed around the chamber.

'Yea!' they chanted unanimously.

'Then, let it be done.' As he said this the High Mage raised his staff above his head. A low murmuring chant rose out of the council. A mysterious wind swirled around the High Mage. His long, grey beard and ancient robes whipped in the air. The Councilís chant grew louder. As the sky darkened, the High Mage lifted his head. He opened his mouth and his voice boomed out like a crash of thunder. 'Lo! The interest rate will now be reduced by one quarter of a percent.'

A great cheer rose up from the council and the town rejoiced as its citizens hoped to get a full return on their first quarter investments.

No, this is not an extract from 'Harry Potter and the Missing Tax Receipts' where Harry graduates as an accountant (what else could he be with those specs?) and goes to work for the revenue; this is the reality of economics today (well, sort of). A bunch of demented old guys gather in an imposing room, talk to each other in a language they barely understand, and then announce the adjustment of some arbitrary rate by some arbitrary figure. The announcement has more effect on the economy than the actual implementation of the rate adjustment itself. It's a lot of hocus-pocus.

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