I remember the day when I first appreciated the importance of the American consumer.
It was the winter of 1982 and I was huddled around a table with some fellow econ students in the cavernous restaurant of University College Dublin, gulping down the sinister brew which the authorities labeled as “tea”. As undergraduate students, we were fed a narrow diet of theory and math. But the Irish economy was once again floundering helplessly in the heavy wake of an overseas recession and the only relevant question was: when would the American consumer bounce back? I remember being very impressed when someone at the table started reciting the latest U.S. 10-day car sales numbers and asserting that a recent turn up in these data meant that better times were surely ahead for the global economy.