We are all at a wonderful ball where the champagne sparkles in every glass and soft laughter falls upon the summer air. We know, by the rules, that at some moment the Black Horsemen will come shattering through the great terrace doors, wreaking vengeance and scattering the survivors. Those who leave early are saved, but the ball is so splendid no one wants to leave while there is still time, so that everyone keeps asking, “What time is it? What time is it?” but none of the clocks have any hands.

George Goodman (1930-2014) American author, economics broadcast commentator [pseud. Adam Smith]
Supermoney, Part 3, ch. 2 (1972)
    (Source)

An explanation he gave to a "mass-circulation magazine" about the stock bubble in 1968. He later incorporated a variation of the story in a republication of his 1968 The Money Game:

We are all at a wonderful party, and by the rules of the game we know that at some point in time the Black Horsemen will burst through the great terrace doors to cut down the revelers; those who leave early may be saved, but the music and wines are so seductive that we do not want to leave, but we do ask, "What time is it? What time is it?" Only none of the clocks have any hands.
Added on 27-Apr-21 | Last updated 27-Apr-21
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