Wednesday, October 14, 2015

1541 The Nobel Prize in Economics

1541 The Nobel Prize in Economics

I’m going to nominate myself for the Nobel Prize in economics.  Given the workmanship that goes into the entries and results each year, it seems like an easy win.

This year’s prize, just announced, went to Scottish-born Princeton economist Angus Deaton for his work showing that how people live depends largely on what they can afford to buy.

Another way of putting that is “poor people are poor if they don’t have enough money.” And the way around that is to make sure they have more.


The 2014 prize went to a guy who discovered that “it’s tough to say what should be regulated and what shouldn’t be.  Equally brilliant.

A selection of earlier winners:

2005: Psychology of traders influences trading and therefore market trends.

1995: Knowing about economics is necessary to set economic policy.

1985: Attitude and actions on personal savings can affect the global economy.

1975: Smart allocation of resources usually brings good results.

So, here is the winning entry for next year:

2016a: Reducing taxes on billionaires does not create jobs unless the billionaires use the money to employ people.

And if that’s not good enough for you…

2016b: States with small governments and low taxes receive more from the federal government than they pay.  Therefore they are welfare queens at the expense of states that don’t care about the size of government and which pay in more than they get back.

Economists are the best single players in the Arithmetic game.  It’s simple.  Wrap any idea in math and math- phobic America will buy it as truth.
Long complicated explanations and dense, unreadable prose make it even better.  And everyone knows if you spout equations or inequalities you must really know your stuff.

Throw in some computer printouts and you have it made.

But you have to start small.  Simple.  Then get complicated by covering it over with bubble wrap and packing peanuts of figures, studies of questionable worth and put THIS SIDE UP on the paperwork.

Works every time.

Now in order to win, all I have to do is get some researchers to coat my ideas in numbers.

The spreadsheets will be dazzling.  The powerpoints will put Hollywood to shame.  And the unemployment rate among economic researchers will sink to the lowest level since Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen won the first Economics Nobel in 1969 for their work in developing “dynamic models” to analyze how the economy works.

The dynamic duo.

We can’t do with static models, now can we?


--A common comment from educated men caught with a copy of Playboy Magazine always has been “I read it for the articles,” which, of course is a lie, good as many of those articles are.  Starting next March it will probably be truer than it used to be as Playboy eliminates pictures of naked women. The internet has replaced the centerfold and you don’t have to hide it under the bed or in the closet.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015

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