Special Blog Post:
Okay, enough of that. The point is made: economics is generally boring material handled by boring people. But sometimes, economics has interesting, if somewhat offbeat, information to offer, or it has a funny joke about its practitioners, or it has something important to say should anyone care to listen.
Question: How many Harvard economists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer: Just one; he holds it up to the light socket and waits for the world to revolve around him.
Question: ...And does it?
Answer: Yes, of course. We're talking Harvard faculty. Duh!
Two economists were walking down the sidewalk when they came upon two neighbors arguing violently over their common fence. The one economist says to the other, "They'll never come to an agreement, you know."
The other economist says, "How can you be so certain?"
The first economist replies, "Well, it's obvious: they're arguing from different premises!"
The master economist is training his two young apprentice economists in archery. He brings them to an audience and directs the first young economist to fire an arrow at a target. The young archer misses by 20 feet to the left, killing a wealthy bystander.
The master economist then directs his second young economist to fire an arrow at the target, and this time, the arrow misses 20 feet to the right, killing a peasant bystander.
The master economist exclaims, "Perfect!" upon which shout of praise the crowd hollers, "Whaddaya mean, 'Perfect'?"
The master economist responds, "One of the economists missed by 20 feet to the left, and the other missed by 20 feet to the right. That means, on average, their results were exactly on target!"
It seems that an economist was walking along an Arabian beach when he stumbled upon an ancient lamp. He kicked it a little, then he picked it up. First looking around to make sure no one would see him doing something totally stupid, he rubbed the lamp vigorously. Much to his shock, a billowing cloud issued forth from the lamp, and out came a giant genie.
"Sahib!" bellowed the enormous being of legend and lore. "You have freed me from my prison, so I shall grant you one wish!"
The economist looked a little perturbed and mumbled, "Whatever happened to the traditional three wishes?"
The genie replied, "The central genie wishing bank recently restricted the supply of wishes because of wish inflation, so be happy with the one you're getting; and make it now, before I get upset."
The economist thought for just a brief moment, and then he said, "I wish for an end to all scarcity: an end to scarcity of food and water, an end to scarcity of adequate medical treatment, an end to scarcity of jobs, an end to scarcity of factors of production... an end to all scarcity."
The genie roared, "Are you NUTS?! You're an economist! You should know that scarcity is the entire point of economic reality. It is scarcity that creates prices, and the prices then allocate the goods and services to their most efficient end uses. Scarcity is what causes creatures and societies to try different ways of organizing themselves in their efforts to deal with the relative scarcities of material and emotional wants and needs. Without scarcity, the entire biology of life would be fundamentally altered, perhaps even catastrophically!" The genie folded his arms defiantly and concluded, "No. No, no, no. I have the right to deny the first proposed wish of any master; and since I am duty bound to deny any such wish that would so fundamentally change the order of the universe, I hereby refuse you."
The economist looked a little taken aback at the adamance of his wish granter. He said, "I am truly sorry. I think I understand now that wishes should be for small and personal matters that don't disrupt the wider cosmos." So he thought for another moment, then he said, "I know what I want. Since I'm an economist, I want to make an economic forecast just once in my life that turns out to be exactly right. Yes! That's what I want."
The genie didn't say a word; he merely turned away from his master and walked down to the edge of the beach and stared out at the sun that was setting over the ocean. There in silence he stood for what seemed like an eternity before he let out an almost mournful sigh, turned to the economist, and said, "Okay. End all scarcity it is, then."
It seems that, when Albert Einstein passed away, he was taken to the line of souls awaiting entry into Heaven. Being an affable sort of fellow, he turned to the woman right behind him and said, "Hello. May I be so bold as to ask you what your IQ is?"
The lady replied, "My IQ is 190."
Einstein's eyes lit up, and he exclaimed, "Oh, that's marvelous! You and I can spend all of eternity discussing the merits of the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. That's just wonderful."
Feeling quite happy about knowing this person, Einstein looked around her to the next person and asked, "What's your IQ, my friend?"
The man replied, "It's about 170, I think."
Einstein looked pleased and said, "Oh, good, good, good. You and I can spend all of eternity discussing issues of politics and nuclear disarmament and other such matters. Wonderful."
Finally, Einstein looked to the next man in line and inquired, "Excuse me, sir, but what is your IQ?"
The guy looked very ill at ease and muttered, "About 80, I suppose."
Einstein looked down, and after a moment's thought, said, "So... what do you think the economy's going to do?'
Did You Know
The last Republican President who balanced a federal budget was Dwight Eisenhower; the last Democrat was Bill Clinton.
University of Chicago economist Stephen Levitt has found that there was a statistically significant relationship between the lower crime rates in the early 1990s and the Roe v. Wade decision of the United States Supreme Court in the early 1970s.
The federal budget deficit for 2004 was more than $1,400 for each U.S. citizen.
As of 2004, according to the International Database of the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 6.6 deaths of infants per thousand live births in the U.S. Below are the associated infant mortality figures for a selection of other developed countries:
New Zealand: 6.0
United Kingdom: 5.2
The Dark Wraith wonders how many Americans know the difference between a bad economics joke and a bad joke of an economy.