If economists ruled the world, there would be no more hangovers. As the 5pm kick-off for Friday night drinks approaches, consider how a rational economist would act.
Let’s call him Joe.
Joe walks into the pub alone (he seems to spend a lot of time alone, our Joe) and takes up a vacant stool at the bar. Looking furtively at a nearby group of revellers, Joe orders a beer. Slowly and thoughtfully, he consumes his first schooner and then orders a second. After half an hour he has finished both drinks.
A hassled-looking barman shuffles over and asks if he would like another. By this time our economist is feeling a little tipsy (he doesn’t drink that often, you see). He falls silent and starts weighing his options, under the watchful eye of an increasingly impatient barman.
”I would quite like another drink,” Joe muses to himself, ”because it makes me feel good and is a pleasurable experience. But what would be the consequences of consuming another beer?
”No doubt, I would feel hungover tomorrow. Not only would I feel sick but it would undermine my ability to accurately catalogue my stamp collection, which I have been meaning to do for ages. And, by choosing to stay here at the bar rather than go home, I would also forgo the pleasure of playing that new Playstation I have just bought and have been itching to play all week.”
Our young economists slips off his stool, shakes his head at the barman and heads for the exit, unnoticed by the nearby crowd who are now laughing raucously.
Why did productivity stagnate for 20 years, then revive? The truth is that it probably had very little to do with anyone’s economic policies; the best guess is that businesses spent two decades figuring out what to do with information technology, then found the answer: big box stores! But that’s a subject for another post.
Fascinating, and I can’t wait for the actual post.
But, says Krugman, “the White House has done very little by way of serious outreach. I’ve never met Obama. He pronounced my name wrong”—when, at a press conference, the president, with a slight note of irritation in his voice, invited Krugman (pronounced with an “oo,” not an “uh” sound
) to offer a better plan for fixing the banking system.
Evan Thomas, Newsweek
That smug feeling you get when you weren’t one hundred per cent sure you were pronouncing something, but it turns out you were? I have it.
Finance is magic
; you know it can’t really be done.
Nick Rowe, “The orthodox loss of faith,” Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, May 17, 2010
Sometimes you’re reading a dry economics post and it suddenly turns into poetry.
andrewtsks replied to your video:
Brand plays the same character that he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, though, doesn’t he? Because regardless of behavior, his music in that movie was a dead-on Coldplay parody. Also, in that film, he was obnoxiously “on the wagon.”
Dunno about the character similarities, but a dead-on Coldplay parody sounds more contemporary than this. Though on the wagon seems entirely the opposite of what he is in Greek. It turns out, anyway, that A.O. Scott made the same point I did in his Times review:
Aldous, an unforgettable character in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” belongs to a vanishing, if not entirely anachronistic, breed. Snake-hipped British rockers with long locks and spectacularly bad habits are not as common as they used to be, and the debauchery, drug abuse and just plain idiocy that are fixtures of Aldous’s daily life have a nostalgic quality about them. These days, pop stars are more apt to be gurus, philanthropists or brand managers than sex-crazed, substance-addled train wrecks.
This is, after all, a movie in which Diddy is a member of the cast.
Also, the Scott review mentions this very important fact:
When comic action starts to flag, an able supporting performer or a surprise real-life cameo — Lars Ulrich of Metallica! Paul Krugman of The New York Times! — can be counted on to jolt it back to life.
Uhhh… I’m a total dork but I sort of want to see this now.