Economists talk weird

I was going to rant a bit about “Lessons in Love, by Way of Economics” by Ben Stein from the New York Times, but, and I didn’t even think this was possible, the whole thing is too ridiculous to justify it. Suffice to say it’s more bad PR for the poor econ set.

One of my least favorite things about economists is that we often seem more prone to talking about normal stuff in economics-speak. You’d like an example?

In every long-term romantic situation, returns are greater when there is a monopoly.

Good grief. I mean, who is reading a bunch of aphorisms about ‘love’ translated into economics jargon and thinking ‘awesome article’? Plus, as an added irritant, half the dodgy analogies are to finance, not economics, viz “[t]he returns on your investment should at least equal the cost of the investment” etc etc.

Who knows, maybe there could be something interesting under that title. What I hoped might crop up in an article with such a title might be something about the things people want, the monetizing of economics versus the rich motivations of life. From the tail end of the article:

Ben Franklin summed it up well. In times of stress, the three best things to have are an old dog, an old wife and ready money.

OK. It’s the old “no-one ever died wishing they’d spent more time at the office” bit. Shouldn’t that apply to economists too? Then why are economists so keen to spend all their time at the office by talking about normal stuff in economics jargon? That’s tiresome, not fun.

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