Life Among the Econ

Axel Leijonhufvud’s satire of economists, a fun read; excerpt:

The facts (a) that the Econ are highly status-motivated, (b) that status is only to be achieved by making “modls,” and (c) that most of these “modls” seem to be of little or no practical use, probably accounts for the backwardness and abject cultural poverty of the tribe.  Both the tight linkage between status in the tribe and modlmaking and the trend toward making modls more for ceremonial than for practical purposes appear, moreover, to be fairly recent developments, something which has led many observers to express pessimism for the viability of the Econ culture.

Or try this:

The young Econ, or “grad,” is not admitted to adulthood until he has made a “modl” exhibiting a degree of workmanship acceptable to the elders of the “dept” in which he serves his apprenticeship.  Adulthood is conferred in an intricate ceremony the particulars of which vary from village to village.  In the more important villages, furthermore, (the practice in some outlying villages is unclear) the young adult must continue to demonstrate his ability at manufacturing these artifacts.  If he fails to do so, he is turned out of the “dept” to perish in the wilderness…Once elected an elder, the member need do nothing and will still be well taken care of.

Of course in the mid-seventies the "tribe of Walras" had more status than it does today.  The pointer is from Peter Klein.  Here is another Peter Klein post on economists.


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